User interface in Software Farm

The Software Farm remote desktop features the user interface introduced in Windows 8.  Since most of us are not familiar with this environment, this article outlines the important parts.

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The Desktop #

When you use Remote Desktop Connection to access the Software Farm, the Desktop will open in your window. It looks much like the usual Windows-7 desktop.

When a program is running, it will do so on top of the Desktop, which will serve as a background.

At the bottom of the desktop, we find the familiar task-bar.

The yellow folder is the well-known file-manager.

At the start of the task-bar, to the far left, we find a white Windows icon. This is the symbol for the start-screen, which replaces the familiar start-menu. Click on it, and the start-screen opens.

The Start-screen #

The start-screen covers your entire screen, and show a set of "tiles", items to click on to lauch programs.

On the Software Farm, only a few basic tiles are shown on the start-screen. If you press on the rectangular, orange tile marked "Desktop", you will be returned to the Desktop.

Sign out/Logg off or disconnect #

At the top right of the start-screen you will find your name and a person-icon. Press this, and choose Sign out to end the session.

To the right of the person-icon, there is a "powerswitch" icon.  If you press this, you will be informed that you can disconnect from the session. This means that your applications will continue to run, until a timeout set on the server is met,  even if your are no longer logged in. Within a reasonable time (within a normal workday), you can reconnect to the running session and continue where you left off. This can be handy if you want to prepare something in your office which you want to show your students in the auditorium afterwards.

Show "All Apps" #

At the bottom left of the start-screen we see a white circle with a white down-arrow in it. Pressing this icon opens a screen which shows all available applications on the Software Farm, the all apps screen.  We se that several different sorting options are available, e.g. "by name" or "by category". 

We see that the same white circle is shown down left on the all apps screen, but this time with an up-arrow. Press this, and you are taken back to the start-screen.

Find and add new programs to the start-screen or task-bar #

It is possible to make shortcuts to your favourite programs on the start-screen or on the taskbar .

On the all apps screen, right-click on a program tile, and a menu appears.

By choosing "Pin to Start", the program's tile is shown on the start-screen. "Pin to taskbar" establishes a shortcut from the taskbar. In the screenshot we see that I have already pinned Clue to the taskbar, and am now given the option to remove it.

Both on the start-screen and on the all apps screen, if you start typing something, a search field is opened, and a program name is searched for. The search is incremental, which means that for every character you type, the programs starting with those characters are listed.

The screenshot below is after typing "clue". Now you can click the Clue tile and start that program.

Clue Search

Also on the search results you can  right-click the tile to bring up the "Pin to Start" and "Pin to taskbar"-menu.

Clue Tile

We have choosen "Pin to Start", and the tile for Clue is now available on the Start Screen.

Available printers #

To check which printers are available on the Software Farm, open the control panel  from the start-screen.

In the control panel, find Devices and printers:

If you have choosen to forward your local printer in the setup of your Remote Desktop client, this printer will now be marked as "redirected". We also see that in the control panel on the Farm, I have choosen my redirected printer as the default printer: marked with a green tick.

Inside each of your running applications, there is often a menu item which gives you the option to "add a printer". This does not work when you are logged in on the NTNU-network, i.e. with your NTNU password on the domain win-ntnu-no. Consequently this does not work on the Software Farm either.

In this screenshot from the print menu of Word, item "3": Add a Printer can not be use, neither on the Software Farm or while you are logged on to the NTNU win-ntnu-no domain.

Printers must be added from the contol panel.

How to add a printer #

Printers can be added from the control panel. Press "Add a printer" (see screenshot above).

A dialog-window will appear, which informs you that "No printers were found" and "The printer that I want isn't listed". Press Next.

A new dialog-window will appear, which says "Find a printer by other options". Choose "Select a shared printer by name".

In the text-field type: \\\.  The final backslash is important, as it brings up the entire list of printers available on NTNU.

Select your printer. You will now be led through a couple of relatively self-explaining dialog-windows. You are among other things given the option to mark your chosen printer as your default printer.

When this is done, your selected/default printer will be shown in the control panel's "Devices and printers".

The printer chosen will be saved to your local profile on the Farm you are on, i.e. the selected printer on Officefarm is not available from the Adminfarm.

Contact #

Orakel Support Services can help if you encounter difficulties. If you are an NTNU employee, consult your local IT Support.

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