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Setting up Remote Workplaces using ASTER and Virtual Displays

In today’s day and age, there is high flexibility for work in offices, allowing employees to work from their home computer. However, working on their own home computer can result in security risks. To mitigate such risks, companies employ VDI solutions which can be accessed over remotely using remote desktop applications. These solutions can be expensive and proprietary which means you have to keep making payments to the provider for access or pay a huge sum of money to get it setup on your premises.

Now, comes ASTER which allows you to create up to 12 workplaces on the base of one computer. To create a workplace all you need to do is connect a monitor, keyboard and mouse, configure ASTER and enable it. Now, instead of using a physical monitor you use Virtual monitor (Virtual display)

Virtual Display Driver is a windows driver made in Rust which creates a virtual monitor and can be used with ASTER to create remote workplaces.

Here is how you can set it up with ASTER:

Download and install ASTER.

ASTER Settings

Setting up the Virtual Display Driver

1) Download the latest version of Virtual Display Driver installer and extract it to a folder on your computer.

Virtual Display Driver

2) Run the “install-cert.bat” file as an administrator.

3) Once done, double click the installer and finish the installation of the driver.

4) After the driver is finished installation, open the “Virtual Display Driver Control” application from the start menu.

Virtual Display Driver Control Label

5) On the Virtual Display Driver Control, we need to add the virtual monitors by clicking the “+” button.

Add the Virtual Monitor

6) You will see “Monitor 1” added to the list. However, it has a yellow exclamation icon.

Monitor 1 added

7) This is normal as we need to set the resolution of the monitor and the refresh rate first before the monitor can be enabled.

8) Click the monitor name, which will open a new dialog box, click the “+” button on it.

Click +

9) On the “Add Resolution” dialog box, enter the “Width”, “Height” and “Refresh Rate” for the monitor and click the “+” button to add it.

Add Resolution

10) You will see the added resolution on the “Monitor 1” list, click the “Save” button to save the resolution for the monitor.

Save the Resolution

11) Now, the exclamation mark for them monitor will go away.

Without the exclamation mark

12) Now, enable the monitor by toggling the enable toggle on the right

Enable the Monitor

13) You can similarly add up to 10 monitors with this driver

Enabling up to 10 Monitors

14) Now, toggle the “Enabled” toggle to enable the driver so that the monitors will be enabled.

Enabled Monitors

Settings up ASTER workplaces and autologin

1) Now, go to the “Workplaces” tab in ASTER control and assign a monitor to each of the workplaces.

ASTER Control Panel

Here the monitors labeled as 2.x are monitors from Virtual Display Driver.

2) Click the “Apply” button to save the changes made in ASTER control.

3) Then from “Local Users and Groups” create one user account for each workplace.

Creating Accounts

4) Open “Workplaces” tab on ASTER control and then click the “☰” button next to the workplace name and choose “Edit user login”.

Edit user login

5) Choose the user account to use for the workplace from the “Local account” drop down and enter its password (if set), then click the “OK” button.

Choose the user from the “Local account

6) Repeat the same for all the remaining workplaces and then click the “Apply” button on the ASTER Control.

Apply Button

Setting up Parsec for remote access

1) Next, we need to install the “Parsec” application for remote access to the workplaces.

2) Download and install the “Parsec”. However, during setup choose “Per User” in the “Please choose an installation type” step.

Parsec Setup

3) After installation is done, login to the “Parsec” application with your parsec account for the main workplace.

Login to the “Parsec” with your parsec account

4) Next, log off the admin user and then login to the user account of the workplace.

5) Open the Parsec application and then login to the parsec account.

6) Repeat - step 4 and 5 - for all user accounts.

7) Once done, open ASTER Control and click the “Enable ASTER” button and click the “Yes” button to reboot the computer.

Reboot the Computer

8) Now, once the computer turns on, your workplaces with virtual monitors will start as well and start Parsec ready to connect remotely.

9) On your remote PC, login to Parsec and connect to the workplace you wants.

Author:Date: 28.112.2023.

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