There are two different methods that you can use to access your computer at the University of Otago* from off-campus:

Accessing your desktop remotely
Accessing your electronic files remotely

Planning and testing of your chosen method of access is essential, as remote access cannot be easily set up once you have left your workplace.

* Except for UOW, where staff access files from either Pandora (if they are still on the UOW domain), HCS shares, or OneDrive instead of office desktops.

Accessing your desktop remotely

  • This means that you interact with your office computer as if you were sitting in front of it
  • The internet connection at your remote location needs to be fast and reliable for remote desktop access to work properly as images of your computer screen will need to be transmitted to your remote location
  • Video, audio, and microphone use may be unreliable

You should access your desktop remotely if you:

  • Need to make frequent changes to other settings on your computer (e.g. editing a shared folder)
  • Need to use software that is only installed on your office computer due to cost or licensing terms
  • Want to avoid having multiple copies of files that you are working on

If you use Windows on your office computer, ITS recommends that you use Remote Desktop (installed with Windows) and the University of Otago VPN Service to access your desktop remotely from off-campus. VPN can be used to connect directly to on-campus-only services, such as:

  • Business Objects reporting
  • Central file storage
  • Finance One

VPN access is not the same as logging in to web-based applications (such as Blackboard or eVision) via the University website as these are available both on- and off-campus without VPN.

Connecting to your work computer from home (PDF 256KB)
VPN (Virtual Private Network)

If you use macOS, you can use an application such as LogMeIn or TeamViewer to access your desktop remotely from off-campus (the free versions of these programs work well but may contain ads):


Accessing your files remotely

  • This means you can download and upload any files saved on your office computer to view or modify them
  • You can use slower and less reliable internet connections to access your electronic files with this method
  • However, most applications will not work correctly if copied in this way, so you need to have the right software installed on your off-campus computer or mobile device to work with any files that you download
  • There are a range of programs you can use for file transfers and synchronisation (which makes sure the modifications you make remotely are updated in the original file).
    Please contact AskOtago for advice about the best file transfer software to use

You should access your files remotely if:

  • The software is available on your remote computer for you to open your files
  • You prefer to work "offline" then synchronise any changes with your work computer
  • You work on small files (typically documents) that are not confidential

This is often the only option if the internet connection at your remote location is slow, unreliable, and/or intermittent.

Whether you are using Windows or macOS on your work computer, ITS suggests you should use a secure data-sharing application to access your files remotely from off-campus, such as:

Syncplicity Sync & Share, or

For non-confidential files, Dropbox can also be used:


Last updated 27/10/2021 11.54 AM

Did this answer your question?