Using Zoom with a VWCC Virtual Machine

At VWCC on a Thin Client

Use Zoom just as you would with a laptop or desktop.

  • If you watch yourself in video – you will see a slight delay. That is not noticeable on the actual call.
  • If there is lag and breakup, report this to the Help Desk and have them create a ticket to test. In some cases, there are issues with the individual thin client or network. Remember that many of these calls travel across the open Internet and there may be some delays outside the college that also can cause performance issues. The technology has been tested and works. Problems should be reported as soon as possible to the Help Desk and include details of the issue.

At Home Using a Laptop

What version of virtual machine do I have?

You can tell which version of virtual machine you have by typing PCINFO in the Windows search box and hitting enter. When the next screen appears check your device name.

PCInfo Screen

You will have a Device name that is either VW5XXXX or VW6XXXX.

Version VW5XXXX Machines

Do not use Zoom in the VW5XXXX series virtual machines from off campus as you will ALWAYS have bad performance! Use Zoom on the local laptop first! Graphics processing lags and the virtual machine cannot do this over the connection to the college without graphics.

If you need to share your screen from your virtual, you can connect to your virtual machine from the laptop and share the screen of the virtual in the Zoom session. This is done using 2 simple processes.

  • You can jump back and forth from the Zoom session to the virtual machine by clicking on the Horizon Icon VMWare Horizon Icon on your taskbar.
  • If you want to go back to the Zoom screen, hover at the top of your screen until a dropdown appears with a , which allows you to minimize the screen. This process is simple, but can take a little bit of practice to become proficient.

Version VW6XXXX Machines

If you have a VW6XXXX virtual machine, you can run Zoom in the virtual environment.

IET has a fully graphic enabled system that offers better performance. This system is in production. Zoom performance is greatly improved due to the graphics processors. A migration is in progress to move most people to these virtual machines. Licensing costs are a factor in this migration. These machines will be available for all users needing high performance graphics. In many cases the graphics processing is better in a virtual than a physical PC due to the superior graphics card in the system.

What to know before you call the Help Desk

If you are having a problem with Zoom on your virtual machine, please gather this information before contacting the Help Desk:

  • Symptoms (ex: locking up, bad audio, pixilation)
  • Who is having the problem (ex: just you, everyone in the session, only certain users in the session)
  • Are you on-campus or off-campus?
  • What device are you using?
  • Are you on a wireless network?
  • Have you speed tested your internet connection? (See below for more information)
  • Have you tested using the Zoom test site? (https://zoom.com/test)

Monitoring Tools to Isolate Problems

Ping Test

A ping test sends packets to Google and should show a continuous stream of packets typically with a 12ms response time. Timed out errors or ping times of more than 100ms indicate a bad connection.

How to Run a Ping Test

  1. In the Windows Search box, type CMD. A black window will open.
  2. Type ping Google.com -t. (Leave off the period.)

Leave this running and observe the traffic results. If Timed Out appears or response times exceed the following specifications, there is likely a problem with the connection. The smaller the number, the faster the connection is.

  • Ping times of 100ms and below are average for most broadband connections.
  • For video conferencing, any result below a ping of 20ms is considered exceptional.
  • Results between 50ms and 100ms range from very good to average.
  • Results of 150ms or more indicate a poor connection and Zoom will struggle to work, particularly with HD video and backgrounds since they increase data transmission.

Speed Test

Many Internet providers have apps for testing home connections. Speed testing is a good tool for looking at the big picture of your network performance, however one must be mindful that this should be used in combination with the ping test to assess connection performance. These tests generally have a warning message if your network connection is slow or poor. Knowing what is normal is helpful when looking at performance issues. Your Internet provider can help with determining if you are having a network issue.

If you do not have one of these apps, you can search Google for “Google speed test” and the first result will be a Internet speed test that you can run.

Zoom Troubleshooting & Best Practices

Click here for information about using Zoom with a VWCC Virtual Machine.

General Recommendations

Run Windows update and restart your machine frequently!

You should restart your Windows computer (virtual machine and physical machines) frequently and check for Windows updates. This ensures properly security and reporting which is monitored by ITS security in Richmond. Go to the Windows Flag, left click and go to the gear (settings) and open Update and Security when you select Check for Updates. Apply any updates and restart. Do this at least once or twice a week.

Resolving Display Issues

Symptom: Screen Size is Incorrect or partially displayed

Each time an endpoint device establishes a remote connection to the virtual machine, video must synchronize from the virtual machine to the client device. If multiple devices are used to access the virtual desktop, for example a thin client on campus and a laptop or desktop (with multiple monitors) from home, the video will need to sync. This process occasionally fails, and the screen appearance will be abnormal.

To resolve this, bring the mouse to the top of the screen where a drop-down panel will appear. Choose the View option and check the Windowed radio box. The screen will resize to a small window. Next choose – Full Screen – All Monitors.

Self-View Video Delay

There is a slight delay in the video seen on the sender machine. This is called self-view. It does not appear to others in the Zoom session or on the recordings. This can be distracting, particularly when using the default gallery view.

To remove this distraction, it is recommended that Speaker View or Hide Self view is selected to remove the distraction of watching yourself with a slight delay. The delay is typically less than one second in self view. This can be optimized by changing to speaker view in the actual meeting or Hover over your video and click the ellipses button in your video to display the menu, then choose Hide Self View.

Zoom Backgrounds

Backgrounds may be used with Zoom. If these are desired, one should consider the backgrounds that the college developed. Be advised that using a moving background requires more processing power and bandwidth, so use with discretion and turn off to address possible low bandwidth issues.

Instability and Bandwidth Consumption

Zoom meetings traverse the Internet. They are sensitive to issues with bandwidth. Common symptoms are audio dropouts and messages indicating “Your Internet Connection is Unstable”. Poor connections and lack of bandwidth cause these issues for any system physical or virtual using Zoom.  

If you share your home Internet connection with others in the household using bandwidth for telework, gaming, video streaming and other services, be mindful that you are all using bandwidth and Zoom performance may be degraded.

Some connections have insufficient bandwidth to support all the enhancements in Zoom. Turning off HD video and removing backgrounds can help performance on low bandwidth connections. In some cases, turning off video altogether may be needed. Bandwidth restrictions are usually outside the college’s control. Internal networking issues and hardware problems on campus can cause poor performance. It is important that any Zoom issues be reported to the Help Desk so we can help resolve problems quickly.

Questions and How to Get Help

IET offers Help Desk Services

You may call 540-857-7354 or Email Helpdesk@virginiawestern.edu to request help.

Question and Answer Zoom sessions will be provided for anyone who needs assistance or wants to get more information on using thin clients, virtual machines and other subjects as requested. Please let the Help Desk know if this is of interest.

Zoom

Zoom is a full-featured web and video conferencing service that offers online meetings and webinars. Features include polling, breakout rooms, and a wide variety of audio options.

To get started with Zoom:

  1. Go to the Zoom site: https://vccs.zoom.us.
  2. Click on the Settings button and log in with your MyVWCC credentials.
  3. Once you are logged in, you can update your profile and schedule, join or host a meeting.

Also, each ZOOM login has two Personal Audio Conferencing accounts included. Personal Audio Conferencing is a voice only service that you and your meeting participants can dial directly into without needing to start a meeting or use a computer.  To find your Personal Audio Conferencing account information, once you are logged in, click the Personal Audio Conferencing link on the left and your audio conferencing settings will appear. If you click the Start Conference button, you will see a call control website where you can add, remove, mute, lock and end the conference.

If you should reach a login screen that looks like the one below, click the Sign In with SSO button to sign in with your MyVWCC credentials.

Zoom Login

Using Zoom with a VWCC Virtual Machine

Training & Support

Hoonuit has a Zoom course that covers the basics and meetings. Log in to MyVWCC and then access the course here, or click the Hoonuit button in MyVWCC and search for “zoom”.

Zoom Support has some great information available at https://support.zoom.us. We recommend starting with Getting Started and the Meeting Controls video.

Additional questions can be sent to the VCCS by opening at TD ticket at https://vccs.teamdynamix.com.

Click here for Zoom troubleshooting tips and best practices.

WordPress

WordPress is open source software that can be used to create websites or blogs. Virginia Western uses WordPress in a number of places, including the Daily Bulletin, News, and this IET Services site.

If you think WordPress may be an appropriate solution for your project, please contact Web Admin at webadmin@virginiawestern.edu.

Virginia Western Events Calendar

Virginia Western utilizes an all-in-one event and resources allocation system. Event requests can be submitted by anyone, including details such as booking a room and Police, FMS, or MediaGeek assistance. Not all resources are available for all users.

The Events Calendar, which includes Student Events, Community/Public Events, and the Academic Calendar, can be viewed at Virginia Western Events Calendar.

Calendars available to submit events to:

Calendars that are view only:

VWusers Dlist

The faculty/staff distribution list (dlist) is a moderated email distribution list that is only used for information that is urgent, non-routine, or unforeseen.

If you have routine, non-emergency information to share with the campus community, it should be submitted to the Daily Bulletin.

VWConnect

VWConnect is VWCC’s intranet, which runs on the Microsoft Sharepoint platform. VWConnect allows VWCC employees to:

  • collaborate in a non-public forum
  • manage documents
  • implement business processes with automated forms
  • access information that is essential to VWCC’s organizational goals and processes.

VWConnect is only available on-campus or through a virtual desktop.

If you need to request a page or site on VWConnect, contact Melanie Crouch.

Daily Bulletin

The Daily Bulletin has been designed for routine, non-emergency campus notices. It can be accessed from the Virginia Western homepage on the Faculty & Staff Resources page or at http://www.virginiawestern.edu/bulletin/. All www.virginiawestern.edu email addresses will receive a copy of the Daily Bulletin each day.

Any faculty or staff member can submit postings to the Daily Bulletin by registering for an account (see below).

Additional resources