Version 3.1x Free Linux Cloud Desktop FAQ
Free Cloud Desktop version 3.1 includes:
- Admin Access! That’s right you can issue sudo now (by far, the most requested new feature)
- Improved Performance (1 Gigabyte of Memory and 64 bit)
- Includes your own personal Sub Domain (You.DesktopAnywhere.com) to make access a breeze
- Install lots of Free Software from the Ubuntu Software Center and Mate Welcome
- Access your Free Cloud Desktop from just about any Windows, Apple, Android, Linux/Unix device
Frequently Asked Questions and Help
This FAQ is written to help users getting the most from your Free Cloud Desktop is about how you use it.
We built this Linux free cloud desktop to work in harmony with your all your desktops, devices and data. Most Service Providers want to take over ALL your stuff and have you discard all the other tools you have in favor of their stuff. Vendors like that try to “own” you or maybe they are really not thinking about your best interests at all.
Desktop Anywhere is different. We just want to provide you the best Free Cloud Desktop we can and let you use it your way with your stuff.
We believe that the proper perspective for technology is that You are the center of all things. You, not a piece of hardware, software, vendor or even your data. We see the Cloud Desktop approach working best by simply adding another tool to your existing technical toolbox. We don’t want to take away or replace anything you like . We want your Free Cloud Desktop to work with you and for you, not against you.
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your Free Cloud Desktop Experience. If you have any suggestions or comments on how to improve the Desktop Anywhere Free Cloud Desktop, please Contact Us.
The Free Cloud Desktop is based on Open Source Components that were developed by a lot of very smart and dedicated people. The list is almost endless Apache, AWS, Gnome, Ubuntu, Linux, LibreOffice, WordPress, xRDP, etc. We all owe those often Unsung Giants we are standing on the shoulders of that because of their collective brilliance. Because of them, using our Linux Free Cloud Desktop is really easy. Nice to have all the folks working so hard simply to help you have fun and get work done isn’t it?
Make sure to check out the Free Cloud Desktop Maintenance Page to keep your software updated and running smoothly and safely.
Once you have setup your Free Cloud Desktop, you should change the password you were given to a strong and secure one that you can remember. There is no way to recover your Desktop Password. You can always just terminate your instance and spin up a new one though. And, we are working on that.
Your Free Cloud Desktop is accessible to anyone (like your email) via a web address. We recommend increasing your security by strength of Password. Using good password security is a great way to protect your Desktop. Here is a page with some guidance on strong passwords:
To change your Password.
- Log in to Your Free Cloud Desktop
- From the Menu select System/Preferences/Personal/About Me
- Click on the Change Password button. (we recommend you change it this way rather than the command prompt for sync reasons)
- Enter the password you were given in the email in the field next to Current password and Click Authenticate
- It should say Authenticated near the bottom of the sub panel
- Then enter your new password in the New password and Retype New Password fields, then click Change Password
- The screen will display “Your password has been changed” when you are successful.
- Then click the Close button(s) to exit.
- It is a good idea to Reboot/Restart to sync with the Cloud Desktop with Cloud Services
For your protection there is a 5 strikes and you are out policy on the desktop for security reasons. If you type your password incorrectly 5 times in a row, the ID is locked for five minutes. As your Free Cloud Desktop is virutalized hardware (Cloud Services), there can be some issues with the sync of the password. You can always restart or reboot the instance if you have problems. For example, the “Software Updater” sometimes seems to have an issue once you change your password on the dauser ID from the Mate Desktop. The message “To update the software catalog” “you need to authenticate” and “Account locked due to” “failed logins” often appears when you haven’t typed your password at all. The easy solution to this is to wait the 5 minutes until the login is unlocked, which also seems to work to clear the issue. Restarting from the AWS Console can also help.
One of the great benefits of Cloud Computing is that your can get to your stuff from anywhere. A lot of users install DropBox or a similar Cloud Storage Service for Free. You can also use whatever cloud solution if you prefer. By storing your data in the cloud and linking it to your Free Cloud Desktop and other devices you can use the most convenient device available. A great way to compute. Be mindful of the settings of any cloud storage and how it affects your AWS Free Tier usage as your transfer of data outside the AWS Cloud is limited. Storage of your data off the desktop also mitigates any issues you have with access to your desktop should you forget your password or have other issues.
People are rightfully very concerned about security. Your Cloud Desktop uses a Linux OS, one of the most secure platforms in the world and AWS, the premiere Cloud Services vendor. To make your desktop as secure as possible, we allow a certain number of incorrect attempts at entering the password before locking the desktop from access for a short time. Only access your Cloud Desktop from devices you trust and log out cleanly from the desktop using the System/Logout from the menu, for example . You can always use a pem key or identify a specific IP address for RDP while spinning up the instance, install some other security software and we are looking at some add on two step verification options. Security is on you and you should be mindful of what you are using, how you are using it and what is happening with your instance. We have no visibility nor responsibility for your instances.
Our Desktop Anywhere Technology is designed with Privacy in mind. That means that your surfing and activities are as private as practical and with admin access, you can change variables and configurations to suit your requirements and skills. It should be noted that no matter what device you use, including your desktop at home, there are programs and physical devices that enable simple technologies that can capture keyboard strokes, screen images, network activity, sometimes used nefariously, that are all too common. Just remember if the most well funded and largest organizations in the world have been breached, and they have, one must be very diligent, especially about what one puts on a networked computer in the first place.
Rebooting any digital device often brings it back to a normal state when you are having issues. The hardware used for the Free Linux Cloud Desktop from Desktop Anywhere is a Virtual Device and rebooting the device is a good idea to refresh the instance, free up the CPU or memory, resolve any odd quirks, etc. Due to the complexity of virtualization of hardware and the Free Cloud Desktop you sometimes must reboot the instance from the AWS Console (see below). Restarting from the command line and desktop works great most of the time, but a Reboot (and sometimes Shutting Down/Restarting) from the AWS Console resolves many issues. There are a few specifics to remember about rebooting:
- It is a good ideas to do it from time to time, when you install new software or when you are having problems or performance issues
- When you do want to reboot via the AWS Management Console simply Right Mouse Select the Instance, select Instance State and select Action of Reboot
- Occasionally, or when you are having inexplicable issues, completely Shutting Down the Instance and then Restarting is needed and not a bad idea to do occasionally anyway. To Shutdown/Restart from the AWS Management Console simply Right Mouse Select the Instance, select Instance State and select Stop. When the instance shows fully Stopped. Select the instance and Instance State and then Restart. Note: While a Restart or Reboot (from the AWS Console) maintains the same IP Address, if you Shutdown and then re-Start from the AWS console, your Public DNS/IP Address will change.
Your Virtual Desktop best practice is Green Computing. Most printing of documents today is more of a bad habit and practice than a need. The great thing about the Cloud is that it is everywhere you need it, anytime you want it. And almost everywhere there is a device to connect to it. More and more you can see, save and send information everywhere you are. Currently, you cannot print directly from the Cloud Desktop. You can use Copy/Paste to Clipboard or use other means to print if you need to. If someone figures this out before we do, please let us know.
We recommend you use simple Internet email if you have it via your favorite browser. That said, do what you want, but exercise care to balance your requirements with your skill level and don’t abuse it.
There are Menus on the Title Bar of the Desktop. You can access programs from the Panel or Desktop Shortcuts as well.
Moving your Bookmarks into the Cloud is a great way to increase efficiency. One of the great things about the Cloud Desktop Model is that you can use a your secure and encrypted Free Cloud Desktop on any machine and keep your information to yourself. You can use the Sync Tool for your favorite browser to make bookmarks (and other web surfing related data) available on all your desktops including your Desktop Anywhere Free Cloud Desktop. However, most browsers are so stuffed with unneeded functionality that syncing actively may slow down your desktop. In addition to the Browser specific Sync Tools (Firefox, Chrome, etc.) there are generic services like xMarks that also will work well.
Here are some common errors and resolutions we know of. Using the DesktopAnywhere.com Search Field with the Error Message Text or Number is usually a good start. Most known errors you can find below. We add these as people report them. We want to make sure everyone has a successful and productive experience. Please report any issues you are having that you cannot find resolution for with as much detail and screen shots as you can.
While occasional errors may appear during initial setup and after you have run successfully, the resolution for the errors might be quite different. If you have not completed a successful access of your cloud desktop, see the Troubleshooting Setup section.
If you have already successfully logged on to your cloud desktop successfully, the desktop tends to run error free unless you do something that conflicts (5 strikes – 5 Minutes Password Policy, wrong IP address, firewall issue, different machine, etc.) or your AWS instance may need to be rebooted from the AWS Console (which is a great idea to do at least weekly). Rebooting from the AWS console is often the best first step towards an error free experience (Rebooting and Restarting)
There are a few possibilities here and we listed the most common error messages we know of and posted at least some of the resolutions possible. The best advice we can give you is to try to establish where you are.
- Can you try another device to connect to isolate the issue? Is your Internet connection working?
- Have you logged on before on this machine?
- Have you checked your AWS account to make sure the IP matches what you are using?
Remember, restarting applications, and services closing and opening the browser and rebooting solves about 80% of odd computer issues in general. Often worth a quick try at some point when you are having issues with a computer.
Restarting, using a different physical machine, rebooting your instance or your machine, checking again what you are actually doing vs. what you are trying to do is mostly a good place to start with debugging and issue.
Most times something in the above gives you enough to resolve issues. Remember though, the Free Cloud Desktop is in essence recyclable. After making sure you have you info off the old desktop (data, what programs were on there, etc.), you can simply terminate your instance and launch a fresh one.
Question: What is Amazon Web Service (AWS) Free Tier Service and why do I have to give them a credit card?
Answer: Amazon allows limited monthly use for eligible accounts, else they will charge your Credit Card. You can check here for more information on AWS.
Question: If AWS is providing the cloud service, why keep the my.DesktopAnywhere.com User Profile up to date and use it after I launched my Free Cloud Desktop?
Answer: If you want an easy way to remember your address, you can enter the ec2 version of the Cloud Desktop Address when you start the instance and use you.DesktopAnywhere.com where you is your DesktopAnywhere.com User Name. Plus we would like to keep you advised of updates we have from time to time.
The way the Free Cloud Desktop works on the AWS Free Tier is that there is an Internet Address that is assigned every time the instance is started (not rebooted). That IP Address and ec2 address are long text string that can be hard to remember. You can use and Elastic IP from AWS but you have to be careful not to forget to release or re-associate to a new or restarted instance as idle elastic IP addresses result in charges. The DesktopAnywhere User Profile sub domain solution allows you to store that string to make access as easy as remembering as remembering your User Name and adding “.desktopanywhere.com” to it. There are a variety of other options you can use to help you with ease of access.
Also, to receive updates and other info, you have to be in the database. Anyone is welcome to add their AWS account number, launch the instance and ask to be “unsubscribed” and/or have your ID removed. Not sure that would be a great idea if you are going to continue to use the Free Cloud Desktop, but we have no way to prevent that even if we wanted to.
Let us know what you think and how things are going. Thanks for using the Free Cloud Desktop from www.DesktopAnywhere.com!
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If you have any suggestions, issues, or other needs Contact Us.