Installing and Using Xming

Xming is a lightweight X Window System implementation for Microsoft Windows. It includes an X server, multiple X Window applications, and a launcher for both the X server and for several secure shell programs. Xming is based on Cygwin/X, but is compiled to run on Windows with no additional compatibility layer.

In May 2007, Xming became proprietary software. This article deals with Xming, the last public domain version of Xming. This version of Xming is known to work under Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8. The following steps were tested on a 64-bit Windows 7 installation.

Downloading And Installing Xming

The following steps cover downloading and installing Xming

1. Download Xming from the official SourceForge page (

2. Run Xming-6-9-0-31-setup.exe, and click "Next".

3. Choose a directory to install Xming into. The default of "C:\Program Files\Xming" (or "C:\Program Files (x86)\Xming" for 64-bit) is a good default.

4. At the screen titled "Select Components", select "Full Installation" from the drop-down menu (selected by default). This will install the XLaunch utility and PuTTY, the SSH client you will use to connect remotely to ARSC systems.

5. The installer will prompt you for a Start Menu folder to create shortcuts in. Click "Next".

6. At the screen titled "Select Additional Tasks", check "Create a desktop icon for XLaunch" and "Associate XLaunch.exe with the .xlaunch file extension".

7. At the screen titled "Ready to Install", review your installation settings and click "Install". The installer will require only a few seconds to install Xming on your computer.

8. Click "Finish". As it closes, the installer will by default launch the Xming server, which will run in the background.

Running Remote X Window Applications Using Xming

The following steps describe how to connect using Xming to ARSC systems via SSH with X11 forwarding.

1. Open XLaunch, using the icon placed on your desktop by the Xming installer.

2. Select "Multiple Windows" (selected by default), and click "Next".

3. Select "Start a program", and click "Next".

4. Under the "Run Remote" section, select "Using PuTTY". This is the SSH client you installed during setup. In "Connect to computer", enter the name of the ARSC system you are trying to connect to, followed by "". In "Login as user", enter your ARSC username. Click "Next" when you have filled out these fields. An ARSC user with username jsmith trying to connect to an ARSC system named kinetic would enter the following:

(Leave the password field blank for now. PuTTY will ask for this later in a separate dialog window.)

5. At the "Additional parameters" screen, click "Next". By default, your local and remote clipboards will synchronize, allowing you to copy and paste text from a remote X Window application to a file on your local computer.

6. The final XLoader screen will allow you to save your connection settings, if you choose to. If you save your connection settings, you will be able to skip to Step 8 and avoid opening XLaunch directly on future connections by instead opening the created .xlaunch file. Click "Finish".

7. You may receive a popup alert similar to this one. This is a warning displayed the first time your SSH client connects to any computer it has never connected to before, designed to help recognize "man-in-the-middle" attacks. If you have never connected to this remote computer using this PuTTY installation, click "Yes". PuTTY will now remember the remote computer's fingerprint and suppress this message on recognition.

8. Enter the password you use to connect to ARSC systems. You will be prompted for this password at each login, including sessions started by opening .xlaunch files.

9. You should now see an open xterm window, logged into the system you specified. Xming's server was started on demand by XLaunch and should appear with the system icons on the right-hand side of your taskbar. Note that ARSC's warning banner and MOTD do not display when you log in via this method.

10. Before opening any large X Window applications, verify that you can open a small one. Run "xlogo". For information on running programs from a shell prompt, please see Running a Program from the Shell Prompt.

If you see a window containing the X Window System logo (a black X on a white background), your connection has X11 forwarding established correctly.

11. You may now open X Window applications of your choice that are installed on the system to which you are connected.


'When I try to connect, PuTTY opens an alert box that says "Disconnected: No supported authentication methods available".

This message means that authentication by username failed. This is most likely caused by a typo in your username, or because you do not have access to the system to whcih you tried to connect.

I got the "Unknown Host Key" popup from Step 7, followed by another popup saying "Server unexpectedly closed network connection".

This indicates that the server's SSH timeout was triggered. ARSC SSH servers are configured to kill incoming connections that do not send data for a while before finally trying to authenticate. While you were responding to the "Unknown Host Key" popup, the ARSC machine thought you were idle and disconnected you. You should be able to reconnect without problem.

Back to Top