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Remote Desktop Protocol

The following overview will provide information regarding how to use Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to access GSAPP computers.


  • A computer with Windows 10 or newer (should come by default with windows) OR a computer with Mac OS, application found in apple store (link is provided below)
  • Internet speed of about 100 mbps Up and Down
  • A working antivirus (Malwarebytes)
  • VPN with Duo Mobile
  • Working phone number
  • Uni and Password


  • If you experience any difficulties, further support can be obtained by submitting a ticket.

  • Do not shutdown the remote computer.

  • If you are an active student (of Columbia University, CUIMC, Barnard, Teachers College, or UTS), CUIT encourages you to download and install Malwarebytes to protect your computer for free. Each student is entitled to one (1) license for an endpoint of your choice, such as your computer or Android-based device. Your license needs to be validated every 12 months to confirm you are still an active student of the University. More information is available here.

1.0   Connect to VPN via Cisco Anyconnect

You can install Cisco AnyConnect VPN on Windows and Mac computers by following the instructions below. Duo multifactor authentication is required to download and log in to the Cisco VPN.

Watch these how-to videos to learn how to install and use Duo on your mobile device (iPhone and Android):



Once Duo Mobile is installed and set up, it should look like the image below when you open the application.

Next, click the drop down arrow for your 6 digit passcode (used for 2nd password).

Screen shot 2020 06 30 at 6.54.55 pm 1
Once you have your 6 digit passcode, you are now able to download and install Cisco AnyConnect.
2.0   Download the VPN Client (Cisco AnyConnect)
2. Download the VPN Client (Cisco AnyConnect)
First, visit and login to https://vpn.cc.columbia.edu/ to download the desktop client and click the AnyConnect icon in the lefthand panel.
Screen shot 2020 06 30 at 6.59.09 pm
Next, click the “Start AnyConnect” button in the middle of the screen.
Screen shot 2020 06 30 at 7.00.15 pm
Next, download the VPN client by clicking on the AnyConnect link.
Screen shot 2020 06 30 at 7.01.37 pm

Next, complete the Install setup.

Then, launch Cisco AnyConnect Client, by typing Cisco Anyconnect in the search area on the taskbar (next to the Start button) and input “vpn.cc.columbia.edu” (see image below)

Screen shot 2020 06 30 at 7.04.34 pm
Next, log in with your Uni and authenticate with Duo (2nd password).
Screen shot 2020 06 30 at 7.05.33 pm

For more information, please visit the source page on the CUIT website.

For more detailed instructions and FAQs please visit CUIT’s Remote Access Services Page.

3.0   Once connected to the VPN network, open Remote Desktop Connection

For Windows OS, enter “Remote Desktop Connection” in the search bar (or hit the Windows key)

  1. Input PC name (i.e. 200N5720R1S3.adcu.columbia.edu)
  2. User name: “adcu\your uni” (without quotations)
  3. Password: (your uni password)

For Mac OS, download Microsoft Remote Desktop

  1. Open Microsoft Remote Desktop, and Click “Add PC”
  2. Input PC name (i.e. 200N5720R1S3.adcu.columbia.edu)
  3. Leave everything else as default. Click “Add’
  4. Input Computer name (i.e. 200N5720R1S3.adcu.columbia.edu)
  5. Double Click on the PC you just added
    Username: “adcu\your uni” (without quotations)
    Password: (your UNI password)
4.0   Disconnect from your RDP session
  1. End it by Signing out (Start > Profile(your name) > Sign out

    • Please note that if you sign off your session, all the open windows will close and you free up server resources. This is a good method to use when you are done for the day.
  2. End it by disconnecting (Start > Power > Disconnect) or (X in the top middle of your desktop)

    • Please note that disconnecting a session, disconnects you and closes your local window to the server. However, it does not close out the windows you have open on the remote server, it keeps them exactly how you left them. This is beneficial if you step away for lunch, for example, when you come back you want to continue where you left off.
    • Leaving sessions disconnected overnight is usually not a good idea. Often at times server policies will auto log you off after a few hours of no use.

Please remember to:

  • Save more often than usual
  • Disconnect from the VPN Network whenever you are not using the Remote Desktop Connection