Connect remote client to Windows workstation

Being a Linux administrator usually means having many remote servers at care. The best tool to do the job is SSH and your favorite shell launched remotely (mine is good-ol’ Bash). If you want to establish a secure connection then it advised to use the Windows 7 VPN client.

Steps to connect a remote client to Windows workstation over SSH

Problems arise when the only thing you have (or are allowed to have) at hand locally is a Windows workstation. Put this problem has a good solution already – PuTTY.

But what if the application you need is an X client? You need to launch it remotely and display its windows on some X11 screen. Unfortunately Windows does not provide one.

You need to install a separate X11 server on your windows workstation. The best free one is Xming.
Get it, install and run “Xming” app. You should see the X icon in taskbar. You’re now half way there.

Next, launch PuTTY and enable X11 forwarding on your Connection -> SSH -> X11 pane. Check “Enable X11 forwarding” and enter at “X display location”.

Login to the remote server account and check whether X11 forwarding is working. Issue command: echo $DISPLAY. You should get something like: localhost:10.0. You’re done.

But if you did get nothing, you’re not completely out of luck. Most probable reason is that X11 forwarding is disabled on your remote host. Check /etc/ssh/sshd_config “X11Forwarding” directive. If it is set to “no” or unset, just set it to “yes” (or ask the system administrator to set it). While you are there it’s worth setting “X11DisplayOffset 10″ too there, to avoid clashing local X servers on the machine.