How to configure Putty & Xming (on your laptop)

Why do you need to use Putty & Xming?

  • Putty is terminal emulation software.

    • Use it when you log into a Linux server from a Windows computer.

  • You can use be using Putty alone or with XMing

    • You need Xming to display graphics such as an image from the remote Linux server.

  • Putty and Xming are easy to set up on your laptop.

    • The alternative is to use Linux on your laptop, either in dual boot mode or in a virtual setup.

    • If you have a Mac you can use the terminal application.

  • If you are off-campus, you need to use UCI's VPN Service in order to access Linux servers located on-campus.

    • First login to campus VPN, then login to your Linux Server.

What is Putty?

PuTTY is a client-side terminal emulator software for the SSH network protocol.

These protocols are all used to run a remote session on a computer, over a network. PuTTY implements the client end of that session: the end at which the session is displayed, rather than the end at which it runs.

In really simple terms: you run PuTTY on a Windows machine, and tell it to connect to (for example) a Unix machine. PuTTY opens a window. Then, anything you type into that window is sent straight to the Unix machine, and everything the Unix machine sends back is displayed in the window. So you can work on the Unix machine as if you were sitting at its console, while actually sitting somewhere else.

What is XMing?

XMing is a free X window server for Microsoft Windows. It allows one to use Linux graphical applications remotely. A detailed description may be found at the software’s home page.

Installation & Configuration of Xming

Prerequisite: If you are trying to connect to on-campus Linux servers while you are off-campus, then you'll need to download & install campus VPN software.

  • UCI's VPN Service

    • Use the option for UCI or UCI Full.

    • Use your UCINetID to login.

1) Download & install XMing


  • *Note: if the download link asks for username/password then download a free version by searching “Xming download” in Google and choosing the sourceforge download website

  • I prefer to install it to a location with no space in it's path, such as C:\Apps

3) Download & install XMing Fonts


4) Configure XMing

  • Click on XLaunch.exe in your install directory:

5) Select Mulitple Windows and type the number 0 for Display number. Click Next.

6) Select Start no client then click Next.

7) Click Next. Do not change anything.

8) Click on Save Configuration.

9) Save configuration to the same directory as config.xlaunch.

10) Configure XMing to start at login (Optional step).

  • If you want XMing to start automatically when you login then do this:

  • Put a shortcut to the config.xlaunch file in All Users startup directory:

    • Windows 7:

    • C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

*Note: ProgramData may be a hidden folder and may not be listed under C:\

    • if this is the case go to the Start Menu search bar and type:

      • C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\StartMenu\Programs\Startup

      • Press “Enter.”

    • The proper folder should open up.

    • Copy over to this location a shortcut to config.xlaunch.

Installation & Configuration of Putty

1) Download Putty

  • Go to:

  • Save putty.exe to C:\Apps

  • Make a shortcut to it and place the shortcut on your desktop

  • I install Putty Portable in the computer labs so that password are not saved.


2) Configure Putty by following the steps below:

  • Open putty.exe. This is what you will see:

3) In the box under Saved Sessions type (or name of your Linux server).

  • Then click on the Save button to the right.

4) Click on the saved session that you just created. Then click on the button Load.

5) Configure X11 Forwarding.

  • On the left hand side, find the X11 configuration category by double-clicking on SSH and then clicking on X11.

  • In this window, make sure the box label Enable X11 forwarding is checked.

  • Make sure MIT-Magic-Cookie-1 is selected.

  • Once complete, click Open at the bottom of the window.

6) Login

  • You will now see a command line screen that will prompt you to enter your username.

  • Log in with your UCI username.

7) Enter a password.

  • Your password will be the same password used to log in to your UCI student account.

    • You will quickly notice as you type your password, no characters appear on the screen.

    • This is completely normal

  • Once you are finished typing your password, press Enter.

8) Verify items in your path

  • Once successfully logged in, enter the commands:

which firefox

which xclock

  • You should see:



  • If you don’t receive an error message (see below) then you know they are in your path and can be called.

Test Putty and Xming

1) To run a final test to see if you have successfully installed Putty with XMing

  • Enter the command


  • After several seconds a new window should appear depicting a small analog clock.

    • This is what you should see;

2) If you want, you can also enter the command


  • which would open up a Firefox web browser in a new window.

  • (Note: testing the command ‘firefox’ will take a little longer for the firefox web browser to appear than testing ‘xclock’)

Congratulations! You have successfully installed Putty with XMing!

You Tube - X11 Forwarding using Putty on Windows