Computer Systems Lab
Connecting & Supporting the Computer Sciences Department
Remote access instructions for administrative staff

CS Admin Staff - Working from Home Instructions and Tips

NOTE: If you are using a CSL managed laptop at home, this does not apply to your situation.

If you will be using a non-CSL managed computer (i.e. a personal laptop or desktop computer, or a UW-owned laptop that is NOT managed by the CSL) to work from home, the basic way to work will be to use a “remote desktop” to your office computer.

In order to have full access to your files, UW-Madison IT systems and services, and keep all UW-Madison data secure and stored on CS Department file servers, make sure to do all your work (web browsing, file editing, etc) in the remote desktop session.

For performance reasons, you should use a local browser (on your home computer) for any video conferencing.

This document will explain how to install and configure the tools you need to work from home.

There are two steps that need to be completed on your home computer before you can work from home:

  1. Install and configure the CS Department VPN client
  2. Install and configure a Remote Desktop Client (Note: A client may already be pre-installed on your computer)

CS Department VPN

Using the CS Department VPN will create a secure network connection between your home computer and the CS Department network, and will be necessary to remotely access your work computer. Please refer to the WiscVPN - Overview DoIT KB document, which contains campus provided instructions for installing and configuring the VPN client. Your home computer’s operating system (i.e. Windows, Mac, or Linux) will determine which set of installation instructions to follow.

Configure the CS Department VPN according to the instructions with one change: whenever the instructions refer to a portal address of, instead enter

You will be prompted to use Duo multi-factor authentication to connect to the CS Department VPN.

Remote Desktop Client

The CSL provides a Connecting to Windows workstations with Remote Desktop article, which explains how to install (if needed) and use a remote desktop client.

You will need to be connected to the CS Department VPN before starting remote desktop. You will need to know the hostname of your work computer: look for a label on your computer with a name similar to

Help with setting up your home computer for remote work:

If you are having difficulty with these instructions, contact the CSL (send email to and we will schedule a time to assist you via video conference.