Cygwin-X11 with SSH setup

Cygwin-X11 with SSH setup

1. Download the Cygwin installer and save it locally.

2. Run the setup .exe


3. Choose “Install from Internet” and click Next (Cygwin Installation requires internet access to download files.)



  • “Root Directory” – Cygwin installation directory (default is c:\cygwin)
  • “Install For” – install for all users or just the current user (default All Users)
  • “Default Text File Type” – default Unix / Binary


5. “Local Package Directory” – directory for all installation files (default c:\cygsetup)


6. Select your internet connection type. Direct Connection works most times, otherwise choose IE5 Settings. If you require a HTTP / FTP proxy, enter them here.


7. Choose a download site.


8. Package selection – Choose the packages you need. Cygwin has already pre-chosen some default packages but the X11 packages are not selected by default.


  • Click on [+] X11 to open the submenu
  • Find the xorg-server and xinit packages and click the Skip symbol. It should change to Keep and will display some version information under the “Current” tab. It also automatically chooses other required packages needed as part of the X11 base package
  • Click Next and the next screen will download all packages to c:\cygsetup and install each.

9. The installation should create a Cygwin icon in the Start -> All Program -> Cygwin and on the desktop.

10. Run Cygwin. After the terminal window is displayed, the unix command prompt appears. Run the command: X -multiwindow

11. This starts the X11 Windows server in multi window mode. The X11 windows server is now waiting to display any incoming X11 window applications from the remote host. You should see bluecross in the system tray – bottom right corner of the screen.

12. Now start Putty (available here). Inside [-] Session category:

  • Host Name (or IP address): (the remote host you are connecting to)
  • Port: 22
  • Protocol: SSH


In the [-]Connection, [-]SSH category, select “Enable Compression” check box


Under [-]SSH, X11 category:

  • Select “Enable X11 forwarding” check box
  • “X display location” type: localhost:0


Click the Open button to connect to the remote host. Log in using your ICSID. Run the X11 application (ie. tkisem) and Cygwin-X11 server will detect the incoming X11 application request and automatically open a X11 display window.

Firewall users: Unblock incoming connection to your X-Windows program. Before randomly accepting a connection, make sure the incoming IP address is from the correct host, in this case –

Cygwin MUST be started first and an X11 display server running before connecting to the remote application. You should see the X11 logo in your systray on the bottom right corner bluecross

Run the command “X –help” to find other commands and setting you can experiment with.

If you have trouble, contact ScienceIT

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