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Running X Applications via SSH and VcXsrv, Cygwin or Xming in Windows

Before you begin: When using a computer off-campus, you may first need to connect to Purdue's Virtual Private Network. Remember, Purdue Login 2FA (formerly BoilerKey) is REQUIRED to access this service.


To run X applications in Windows, please follow these steps:

  1. Start the X server program: VcXsrv, Cygwin or XMing (If you do not have any installed, you can download VcXsrv at; Cygwin/X at, or XMing at  if your computer is self-supported or personally-owned)
  2. For VcXsrv, download and run the installer.
  3. For Cygwin, a bash shell window will open.  DO NOT USE THIS WINDOW!  Also, a black 'X' will appear in the toolbar in the lower-right corner of the taskbar.  That indicates that Cygwin-X is running.
  4. For XMing, click on the Xming icon in the start menu to start Xming.
  5. Use SecureCRT to connect to the server where you will be running the software. (SecureCRT is pre-installed on ECN-supported Windows PCs. If you are using a "self-supported" or personally-owned computer, you may download SecureCRT.)
  6. Make sure that SecureCRT has X11 packet forwarding set. You can do that in SecureCRT by clicking:  Options->Sessions Options, then expanding the menus Connection->Port Forwarding->Remote/X11, and checking the Forward X11 packets box.  You should only need to set this once, if you save your settings after setting X11 forwarding (Options->Save Settings Now). See Fig 1.
  7. After entering your login and password, run the X application from the SecureCRT window.

If you have any problems with starting the X application, try running a different X application in order to confirm that the X-server and SecureCRT are working.  You can try running xclock (/usr/bin/xclock) to see if it works.  Also, make sure that SecureCRT has X11 forwarding turned on.  


Last Modified: Jun 26, 2023 10:05 am GMT-4
Created: Apr 8, 2008 2:03 pm GMT-4 by admin