Gibson Virtual Desktops FAQ

If you encounter any difficulties with Gibson or have other urgent questions, you may e-mail e-mail or call (206) 616-7365.

What is Gibson?

Gibson is a virtual desktop environment which gives students, staff, and faculty 24/7 remote access to high-end software previously available only by visiting SEFS computing labs.

Who can access Gibson?

Gibson is currently available to students registered for courses in SEFS. Staff and Faculty may also use Gibson on an as-needed basis.

How do I connect?

Most computers within SEFS are already configured to connect you to Gibson. Simply look for VMware View in your start menu.

If you want to connect using your personal computer you can either use the web client or download and install the free client, both from To install the full client just click the "Install VMware Horizon View Client" button on the left and you'll be taken to VMware's site. Once installed, tell it to connect to "" and use your UW NetID to login.

For Windows phone, iOS and Android devices the free client is available through their respective "app stores."

If you receive a message stating you are "unentitled" or have any other difficulty connecting, you may e-mail or call (206) 616-7365 for assistance.

What is "Local mode"?

Local mode is the ability to copy a virtual computer to your physical computer and take it with you to a location that has no or limited internet connectivity. This feature is not enabled at this time.

Can I access Gibson from off-campus?

Yes. Gibson can be accessed from any Internet connected network worldwide using a supported device. Keep in mind internet connection speed will affect the user experience but not the performance of the virtual computer.

If I go away from my computer or disconnect, how long will I stay logged into Gibson?

If you go away from your computer or close the Gibson client, your session will remain logged in for a short period. If you are a student, your session will remain for only 1 hour. If you are a staff member, your session will remain for 48 hours. Once a user's session expires, it is logged off and any unsaved work is lost. Remember to save early and save often.

How do I save files on Gibson?

Students should store documents on the U Drive, which is available on Gibson and in UW computer labs, or on a SEFS Faculty drive with the appropriate permissions provided by a faculty member. Contact a faculty member to set up the necessary permission.

Staff and Faculty may store documents on the User drive, the Faculty drive, or the SEFS main file storage, depending on the purpose of the document. These drives will be backed up by UW-IT. They will be available on other computers in the SEFS office or in student computer labs. If you cannot access permanent storage from Gibson, you may e-mail or call (206) 616-7365 for assistance.

Gibson allows the storage of user profile data such as preferences, your Desktop, and "My Documents" folder. This should not be considered permanent storage for documents however. The Gibson profile data is limited to 5GB. If you exceed 5GBs you will receive a warning every 15 minutes to move the excess data to another storage location such as a flash drive, your permanent storage space, or cloud storage space. You may continue to work, however to prevent data loss you will not be able to log out until your profile is within the storage limit.

At the end of each quarter, profiles that have not been accessed in over 1 year will be removed from the system. If you have not stored your files as recommended above, they will be lost.