Software Farm

Software Farm for Mac users

The Software Farm makes it possible for you to run several computer programs without having to install them on your own computer. This user guide tells you how to use the Software Farm with a MacIntosh computer.

For a more general explanation of the Software Farm, see Software Farm.

Norwegian version: - Programfarm med Mac

Who is it for? #

The Software Farm is available to all NTNU employees and students.

Software necessary for access: Microsoft Remote Desktop #

You need a program on your Mac called a remote desktop client to use the Software Farm. We recommend the use of Microsoft Remote Desktop.

How to install Microsoft Remote Desktop #

  1. Open the App Store
  2. Log in to the App Store and search for Microsoft Remote Desktop
  3. When you find the program, click on it to get and then install the app.

When the installation is finished, you can start Microsoft Remote Desktop from the Applications folder on your Mac.

Three ways to use the Software Farm with MS Remote Desktop #

There are three ways to use the Software Farm with Microsoft Remote Desktop:

  1. Direct access to remote resources in Microsoft Remote Desktop. This is by far the easiest and thus recommended method.
  2. Log on to a remote Windows desktop. This is convenient when you have to work in a Windows environment with several of the Software Farm's programs open at the same time.
  3. Using the Software Farm's web interface. This will involve the use of Microsoft Remote Desktop as a service program for a web browser. This method requires a bit more work than the other methods, but is also possible.

We recommend the first method. The other two do work, but require more work to set up.

First, for all three methods: Accept/verify certificate #

Whichever of the three methods you choose, at one point you will be asked whether you will accept the Software Farm's certificate. Do the following:

  1. Click on Show Certificate
  2. In the next form, tick the small box called Always trust .... and then click on Continue

Method 1: Access the remote resources from the menu of Microsoft Remote Desktop #

This is by far the easiest method, so we recommend it. The next time you open Microsoft Remote Desktop, all of your remote resources will be available immediately. There is no extra log on or start up.

  1. Start MS Remote Desktop 
  2. Click on the Workspaces tab and then click Add Workspace 
    Add Feed
  3. Then this form will appear. In the URL field, write
    In the User Account Field, click Ask when required, and choose Add User Account..
  4. URL address
  5. A new window will pop up. Select Add User Account... in the dropdown menu and input your own username and password:
    Username: "win-ntnu-no\username" as shown below. (Shift + Alt + 7 = \)
    Password: The password that is associated with your NTNU username.
  6. Press Add and then Add again to close the form. All the software at the Software Farm is now accessible through the list inside MS Remote Desktop:
    NTNU Softwarefarm
  7. If you click on an icon/program name, the program will run as if it was running locally on your own Mac desktop. In this example, we are running MATLAB: Matlab example

Local disks and network disks #

To redirect the disk on your local Mac to the remote program you have to do the following:

  1. Press the cogwheel icon on the top menu bar and select Preferences as shown under: Preferences
  2. Under the General tab press the bottom dropdown menu and select Choose Folder...Choose folder
  3. A Finder window vil now appear and here you can select the folder you wish to redirect, for example Documents.

The folder you redirected will now be under This PC --> Devices and drives. This is an example of how your local disk looks like from inside a remotely running MS Word for Windows:

Redirected drive

Here you can also see that the network disks that belong to your user account at NTNU are accessible in the the programs running remotely via the Software Farm. The screenshot shows this as "Hjemmeområdet (M:)".

Shared clipboard #

The remote session and your local computer share a common clipboard. Your will be able to cut and paste between the remote session and local resources

Local printer #

The default printer on your Mac will be forwarded to the remote session. In some programs it is also possible to set up a printer in the remote session (see below: add a printer).

The forwarded printer has parentheses with the word "redirected" inside, after the printername, here shown in MS Word for Windows:

Method 2: Log on to the Software Farm's Windows desktop #

This method is convenient if you need to work in a Windows environment with several of the Software Farm's programs open at the same time.

The Software Farm has 3 Windows desktops that you can log on to:

  • adminfarm, which contains office programs and other commonly used programs (for employees)
  • officefarm, which contains office programs and other commonly used programs (for students and external users (like Uninett).
  • calcfarm, which contains mathematical and statistical programs such as Matlab.

Start MS Remote Desktop, and click the Desktops tab and select Add desktop:

Add desktop

Under the General tab fill in the fields as follows:

  • PC name: write one of the following, dependent on which remote desktop you are setting up a connection for.
    • (office- and common programs for students and external personnel)
    • (office- and common programs for employees)
    • (Mathematically oriented programs, for example Mathlab)
    • (Programming oriented programs, for example Visual Studio) 
  • User account: Select the username that we added earlier (win-ntnu-no\Username)
  • Gateway: leave this field as it is.
  • Friendly name: choose a name of your own choice to label the connection, in this example we use "Officefarm"
  • If your mouse behaves strangely in the Windows desktop, mark the checkbox "Swap mouse buttons"

    Add Officefarm desktop

Under the Display tab:

  • Colors: "Highest".

In this form, you can also choose whether you want to start the Windows session in full screen or inside a Mac window. It might be more practical to run the remote session in a local window, because you will then have the local resources on your Mac accessible outside of this window. 

Manual forwarding of local disk and printer #

When you use method 1 above, the local disk and default printer are automatically forwarded to the remote session. But here, when you connect to the remote Windows desktop, you have to manually set up disk and printer forwarding.

  • Click on the Devices & Audio tab
  • Tick the redirect boxes Clipboard and Printers
  • For Play sound, choose On this computer so that sound from the remote session will be played on your local computer.

Devices & audio

To forward your local disk to the remote session,

  • Click the Folders tab
  • Check the box Redirect folders
  • Click the pluss sign near the bottom left of the window

This will open a Finder window where you have to choose which folder to forward, e.g. "\Users\Username\Documents" for the "Documents" folder only. In the example the entire Mac disk is made accessible (Path: /) in the remote Windows session:

Redirect folders

When done, press Add to close the window, and finally press Save! 

Using the Windows desktop #

How to connect #

After closing the Add Desktop window, you will be returned to MS Remote Desktop's main window. You will then see that "Officefarm" now is available for connection. Activate the connection by double clicking on "Officefarm" in the list. 


The Windows desktop officefarm will now be opened in a window on your Mac desktop. The Windows-desktop has the well known taskbar at the bottom, on the very left on this taskbar you will see a white Windows icon. When you press this icon you will open the Start menu. Here you can scroll up and down and open the available programs. 

Officefarm startup window

Adding an additional Desktop: Calcfarm #

If you want to add another desktop you can do the following:

  1. Press the pluss symbol on the line at the top of the Windows Remote Desktop window
  2. Select Desktop to add a new desktop.
  3. Fill in the form, following the image below
  4. Change display, Device and Redirection settings to your liking by clicking the different tabs like we did before
  5. Save

Calcfarm setup

How to log off #

Close the connection by clicking the Windows icon, and then the powerbutton that appears above and selecting "Disconnect".

Clipboard #

The clipboard will be shared between the Windows desktop and your Mac, so that you can cut and paste between the Windows and the Mac programs.

Disks #

On the Windows desktop, the folders Libraries->Documents and My documents are shortcuts to the folder Documents on the network disk belonging to your account at NTNU.


When you click on Computer in the file manager in the Windows session, you will see that your NTNU network disk also is connected as "home directory (M:)" (Norwegian: Hjemmeområdet (M:)).


This is the disk that you usually connect to on your Mac with the address:

smb:/ /<yourNTNUusername>

This example shows my network disk ("Hjemmeområdet") as seen from my Mac, My Documents in Windows is Shared ->>Documents on the Mac:


The manually forwarded local disk #

The folder or disk that you chose to forward in the setup form for the connection will now be accessible from the Windows desktop's file manager, or from the File menu inside the Windows programs as shown in the image below. Shown as "Halvors MacBook Pro on Halvors MacBook" in this example:

Forwarded local disk

Location of the forwarded local printer #

The forwarded local printer does not show up, as you might expect, in Control panel -> Hardware -> Devices and printers. But it will be readily available from inside the remote session programs. The forwarded printer has parentheses with the word "redirected" inside, after the printername:

Windows 10: How to use the start menu, desktop and add a printer. #

A short introduction to the Windows 10 user interface can be found here: Windows 8 in the Software Farm

If you don't have a local printer connected to your Mac, or if it is not forwarded to the remote Windows session, it is possible to add a printer from the Windows desktop. Here's how you do it:

  1. Press the magnifying glass on the taskbar, right next to the Windows-icon
  2. Search for "Printers" and select Printers & scanners
    Printers & scanners
  3. In the window that appears click "Add a printer or scanner" after a little while some blue text will appear just below saying "The printer that I want isn't listed", Click on this text.
    The printer that I want isnt listed
  4. This will open the following window:
    Select a shared printer by name
  • Mark the option Select a shared printer by name
  • Type in: \\\ 
  • This will open a long list of NTNU-printers. Select ntnuprint-ricoh, and press Next.

Finally, agree to set the selected printer as the default printer and we are done!

If you after all this then again search your way back to Printers & scanners, you will find that the printer we just added is marked with Default. In this example ntnuprint-ricoh has been added and selected as the default printer.
Default printer

Windows 8: How to use the start menu, desktop and add a printer. #

A short introduction to the Windows 8 user interface can be found here: Windows 8 in the Software Farm

If you don't have a local printer connected to your Mac, or if it is not forwarded to the remote Windows session, it is possible to add a printer from the Windows desktop.

On the Windows desktop, open the file manager, and in the file manager choose Computer. 

The icon for the Control Panel will now appear in the toolbar in the file manger. Click on it to open the Control Panel. Choose Hardware, and then View devices and printers from the Control Panel.


The panel will then look like this. Click Add a printer (Here shown in Norwegian as the blue field: "Legg til en skriver").


 A panel will be opened with a list of printers, and the text "->The printer that I want isn't listed" below it. Click on that text, and the panel will change to this:

Click "Select a shared printer by name", and fill in the field with: \\\

The final backslash is important, because that brings up a long list of printers available at NTNU. Select ntnuprint-ricoh or ntnuprint-xerox.

When that is done, you will return to Control panel->Hardware->Devices and printers, and you will see the printer you have selected with a green tick next to it:


Method 3: The web interface for the Software Farm #

This method is quite inconvenient on a Mac, and it is described here only for the sake of completeness.

The standard/default web browser on the Mac is Safari. But Safari is quite limited when it comes to using service programs to process files downloaded from the Internet.

That means the first thing you will need to do is to install Firefox, if you don't already use it. The process will not be described here, but it is not difficult, of course. Nothing is on the Mac ;-)

Open the address in the web browser og log on with your ordinary NTNU username and password. (It is not necessary to write "win-ntnu-no\" as a prefix to you username).

When logged in, a page is opened where you can see the icons of all the programs installed on the Software Farm. If you were doing this from a Windows PC, you could have clicked on any icon, and have the program running as if it were installed on you local PC. Not so, alas for the users of Mac or Linux computers.

We see that there is a link to Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac at the bottom of the page. We have already installed that, so we don't have to worry about it right here.

a) Using Safari: an outright pain #

If you are using Safari as your web browser, and click on a program icon such as MS Word for Windows, a file will be downloaded to you local folder "Downloads".

The name of the file contains the name of the remote Windows program your want to run. For example the file is called cpub-WINWORD-Officeapps.CmsRdsh.rdp if you wanted to run Word for Windows.

If you now double click on the rdp-file in the "Downloads" folder, Microsoft Remote Desktop will start, and establish a new connection to the Software Farm, based on the data in the rdp-file. In the image above, you can see that I have tried to start both Word for Windows and Emacs from the web interface, and hence that the two appropriate files have been downloaded. 

Because MS Remote Desktop is trying to establish a new connection to the Software Farm, it will now display a form, asking you to enter your NTNU username and password once more. (Both Microsoft Remote Desktop and the Farm presupposes that your username and password are contained in the downloaded rdp-file, which is simply impossible. That is the reason for the text "Invalid login credentials" in the form.)

Having entered your username and password in the form and clicked OK, Microsoft Remote Desktop will now run your selected program seamlessly on your Mac desktop, as if it were running locally from your own disk. But this is a result which is much more conveniently reached by using the first method described above. It goes without saying that this is a very inconvenient method as compared to the much more elegant method 1 above.

b) Using Firefox: a bit less inconvenient, but still not very good #

When your are logged in on with Firefox, and click on a program icon, you will be asked whether it should be Microsoft Remote Desktop which should handle the download. Tick "Do this automatically in the future", and press "OK".

The same form with "Invalid login credentials" will be opened, as under Safari. Fill in and press OK. Firefox will manage to start Microsoft Remote Desktop automatically, so that we don't need to click on the downloaded rdp-file.

The next time you open a program from the farm's web interface, you will not be asked which program should handle the downloading. But you will still be asked for your username and password, even though you are already logged in on the farm's web interface. So method 1, the simple use of Microsoft Remote Desktop, is the obvious way to go.

c) Local disk, local printer and clipboard when using the web interface #

Your shared disk/folder will be redirected in the same way as described earlier, as long as you selected this in the cogwheel --> "preferences..." -->"General" menu.

Local printers will be forwarded to the remote session and appear as: Printer name (Redirected xxx), for example NTNU - Ricoh (redirected 186)

The clipboard is shared and common for remote and local programs.

Contact #

Orakel Support Services can help you if you find this description confusing or if you simply can't seem to connect to the Software Farm.

We would really like feedback on this page, or suggestions for ways to improve it. Send an email to

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