how to
How to setup remote access and control of a linux webserver from a windows PC.

December 23 , 2008


This "how to" will show what settings and applications to set up on a windows PC to allow easy access and remote control of a linux server. That is, it will allow the display of gui windows from the remote server, onto the windows desktop.

This howto assumes you have the following setup:

  on the remote webserver: Fedora 8, linux

  (this also worked for: Fedora 15)

  on the local windows PC: windows XP

  an internet connection between the two above machines

  installed these two windows applications, on the local PC:    Xming, and putty.

And, we will assume the following to be the dummy IP address of the remote linux server for the rest of the article: (replace this with your own IP address)

  remote webserver IP: 55.444.444.55


On a fresh install of a new linux server the value of DISPLAY may not be set, so the response from:

> echo $DISPLAY

may be nothing, in which case the gtk libraries also need to be installed. This can be done by:

> yum update

> yum install gtk*

After this completes, the value of DISPLAY could read as follows:

> echo $DISPLAY


At which point the server should be ready to display to a remote screen.


The first step on the PC is to install Xming. This allows for X-windows to be displayed on the local windows desktop.

Xming's command line executable and options should look like the following:

  "C:\Programs Files\Xming\Xming.exe" :0 -clipboard -multiwindow

":0" is the viewport number, "-clipboard" allows for cutting and pasting.

Next, install an ssh client, like putty.

Start up the putty program. In this application, the left column displays links, or categories, to the various settings panels that appear on the right. First click on the category labeled "Session".

In this first panel "Basic options for your Putty session", enter the IP address of the remote server, and set the port to 22:

 Host Name (or IP address)  Port
 55.444.444.55  22

Set the connection type to SSH.

Enter a name for the session in the Saved Sessions entry box, to more easily remember this setup for later reference.

Hit Save, to save these settings.

Next switch to the following category:

    Connection  >>  SSH  >>  X11

In this panel: enable X11 forwarding, and set the X display location to localhost:0

check mark enable X11 forwarding  
  X display location   localhost:0


Moving back to the "Session" panel, hit "Save" to save the current settings for next time.

Hit "Open" to start the session.

Log into the remote server using your given username and password (these will have to have been previously setup by you, or by the system administrator of the remote server).

Finally, on the command line of the remote server enter a command that will open a gui. For example, if yumex is installed, enter the command:

  > yumex &

This, after a minute or so, should open the yum gui window onto the local PC's desktop.

If yumex is not installed, then remotely log into the server via telnet, become root, and then enter the command:

  > yum -y install yumex

Or try any of these other fedora gui commands (all of these will require root access):

  > system-config-httpd &

  > system-config-services &

The above should be enough to be able to open a gui window from a remote linux box, onto a windows PC. There is no need to modify router settings or display settings on the remote server.


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