Virtual Computing Lab

Also known as: VCL
Available to: Students

Service Summary

The Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) serves as a learning resource for George Mason University students, faculty, and staff. The VCL is a technological way of remotely delivering software to users, through the Internet, regardless of their physical location or the time of day. Utilizing the VCL is easy and only requires an Internet-enabled computer and Mason credentials. Once logged in and connected, the Virtual Computing Lab provides access to specialized software, in a safe computing environment, without the need to purchase or install it to one's personal device.

Software currently available on the VCL includes:

Operating Systems:

Windows 7
Linux CentOS 5 and 6
Linux Ubuntu 12.04


ArcGIS 10.1
Maple 16
Mathematica 9
Matlab 2013
Microsoft Office 2010
SAS 9.3
Stata 13


 *Please note: Due to licensing restraints, all applications within the Microsoft Office Suite have been removed from the VCL for student use, however; it remains available for Mason faculty and staff. Access to Microsoft Office will be available automatically after first login to the VCL, but please be advised, it may take up to 24 hours for access to be granted initially.
Additional departmental software (including Microsoft Dreamspark licensed software) may be made available. Please contact for more information.
If you have any questions or do not have access to the VCL, e-mail for further assistance.

For more information about the VCL, please visit the FAQs.


George Mason University's Responsible Use of Computing Policy.

How to Get this Service

To use the VCL, users must first reserve a session via the online portal. To make a reservation on the VCL, visit and follow the steps below.
* Note: instructions are for PC users. If using a Mac device, please see the user guide below. Contact the ITS Support Center at 703-993-8870 for assistance or troubleshooting.
    1) Log onto
    2) Ensure Mason Credentials is selected in the drop down menu.
    3) Click on Proceed to Login.
    4) Enter your Mason credentials. (same as PatriotWeb and Blackboard)
    5) To create a software reservation, select New Reservation located in the left side bar. This page includes a drop down menu of all software available for use.
    6) Select the software you would like to reserve.
    7) Choose when and for how long you would like to reserve the software.
    8) Click Create Reservation. You will be redirected to the Current Reservations page where your software will load. You will also receive an e-mail confirming your reservation. (Note: A reservation can take as long as 15 minutes to load)
    9) Once the software has loaded, click the Connect button.
    10) You will be redirected to the Connect page which contains unique information for your reservation. Write down the assigned password provided on this page, which you will need to access the software. (Note: You cannot copy and paste)
    11) Click Get RDP file to open the software.
    12) Within the pop-up, select Save File and then OK to download the file and launch the software.
    13) Once the download has completed, open the software file. Within the Remote Desktop Connection pop-up, select Connect.
    14) When the log in pop-up appears, enter the unique password provided in Step 10 to access the software. You are now connected.
    15) When you are done, select Log Off within the start menu of the Remote Desktop Connection to exit. The application will automatically close when your reservation time has expired. Should you close the application before your reservation time expires, you may log back in at any point during your allotted time frame.
For complete instructions on how to create a reservation and utilize the VCL, refer to the appropriate user guide below:

VCL Guide for PC 

VCL Guide for MAC

There is no charge for this service.


24/7 access to all virtual computing systems from both on and off of Mason's campuses.

Getting Help

For technical support or questions regarding the VCL, contact the ITS Support Center at 703-993-8870 or e-mail The Support Center is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Last modified date: October 22, 2015