If you have a Digital Workplace (DW) managed desktop computer, you have two primary options when working remotely: using your University of Toronto (U of T) laptop off-site, or using a non-U of T device. Use this web page to determine which remote work option to use, and the steps you need to take to complete any tool installations.
You can also access the Working Remotely with Managed Desktop one-pager for a condensed, shareable guide to your remote work options.
We ask that you test the option you select prior to working remotely to ensure that you have access to the services you need.
If you have a University of Toronto (U of T) laptop, we recommend that you follow these guidelines.
For all U of T laptop users:
- If you have a U of T laptop, we recommend that you bring it home when working remotely. This way, the applications you need for work will already be available to you.
- If you need to access your I: or H: drives from your U of T laptop, use the UTORcsi VPN and review instructions on how to use and/or install UTORcsi.
For U of T laptop users who require access to U of T administrative systems such as ROSI or AMS/SAP:
- If you need to access secure services such as ROSI and AMS/SAP from your U of T laptop, you should use the Cisco AnyConnect VPN. Review the instructions on how to access and/or install Cisco AnyConnect VPN for managed desktop users.
If you will be working remotely on a non-U of T device, we recommend that you follow these guidelines.
For all users on non-U of T devices:
- Use Outlook Online to access your work email.
- Use the online Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications in your daily work routine.
- Store your U of T laptop files in OneDrive. You can then use OneDrive to access your work files from any device. For instructions on how to set up OneDrive, please review the OneDrive section below and the Digital Workplace OneDrive page.
For users on non-U of T devices who require access to shares, local files or U of T administrative systems such as ROSI or AMS/SAP:
- Use the DW Remote Desktop Service to access your work computer from your non-U of T device. Review the detailed instructions on how set up and access the DW Remote Desktop Service.
- Bring your eToken home. It will need to be plugged into your home computer if you are using the remote desktop service to connect to ROSI or AMS/SAP.
- Ensure that your work computer is left on. You will not be able to access your workplace computer remotely if your work computer is off.
- If you are using a Windows 7 device with remote desktop, you will need to download SafeNet for eToken on that device. Find out more from Information Security, or log a ticket in the Enterprise Service Centre.
Cisco AnyConnect VPN
Cisco AnyConnect VPN is a general, remote access, VPN service. It connects your computer to the University’s network and protects the traffic across suspect intermediate networks such as hotels and coffee shops. When connected, all internet traffic from your computer will pass through Cisco AnyConnect VPN. It can be used for easier access to library e-resources and access other services that may be restricted to general on-campus networks.
With a managed desktop computer, Cisco AnyConnect VPN may already be installed. Follow the guides above to determine how to use and/or install the application.
If the VPN application is already installed
- Go to your program menu and select Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client.
The program will open. It should look like this:
Simply click Connect to connect to the VPN service.
If the VPN application is not installed
- Submit a ticket through the Get Help form on the IT Service Centre.
- For the area where you are experiencing an issue, select End User Computing.
- For specify the area, select Other Software Installation.
- In the description, say that you need UTORvpn installed on your workplace computer.
- Submit the form.
- A member of the Digital Workplace team will respond to your request as soon as possible.
Digital Workplace Remote Desktop Service
The Digital Workplace Remote Desktop Service lets you use your home computer to connect to your work computer. With remote desktop, you can access your work desktop environment from a computer in a different location.
To set up remote desktop on your Digital Workplace managed desktop computer, please follow the instructions by expanding the tabs below. Parts one and two must be completed in sequential order.
Note: Your work computer MUST be on in order to use remote desktop. You cannot set up or use the remote desktop service if your work computer is off. If you require an eToken to access administrative services it must be left plugged in to your home computer once you have successfully made the remote desktop connection.
Part One – Enabling remote desktop access on your work computer
- The Digital Workplace team will make the remote desktop configuration available to your computer by providing a download file in the Software Centre.
- When the software is ready to be installed, you should see an alert that new software is available near the system tray of your work computer. If you need to force the detection of the new app, go to the Control Panel and select Configuration Manager. Click on the Actions tab and select Machine Policy Retrieval & Evaluation Cycle. Click Run Now. If this step does not refresh your applications, please restart your computer and then open the Software Centre again.
- Open the Software Centre.
- In the Software Centre applications tab, select Configure this Computer for Remote Access (RDP).
- Click on the icon and press Install.
- Once you install, running this application will initiate a process to configure your computer to allow you to remote access to your desktop from outside the office. You will receive an email with details on how to connect after your submission has been processed – typically within 24 hours.
Part Two – Accessing your workplace desktop from your home computer
- Make sure your work computer is on.
- Shortly after completing the steps in Part One, you should receive an email to your University of Toronto email account with the subject Digital Workplace Remote Desktop Icon.
- Open the email on your home computer.
- If your home computer is a Windows computer, simply drag the email attachment icon to your desktop.
- If your home computer is a Mac computer, you must first install Microsoft Remote Desktop 10 for Mac: https://apps.apple.com/ca/app/microsoft-remote-desktop-10/id1295203466?mt=12. Once you have installed this program, drag the email attachment icon to your desktop.
- Click on the icon you have dragged to your desktop.
- You will be asked to enter the Windows username and password of your work computer.
- Once you have successfully connected to your work computer, plug your eToken into your home computer.
OneDrive is a key application for you to use when you work from home: it allows you to access your computer files from any device, anywhere in the world.
To start moving your files to OneDrive, follow these steps:
- Open the online OneDrive app by logging in to your online Outlook/UTmail+ account and clicking on the waffle in the top left corner. Select the OneDrive tool.
- When you open OneDrive you will see a list of all of your files that are currently uploaded.
- To add new files from your computer, simply click Upload and select whether you would like to upload Files or a Folder.
- Select the items that you would like to add and click Upload. The files will now be housed in your OneDrive!
As you can see from the image, you can upload all the folder and file types you need to work from home. And you will never have to worry about running out of space – OneDrive has a storage limit of 1 TB.
If you have the OneDrive application downloaded to your computer, you can also use the sync option to ensure that any files edited on OneDrive are also edited on your computer. To learn more about this option, access this Microsoft article.
UTORcsi is a remote access VPN service. It connects your computer to the University’s network and protects the traffic across suspect intermediate networks such as hotels and coffee shops. When connected, all internet traffic from your computer will pass through UTORcsi.
If you do not have UTORcsi, please submit a ticket through the Enterprise Service Centre.
Frequently asked questions
The simplest option for accessing your work files from home is to upload them to OneDrive. OneDrive is available to all staff, students and faculty at the University of Toronto, and you can access it through the Office 365 web interface.
To learn how to upload your computer files to OneDrive before you work from home, access OneDrive training through the University’s SuccessFactors website.
You do not need to use a VPN to access your files on OneDrive. You can use the Microsoft web interface to securely access your OneDrive files from anywhere in the world.
Using Microsoft 365 remotely
Using Microsoft 365 remotely
Yes. You can access SharePoint from any web browser on any device.
When working from home, you can access your University email from any device by using the UTmail+/Outlook web client. If you have not used Outlook Online before, you can learn how to access it through the U of T Digital Workplace UTmail+ page.
University of Toronto community members have access to online versions of Microsoft Office applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. To learn more about how to access these tools through the web, visit uoft.me/dwO365.
Yes, people can now dial in to University of Toronto Teams meetings via phone. For more information on how this works, please reference the FAQ page.
When I open Teams I get a message that says ‘Windows Defender Firewall has blocked some features of this app.’ What should I do?
If you get this message, simply click Cancel and relaunch the Teams app.
Most users will not need to use DW Remote Desktop Service to work from home and can simply use their computer with OneDrive and other information-sharing tools like SharePoint and Teams. However, if you are a managed desktop user who needs to use a non-U of T device and requires access to administrative services such as ROSI or AMS/SAP you will need to use it.
Please review the DW Remote Desktop Service section above for more details on using this service and how to install it.
The work from home option you select will be determined by whether you have a U of T laptop that you can bring home.
If you need access to specific software that is only available on your computer, you should bring your U of T laptop home. If you are unable to bring your laptop home, use the DW Remote Desktop Service if your division is a DW client. If your division is not a DW client, please contact your local IT support to discuss options.
You should use a VPN when:
- You do not have access to a home computer, but could bring your work laptop home. In this instance, you would use Cisco AnyConnect VPN to access secure systems such as ROSI and AMS/SAP.
- You have your U of T computer at home, but you need access to your I: or H: drives. In this instance, you would use UTORcsi.
- You need access to specific departmental shares.
You can absolutely work from home if you set up the DW Remote Desktop Service. Please see the instructions above to set this service up.
Your eToken needs to be where ever you are. When using the DW Remote Desktop Service, we recommend plugging your eToken into your home device after you have successfully accessed your desktop remotely to ensure connectivity.