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Remote Access to ECS Labs with Sassafras

Many ECS labs are available remotely to access engineering software using a software system called Sassafras. This system is ideal for accessing engineering software, as it does not require a powerful home PC or laptop; students harness the power of the systems in the labs remotely. Please see the current list of Sassafras remote labs (VPN required), but stay tuned for updates as we expand our capabilities.

Sassafras Systems

Visit to access available ECS lab systems remotely. You must be on the CSUS VPN using the GlobalProtect VPN Client to access this site.

Only ECS students or those students enrolled in ECS classes will have access.

How to Connect

  1. Log onto the CSUS VPN.
  2. Visit and navigate to the lab and system you wish. ECS systems are under the ECS tab in "Maps".
  3. Click the "Connect" button, which will download a Microsoft Remote Desktop session.
  4. There may be additional security prompts, please read and then allow the session to continue.
  5. When the login window opens, select "More Choices" and then "Use a Different Account". This is necessary because by default the credential window may be trying to use your personal system's login rather than your CSUS credentials, depending on your local system.
  6. Enter your CSUS username in the following format: CSUS\your username. Enter your CSUS password.

image of the login credential window.  Enter your CSUS username and password.
Login Credential Window. Enter your CSUS username and password.

Mac Users

If you use a Mac, please make sure you are using version 10 or higher of the Microsoft Remote Desktop App which can be found in the Mac App Store.

Some Mac users have reported intermittent issues with a black screen after connecting. If this happens, please test out the systems in the "ECS - Mac Remote Test" tab. Please try a computer in each of the three labs (5025, 5025C, 5025D) and let us know the results by contacting the ECS Helpdesk.

Where's My Software?

Keep in mind not all software may be on all systems, so it's best to choose the system appropriate to your major if you are looking for specific major software. Also, you may not be able to log into certain labs that have specialized, limited-license software meant for graduate courses or elective courses. For example, if you’re a Mechanical Engineering student looking for Solidworks, start with your major labs (SCL 1218, RVR 4001) or open labs (SCL 1208, 1234, RVR 2011, ARC 1014, 1015).

The application also allows you to search for specific software and see where it is installed via the "Software" tab, right below the "Maps" tab.

Video Tutorial for ECS Remote Labs

Labs and Departments

For our newer students, the following is a reference list of most computer labs in Riverside Hall (RVR), Santa Clara Hall (SCL), and the Academic Information Resource Center (ARC) with their corresponding departments. Please see the current (VPN required) list of remote-enabled labs or the application itself to see which of these labs are available on Sassafras.

How (and Why) to Log Off

In order to disconnect from the system, please click on the Windows start menu profile icon and “log off”. This will instantly free up the system for another student. "Disconnecting" or closing the Remote Desktop window will disconnect your session but will not log you out. We have a short grace period for disconnects (a few minutes), after which time your session will be forcibly logged off. This could potentially result in lost data, so be careful. A project file open in a program may or may not be autosaved to a suitable location, depending on the software. You may also not be able to log back into retrieve a file that wasn't saved to a safe location before the nightly deepfreeze reversion.

If you do not need a system for a period of time, you should save your work to the cloud, the CSUS U drive, or another suitable location, then log off and log back in later.

Sassafras works almost like you were physically in the lab. A single lab system can have one user using it a time, so disconnecting (locking) the session and coming back in 3 hours would be the same as locking the system in person and walking away for 3 hours, hence the forced log-off. Remember these are shared resources and there are about 5,000 ECS students.

General ECS Major-Labs (Reference)

ARC 1014All Majors
ARC 1015All Majors
RVR 1003Mechanical Engineering
RVR 1013Computer Science
RVR 2001Computer Science
RVR 2003Computer Science
RVR 2005Computer Science
RVR 2009Computer Science
RVR 2011All Majors
RVR 2013Computer Science
RVR 3001Electrical & Electronic Engineering
RVR 3005Electrical & Electronic Engineering
RVR 3009Electrical & Electronic Engineering
RVR 3013Electrical & Electronic Engineering
RVR 3017Electrical & Electronic Engineering
RVR 4001Mechanical Engineering
RVR 4003Construction Management
RVR 4005Electrical & Electronic Engineering
RVR 5017Electrical & Electronic Engineering
RVR 5019Electrical & Electronic Engineering
RVR 5025Civil Engineering
RVR 5029Computer Science
SCL 1218Mechanical Engineering
SCL 1234All Majors

Article Updated 5/28/21