Public Mac Deep Freeze Upgrade

With macOS High Sierra, Apple introduced a new file system creatively named Apple File System (APFS), replacing the old HFS+ file system (also known as Mac OS Extended) from the 90s. Unfortunately, Deep Freeze at the time was incompatible with APFS-formatted volumes, preventing us from upgrading our public Macs beyond macOS Sierra. For those unfamiliar with Faronics Deep Freeze, it is reboot to restore software; in other words, any changes made to a computer do not persist across reboots, thus protecting the machine and reducing administrative time.

Faronics recently released Deep Freeze Mac version 7 with full APFS compatibility, allowing us to upgrade to the recently released macOS Mojave starting with the Science Library’s public iMacs. LTDS plans to upgrade the remaining public Macs this summer.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) in the Libraries

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) in the Libraries


  • What is VDI?

VDI utilizes a desktop computer to run software located on a remote server.  This is the emerging campus standard, it is being implemented as the libraries move to VUIT desktop support for our public computers.

  • Why is the University adopting VDIs?

The goal of the VDI program is to reduce the overall costs of desktops across the University.  As the Library has continued to increase support for digital initiatives, library staff available for desktop support has decreased.  Utilizing the service offered by VUIT allows the public machines to be replaced and maintained on a regular cycle.

  • What are the advantages of using the virtual desktops?

Since the software runs on a server, additional software can be added more quickly.  Changes to the software configuration can also occur more quickly since staff do not need to touch each individual computer.  Some campus libraries require specialized applications on their public workstations, the virtual server environment supports that.  Lastly,  the virtual desktop uses approximately 10% of the power that a physical desktop uses.

  • Will this service be expanded to other staff workstations?

At this time, there are no plans for VUIT to support staff or service desk computers.  VUIT will also not support laptops that are circulated.

  • Why does it take so long to log into the desktop?

The first time a user logs into a machine the must create a new profile.  This will only occur once for a user in each library location.   Initial logins can take as long as 4 minutes.  Subsequent logins in the same library will be much quicker, often under 30 seconds.  If a user goes to a different campus library with a different virtual machine configuration, they will again experience the initial 4-minute profile building login.  Within one library this should be a one-time event.

  • What other initial setup issues will patrons see?
    The first time a user opens an application on a virtual desktop they will see some setup and installation messages for that application. On the very first login, they can expect to see a Pharos installation message.  Once that is accomplished, all printers in that library should be available from within any application, as they were before.


  • Does the user have the ability to customize their ‘virtual desktop’?

The virtual machines will work similar to the deep-frozen machines.  Any data saved will be removed when the user logs off.  Users should save their information to a network drive or a USB drive.


  • Will the workstation timeout?

Yes, the workstation will timeout after 15 minutes of no activity.


  • Should the VDI workstations be turned off at night?

No,  the workstations can remain on.


  • Who do I contact if changes are needed?

Please submit an INFORM as you would in the past.


  • Who do I contact if a problem is encountered?

Please submit an INFORM.  However, you should also report directly to VMDP.  When reporting to either LTDS or VMDP please include the full ID number which is listed just under Vanderbilt Information Technology (CLN-BQNH5J2 in the example below) on the label in the front of the machine.


  • What about the older Mac workstations?

Currently, only the PCs will be replaced.  The discussion to replace the Macs is ongoing but will not move forward until after the PCs are replaced.


  • The CD-ROM stations have not been replaced, will they be upgraded?

The CD-ROM workstations are not in scope for this project.  LTDS is currently planning on replacing these machines.


  • Who do I send comments to about the new system?

Send comments to