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Student Quick Start Guide


This article will detail the steps needed for students to join a course, start/stop a Virtual machine, and connect to a Virtual Machine in their web browser.

Joining a Course


If your instructor is utilizing the User Direct Pay feature, the sign-up process may differ slightly. Please see our article titled Student User Pay Guide if your course requires payment.

To login to the U.S. Cyber Range for the first time, you must sign up using either an invitation link sent to your email or an invitation code provided by your instructor. Please refer to the article titled How To Join A Course for further details on logging into the Cyber Range for the first time. For subsequent access to your Cyber Range resources, please follow the steps below.

Logging into the Range

  1. Navigate to and click on "Login". The Login Button is found to the right of the Sign Up button in the top-right section of the homepage.

  2. Select the OpenID provider of your choice from the list provided. When prompted, enter your credentials for that provider. These credentials will be used to associate you with your U.S. Cyber Range account, so you should always use the same OpenID provider and login credentials when accessing the U.S. Cyber Range. The authentication providers are positioned in the order: Google, Azure AD.

Selecting Your Course

Once you have successfully logged in, you will see the course/exercise area page, and you will be able to select the course and exercise that you would like to enter. This page will only list courses that you are currently enrolled in.

Courses are listed under the "Courses" section of the page.

When you select a course, you will see a list of exercise environments currently available for that course on the next screen.

Selecting Your Exercise

Click the tile corresponding to the exercise environment that you would like to enter.

Exercises are listed under the "Exercise Environments" section of the page.

Start Your Exercise Virtual Machine(s)

If the required resources for the exercise you plan to complete are not ready, you will see the Start button on the panel for that exercise environment.

Click the Start button to begin provisioning the required resources for your exercise. It usually takes 20 to 30 seconds to prepare these resources.

The Start Button is located below the Details Availability and Accessibility section of the page.

Connecting to Your Exercise Virtual Machine(s)

Once the resources are ready, you will see the Join and the Stop buttons. Click Join to connect to your newly provisioned virtual machine. A new tab will open in your browser showing the virtual desktop of your cloud-based virtual machine.

The Join button is located below the Details Availability and Accessibility section of the page and to the left of the stop button.

Fixing Popup Blockers

If your virtual machine does not open in a new browser tab, check your browser’s pop-up blocker and set it to allow pop-ups from The example here shows how to allow pop-ups for the Chrome browser.

Steps for disabling pop-up blocker. Select the pop-up blocker icon in URL bar, select Always allow pop-ups and redirects, select Done.

Logging in to Your Virtual Machine

Many of our newer virtual machines do not require a username or password, and utilize auto-login to access the environment. However, in some of our older environments, a username and password, which should be provided by your instructor, may be required to login. The environment description will tell whether a username/password is required. Below is an example of a graphical login screen for a Cyber Range Linux virtual machine, though your login screen might look different.

A pop-up to login to kali is displayed. There is a session field with the username and password field underneath it. At the bottom of the pop-up box are an OK and a Cancel button.

Stopping Virtual Machine(s) Once Finished

When you are finished, close the browser tab containing your virtual desktop. On the exercise page from which you joined the exercise, click the Stop button to power down your virtual environment and conserve Cyber Range resources. Saved data will remain persistent on the VM and will be available if you decide to return to the exercise environment later, restart the virtual machine, and log in again.


To ensure optimal use of Cyber Range resources, approximately 15 minutes after a user ends their session (for example, by closing the browser window that is displaying their exercise environment desktop) or after 6 hours of use, an exercise environment will save any progress made and automatically stop. If this happens during a user’s active session, they can simply restart the environment. This is designed to keep resources up-to-date while providing the best possible learning experience.

The stop button is to the right of the play button.

Have a Question? Contact Support


Students: Please reach out to your Instructor who can submit a ticket to our Support Team on your behalf.

We're here to help you. If you still have questions after reviewing the information above, please feel free to submit a ticket with our Support Team and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.