Home > Linux / Unix, Software, Tutorial > Howto Easily run an Xserver under Windows

Howto Easily run an Xserver under Windows

Sometimes, you need to connect from Windows to a Unix or Linux system just to run a specific software. For example, if you want to run some Linux open source program under windows and you have a Linux machine in your network or accessible from the Internet, there is an easy way to do it: Xming.

The installation is pretty forward. Once installed, the easiest way to use is to run it straight away. You have an X icon on your windows desktop, run it.

Then you need a remote terminal connection software, the best open source is Putty. t is an executable, just download it and lunch it. Depending from the remote terminal service that is running on your server, configure Putty to use it. I suggest OpenSSH. You have also to configure the X11 Forwarding setting in Putty to forward the X session to your windows machine IP address. Done.

  1. Get Putty and Xming. Note, both of these applications are “portable” and can be copied to a thumbdrive and run on any machine you may have access to.
  2. Launch Xming and select the style you wish to display the X server output.
    Hint:
    Select Multiple Windows and your X applications will look like they were launched from Windows. Leave Display number set to 0
  3. Click Next. Select Start No Client and click Next.
  4. On Server Options, check the box title Disable Server Control. Leaving the box unchecked can give you an “unspecified protocol error” later down the road.
  5. Click Next and save your configuration. This will create a quick way to launch Xming later.
  6. Once you see the X in the systray you can launch Putty. Enter the address of the machine you are trying to connect to. Be sure to select SSH as the protocol.
  7. Now connect. With luck you will be asked to log in. Enter your credentials.
  8. Now to actually forward the ports. There is an option in Putty for this but it never seems to work for me.. so I type:
    DISPLAY=your.windows.ip.address:0.0
    export DISPLAY
  9. Done.

To test it, type:

xclock &

and the analog clock should be appear. Try

mozilla-firefox &

and your web browser should appear. Looking for your email? Try

evolution &

When you’re done, type exit in Putty and it all goes away!

You won’t be able to see your desktop, so you’ll have to know the names of the apps you want to run. To see the desktop requires XDMCP, which is easy to set up but is NOT secure.

  1. Steve
    August 16, 2008 at 5:12 am

    Xming is now hosted @ sourceforge- http://sourceforge.net/projects/xming

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