How do I set up X11 forwarding?

X11 (also known as X Windows, or X for short) is a Linux graphical windowing system. X was specifically designed to be used over network connections rather than on an attached display device. The concept is similar to Microsoft's Remote Desktop, but it works on a program-by-program basis.

The instructions below are for connecting to Eniac using X11 forwarding.


SSH to Eniac using the -Y option (enables trusted X11 forwarding):

ssh -Y


X11 on OS X is provided by XQuartz. Once you have it installed and running, open a terminal and type:

ssh -Y


Xming is the recommended application for X11 forwarding on Windows systems.
You may also need to install Xming-fonts in some application like Cadence.

Using Xming and SecureCRT to connect to Eniac

If you are already using SecureCRT, this is the easiest way to do X11 forwarding with Xming.

  1. Install Xming and make sure it is running (you should see a black X icon in your taskbar).
  2. In SecureCRT, edit the settings of your connection.
  3. Navigate to Connection > Port Forwarding > Remote/X11.
  4. Click the check beside "Foward X11 packets". Click OK.

That's it. As long as Xming is running in the background, X11 forwarding should work seamlessly.

Using Xming and XLaunch to connect to Eniac

  1. Once Xming is installed, run XLaunch and select the display setting you want to use:

    Xming Display Settings 

  2. From the next menu choose to Start a program and click Next >.

    Xming Session Type

  3. Configure a remote connection to the server using "" as the computer you want to connect to, and your username in the "Login as user" field. You can choose to leave the password field blank - you will be prompted later. Click Next >.

    Xming Start Program

  4. In the "Additional parameters for PuTTY or SSH" field, enter "-X -ssh -2" ((-X) will forward X11 Packets , (-ssh) will force plink.exe to create a secure connection and (-2) will force plink.exe to use SSH2. Click Next >.

    Xming Additional Parameters

  5. And finally you will be prompted to save your configuration. When you save confgurations the default name is config.xlaunch.  You can name them whatever you want to but the extension will need to be .xlaunch. For example:  Eniac.xlaunch. Once you've saved your configuration, click Finish.

    Xming Finish Configuration
© Computing and Educational Technology Services