How To Display X Applications On Windows
In order to display an X application running on a Unix/Linux box on your Windows workstation, you need to do two things:
- when you connect to the Unix/Linux box with ssh, you must do so with the 'tunnel X11 connections' option turned on; and
- you must run an X server on your Windows workstation with appropriate permissions.
Below, you will find instructions on how to use X-Win32 as your X server for Windows. The demo of the latest version of X-Win32 is limited to only 30 minutes of operation at a time, at which point you must restart it and your ssh connection. X-Win32 is probably the most intuitive of the X servers available for Windows, but others do exist (see Notes, below). Instructions for these other X-servers is not provided.
Note that the terminology may be confusing: the "X server" (such as X-Win32) runs on your workstation, and the "X client" (the program you want to run, such as xclock) runs on the remote machine. Just remember that the X server is providing input and display services for the X client programs.
X-Win32 and SSH
Install and Configure X-Win32
- Install X-Win32: Download X-Win32 and install it. ECE has a site license for research use on certain subnets. Without the license, X-Win32 will run for a maximum of 30 minutes at a time in demo mode; you will need to purchase the product if you find this limit unacceptable.
- Configure X-Win32: Launch X-Config (Start Menu | Programs | X-Win32 5.4 | X-Config) and select the Security tab. Add 127.0.0.1 to the xhost list as shown in this image.
Download and Configure SSH
You may use either the commercial SSH Secure Shell client or PuTTY, as described in How To Use SSH.
- To configure SSH Secure Shell: Launch the Secure Shell Client (Start Menu | Programs | SSH Secure Shell | Secure Shell Client) and open the settings dialog box (Edit | Settings). Select Tunneling and enable "Tunnel X11 connections" as shown in this image:
- To configure PuTTY: Launch PuTTY. In the initial dialog box, under Connection | SSH | X11, select "Enable X11 forwarding":
- Launch X-Win32.
- Launch the SSH client (SSH Secure Shell or PuTTY) and connect to the Unix/Linux server of your choice.
- In the SSH Secure Shell, enter an X command to launch the X application. (e.g.: type xterm & to launch an xterm)
- Another, cheaper X-Server for Windows is MI/X.
- Cygwin, a free unix-like environment for Windows, includes the free Cygwin/X X server.
- Consider using Linux or Mac OS X instead of Windows. (The Mac OS X installation disc includes an X server, but it is not installed by default.)