Using UNIX from a Windows Computer

To use UNIX from a Microsoft Windows computer requires some effort. The two main approaches include

Both of these approaches require you to install software on your Windows computer.

Logging into an UNIX server

The standard protocol for logging into a modern UNIX server is through using a Secure SHell (SSH) client. A free SSH client available for MS Windows computers is PuTTY

To install and use PuTTY:

For additional information on using PuTTY, see the Online User Manual.

Enabling X11-Forwarding (Popping up windows from the UNIX server)

In order to pop up windows from the UNIX/Linux server on your Windows computer, you will also need an X11 server running on your computer. Two of the most popular X11 servers for Windows are Xming and XWin32 (not free). I would recommend Xming.

To install and use Xming

Transferring files to/from a UNIX server

The current standard protocol for transferring files to and from a UNIX server is through using a ssh-enabled ftp client (SFTP). Two free SFTP clients available for MS Windows computers are FileZilla and WinSCP.

FileZilla

To install FileZilla:

To use FileZilla, fill in the fields for the host (e.g. titan.smu.edu), your username on that host (e.g. reynolds), your password, and the port (use 22 for SFTP), and hit [return]. You should notice two file browser windows open up, the browser on the left is on your computer, the browser on the right is from the UNIX host (e.g. titan). Transfer files by dragging them from one computer to the other with your mouse.

WinSCP

To install WinSCP:

To use WinSCP, fill in the fields for the host name (e.g. titan.smu.edu), your username on that host (e.g. reynolds), your password, and hit [return]. You should notice two file browser windows open up, the one on the left is on your computer, and the one on the right is from the UNIX host (e.g. titan). Transfer files by dragging them from one computer to the other with your mouse.

Installing and Using a Linux/UNIX emulator

The most popular (and free) Linux/UNIX emulator to run from within Windows is Cygwin. I would recommend the slightly more advanced subset, Cygwin/X, since we are planning to pop up windows from remote servers on our Windows computer.

To install Cygwin/X

To use Cygwin/X

D.R. Reynolds, 20 January 2009