Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science



X11 Forwarding

Most EECS Linux systems allow you to run graphical user interfaces while connected via SSH. This is useful, for example, when you want to remotely access Linux software that typically employs a graphical user interface.

Connecting from Linux or Mac

You can enable X11 forwarding when connecting to an EECS Linux system from either a Linux or Mac distribution simply by adding one of the command line flags, -X or -Y, to your SSH command. See the SSH man pages for Linux or Mac for more details.
 

Connecting from Windows

Assuming you are connecting to an EECS Linux machine from Windows via the SSH client PuTTY, you can use the following steps to enable X11 forwarding.

  1. Download and install Xming. You should first install Xming-mesa and then Xming-fonts.
  2. Launch Xming. You should see the Xming icon in the notification area of your Task Bar.
  3. Open PuTTY. In the category Connection + SSH + X11, make sure the option Enable X11 forwarding is checked as in the figure below.

    xming_1_putty_settings.png
  4. Continue establishing a session to the EECS Linux system. You may want to save the PuTTY session settings under the category Session.
  5. When connected to the EECS Linux system, open the desired software via the command line. If the software requires a GUI, Xming should automatically create the necessary windows. The next figure shows an X11-enabled SSH connection to a lab machine that is running MATLAB. Note that the task bar icon for MATLAB is the Xming icon.

    xming_2_run.png
  6. When you disconnect from all X11-enabled SSH sessions, Xming will still be running in the background. You can close Xming by right-clicking its icon in the notification area of the task bar and selecting Exit.

    xming_3_close.png 

 

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