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How to use the Virtual Information Commons (vIC)



Who can use the Virtual Information Commons

The virtual Information Commons (vIC) provides University students, faculty and staff having an active IT account with access to the licensed software provided on the Information Commons computers in the libraries. Log on credentials are your NetID and password (the same password you use to log in to MyUAlbany and/or UAlbany Mail). 

  • There is a finite number of "seats" available in the vIC. Before attempting to log on, you can check availability of a seat.
  • If your credentials are accepted on the initial vIC login screen but then the virtual desktop fails to connect to your computer, you may need to reset your password.  Go to, select UAlbany Password Set/Reset and complete a password reset.  The confirmation screen that appears upon successful completion of the password reset will confirm your access to all IT systems or it will provide an error message stating you are not allowed to access one or more systems.

How many seats are available in the vIC

There are 30 seats in the vIC. Show how many seats are available now.

Computer or browser requirements

  • You must use a high speed internet connection
  • Computer must have Java enabled
  • To print to your local printer, Adobe Reader must be installed on the computer

Known issues:


Operating System

  • Mac user:
    • If you are running Mac OS X, you must have X11 installed
    • With Mac OS X 10.4 or earlier, you will need to install X11
    • With Mac OS X 10.5-7 usually have X11 installed by default
    • With Mac OS X 10.8 or newer, you will need to install XQuartz
  • Windows user:
    • The Desktop version of IE on Windows 8 will work, using Compatibility Mode as with other recent versions of IE
    • The Windows 8-style version of IE will not work. Most plugins, including Java, are disallowed in the Windows 8-styled IE to save power and help with performance.


  • Chrome may require you to press refresh (F5) at the Sun Secure Global Desktop screen with the progress bar in order to proceed
  • Internet Explorer 9 or newer is not supported for use with the vIC due to Java detection failure; IE9 or newer can be used when compatibility mode is enabled
  • Mac OS 10.7+ with 32-bit browsers will fail. Chrome and Opera will be affected until 64-bit versions are released for Mac OS.
  • The Windows 8-style version of IE will not work
  • On Mac OS X in Safari, security restrictions on Java may prevent the vIC from launching. In this case, using Firefox should allow access.


Access to local drives when using the vIC

Due to the enhanced security on the vIC, you cannot access your local drives (C, USB, CD, DVD). If you will need to access files stored on your local drives, you must first upload the files to your S Drive or space on the UNIX system via FileZilla before you login to the vIC.

How to map my S drive on the vIC

Your S Drive and some other network drives will be automatically connected when you log in to the vIC.

How to print a document when using the vIC

There are two ways to print when using the vIC.  You can print to your local printer (i.e. at home); this requires having Adobe Reader installed on your computer. The other option is to print to one of the Information Commons printers in the libraries. You can then use your SUNYCard to pay for and print your document in the same manner as you do when using the Information Commons computers in the libraries.

How to print to a local printer

  1. Click on the File menu button and click "Print"
  2. Make sure that "Local Printer as a PDF" is showing in the Name field and click "OK"
  3. A PDF file should appear on your computer
  4. From the preview of that document, click "File" and "Print"
  5. Be sure that your local printer name appears in the "Printer" field. Click "Print"

Note that the "Local Printer as a PDF" may sometimes be unavailable when you connect from a Mac.  We have found this to be a bug in the Oracle software.

How to print to the Information Commons printers in the libraries

  • Click on the File menu or Microsoft Office button and click "Print"
  • Make sure that the appropriate printer is selected in the Name field.
  • Select OK to print.  Print job must be retrieved within two hours or it will be deleted from the queue.

Print Location

Print Queue

University Library B/W


University Library Color


Science Library B/W


Science Library Color


Dewey Library B/W


Dewey Library Color


Access to the same software that is available on the Information Commons computers in the Library

You will have access to the majority of licensed software the University provides on the Information Commons computers. The following software titles had to be removed because of technical limitations:

  • Sound Recorder
  • Volume Control
  • CDBurner XP
  • Google Earth
  • All Adobe software except for the free Adobe Reader

How to log off or end my vIC session

Before you log off, make sure you save your work to your S Drive. Click on the vIC Start button and choose Log off. This will close your session with the server.  If you press the X in the upper right hand corner instead and confirm that you want to end your application session, your session will close on the server immediately. 

What happens if I lose my Internet connection during a vIC session

If you lose network connectivity (e.g. dropped Wi-Fi connection) during a session, you will have 15 minutes to reconnect with the vIC.  If you do not connect within 15 minutes, any work not saved to your S Drive will be deleted because your session will have closed on the server. We recommend that you save often during your vIC session to avoid loss of work during an unintentional interrupt to your network connectivity.