Our remote access solutions provide you with secure, authenticated access to personal and shared network filespace and web-based resources via your University managed or personal device when off campus. See panels below for more.

New Remote Access Solution

We are currently transitioning to a new remote access solution - F5 VPN - for both University managed devices and Personal devices. Ultimately, this will replace our current Direct Access and Remote VPN solutions and will be available for Windows and Mac devices. The VDI service will be unaffected.

The transitioning will take place in stages.

Stage 1 - Q4, 2021

Initially, we are rolling out F5 to small number of test user groups who are being issued with new, University managed Windows and Mac devices. If you are in one of the test groups, we will be in touch with further guidance.

Stage 2

Once testing is complete, all new University managed devices will be issued with F5 VPN. We will also begin to replace Direct Access with F5 on legacy University Windows devices, and roll it out to legacy University Mac devices.

Stage 3

We will retire the current Remote VPN solution for personal devices, replacing it with F5 VPN.

University managed devices


Direct Access connects your University owned and managed Windows laptop to the University network (H: drive, corporate applications such as the Finance System, and shared network drives) whenever you are off campus and have an internet connection.

No need to login – Direct Access is a secure, always-on connection. Access is via Windows Explorer or Computer, as on your desktop PC at work. You should get the same experience off campus as on campus, although it may feel a little bit slower depending on your internet connection.

If you plan to use Direct Access for remote working, don’t forget to also take home with you the power cable and mouse!

If you encounter any problems using systems or software via Direct Access, please contact the Service Desk - sevicedesk@abdn.ac.uk.

Devices that do not support Direct Access

If your device does not support Direct Access, please use one of our other remote access solutions. See the Personal Devices tab for guidance.

Personal devices

Please note: Both the Remote VPN and the VDI have limited capacity. Please consider if you need to use these, and make sure you log off when you’ve finished. 

You will be automatically logged out of the VDI after 30 minutes of inactivity. You'll see a warning 5 minutes before you are logged out. Please ensure you save your work regularly.

Remote VPN

Remote VPN is our browser-based, remote access solution for personal devices (Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Windows Mobile, Android).

Remote VPN provides you with secure, authenticated, access to personal (H: drive) off campus or over the University wireless network.

  • If you need to access a shared network drive (e.g. a team drive) via the VPN, please contact the Service Desk.

All you need is an internet connection - open a web browser and login to the VPN with your usual University username and password. The first time you login, you may need to install the VPN components.

Remote Desktop access via the VPN

In some instances, it may be possible to grant remote access from a personal device to a desktop on campus.

Please contact the Sevice Desk in the first instance, providing a brief business case and authorisation from your line manager.

VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure)

Use the VDI to access corporate applications, electronic resources (e.g. electronic journals and library catalogues) and software including MS Office when working off campus on your personal device (Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android). You will also see your home drive and team drives.

You can access the VDI in two ways: via your web browser; by installing the VMWare Horizon client on your computer.

Note: The number of users who can log into VDI at any one time limited. The VDI will prompt you if there are no virtual desktops available; you can try connecting again later.

Email and Office 365

While you are a member of staff at the University of Aberdeen, you can download a copy of MS Office Professional Plus (Windows or Mac), or Office for iPad on up to five personal devices - at no charge.

All the familiar MS Office applications such as Outlook, Word, Excel, SharePoint, Teams, and PowerPoint are included.

You should only install this software on personal devices. Please do NOT install on University managed computers.

Note: Your subscription will end when you leave the University.

OneDrive for Business

Other Services

Other services for registered staff and students of the University and for authorised external (e.g. consultants, visitors, etc.):

SSH gateway

  • Secure, authenticated remote access solution for any device
  • Access via SSH client
  • Access to on-campus Linux related resources
  • Service hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year
  • Access should be requested via Service Desk - servicedesk@abdn.ac.uk



Remote access may be granted where contractors are engaged to install, operate and support University IT Systems.

It is the IT Services Service Owner and/or the Business Owner’s responsibility to agree and authorise contractor access, including level of access and any associated procedures.

Business Owners should request access via the Service Desk in the first instance and should read and comply with Guidance Notes on Contractor access to University of Aberdeen IT Systems.