Xming for windows

Xming is the leading X Window Server for Microsoft XP/2008/Windows7. It is fully featured, small and fast, simple to install and because it is standalone native Microsoft Windows, easily made portable (not needing a machine-specific installation).

Xming is a standalone open-source X Server for Windows. Programs that use a graphical user interface require an X server on your home computer. Xming can be downloaded from here . You should download the setup program and optionally the fonts package.

Starting Xming

When you look in the Windows Start Menu you'll find icons for Xming and XLaunch. XLaunch lets you select from the available configuration options and start the Xming server. I don't plan to describe it, since it is really just a launcher for the Xming server and I like the free floating native windows on my Windows desktop.

Verify that the Xming shortcut in the start menu uses the following arguments to the Xming.exe program:

:0 -clipboard -multiwindow

Note that the colon before the zero is intended. This enables the Xming server as screen zero, permits clipboard exchange between X and Windows applications and allows X applications to be free floating windows on the desktop. NB: The screen number really only defines the TCP port the X server will listen on. If the shortcut has these arguments then launch Xming via the shortcut. A X icon will appear in the system notification area (system tray) on the Windows desktop.

Using Xming

Using plink and pageant it is possible to automate the launching of remote applications but I'm going to start with manual launching of X applications via a shell command line.

Start PuTTY on the Windows host and you should see the PuTTY configuration dialog. You use this to setup the shell session you will connect on the Linux host.

In the Session category, type a hostname or IP address for the system you want to connect to (this is the host that will run the X applications).

If you are using a low bandwidth link then you can enable compression in the Connection->SSH category.

In the Connection->SSH->X11 category check the "Enable X11 forwarding" option and set the "X display location" to localhost:0 (if you used a screen number other than zero in the Xming.exe command line then use that number after the localhost:).

If you want to save this configuration to avoid having to repeat these steps every time you use it then switch back to the Session category, type a useful name in the "Saved Sessions" edit box and press the Save button.

Press the Open button to connect to the Linux host.

Enter an appropriate username and password.

At this point you should be at a shell prompt on the remote Linux system. If this was a shell session in a window on the X desktop of that system then you could run X applications by entering a command line and they would display on the X desktop you were running the shell in. Since you have Xming running on the Windows host and a ssh session with X forwarding enabled you can do the same thing. For example, start firefox at the shell prompt in PuTTY: