Remote Access Using Windows

Remote Logins

PuTTY is a full-featured, SSH v1.x, v2.x compliant client for Windows. PuTTY is considered by many as the best free, SSH-compliant client for Windows. You can get PuTTY as well as PSCP (a tool for encrypted remote file transfer) at:

http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html

Configuration

Note, the illustrations below use the hostname hydra.tamu.edu but please use the hostname eos.tamu.edu until the illustrations are updated.

The following tutorial is based on the Putty 0.60 binaries. Different releases may have slight differences in the graphical interfaces, command line interfaces, etc...

  1. After installing PuTTY, click on the PuTTY icon to get a window similar to the following:

    PuTTY main window
  2. Select SSH for the protocol and enter the host name of the remote machine you want to connect to. In this case, we are attempting to connect to "eos.tamu.edu" at the TAMU Supercomputing Facility. The settings we are configuring for this connection can be saved as a session profile by PuTTY if we give this session a name and click on the "Save" button on this initial window. We have called this session "hydra", but we will not yet save the profile since we still need to modify other parameters before we are ready to establish the connection.
  3. Make sure the SSH parameters are correct. Click on SSH in the category tree (this is found under the "Connection" branch). Verify that preferred SSH protocol version is "2 only" and the preferred encryption algorithm is AES.

    PuTTY
  encryption window
  4. Next, go to the "Auth" portion of the GUI and make sure that the settings are configured as follows:

    PuTTY authentication window
  5. Next, in the "Tunnels" window, enable X11 forwarding:

    PuTTY tunnels window
  6. Since now we have configured all the parameters as we want them, we can go back to the sessions window and click on the "Save" button to save these settings under the session name of "hydra".

    PuTTY main window with save
  7. To establish a connection to Eos cluster, we can now simply highlight the session by that name and click on "Open".
  8. Finally, you should be presented with a window with a command line interface and will be asked to supply your login name and password:

    PuTTY login window
  9. Enter these as you normally would. Congratulations! You should now have an interactive shell session on the remote machine.

NOTE: If this is the first time you are attempting to connect to the remote machine, PuTTY will warn you that it doesn't know the machine's public key and give you the option of continuing or not. Just click on "Yes". Once this is done, you won't see this message again for this machine unless the public key on the remote machine changes for some reason.

File Transfers

WinSCP is a graphical SCP, "point and click" encrypted remote file transfer client for Windows. It is built on top of a portion of the PuTTY source code. After downloading, double-click on the icon to begin the installation. Follow all the steps (it is a typical windows install wizard) and choose the "typical" install option when prompted. It should only take a few seconds to install the package. When done, a WinSCP icon should appear on the Desktop.

Configuration

  1. Double-click the WinSCP icon to start WinSCP. The following window should appear.

    WinSCP session window

    Type in the name of the system to which you seek to establish a connection (in our case, "eos.tamu.edu") as well as your username and account password for that remote machine. The port number field should contain "22" and the protocol should be set to "SFTP". Next, select the SSH branch from the options tree in the left portion of the window.

  2. In the SSH portion of the GUI, AES encryption should be moved to the top by highlighting it and pressing the "Up" button until it is at the top of the selection policy.

    WinSCP ssh window
  3. You can now save the settings you just adjusted by going back to the "Session" branch and clicking the "Save" button to get the following dialogue box:

    WinSCP save window
  4. After this is done, go back to the SSH branch and click the "login" button at the bottom of the window. If this is the first time you have accessed this particular remote machine through WinSCP, you will see the following message:

    WinSCP host key verification window
  5. Click "Yes" to proceed. You will then see the following window:

    WinSCP main
  window

    To move to the desired directories, use the navigation bars at the top. The local system is on the left and the remote system on the right. The toolbar at the bottom of the window contains function keys for performing copies, deletes, etc.

  6. Let's say you wanted to copy the file "sc08 template.ppt" from the local computer (left window) to the remote computer (right window). Click on the file "sc08 template.ppt" and hit the space bar to select the file "sc08 template.ppt".
  7. Now, either press the F5 key or click the icon for "Copy" at the bottom of the window. You will be prompted for a confirmation:

    WinSCP copy window
  8. Finally, a transfer progress window will appear:

    WinSCP
  window

    Depending on the size of the file(s) and the speed of your network connection, this could take a anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Many users at TAMU Supercomputing have very large files. Don't be surprised if a 2GB file takes tens of minutes to complete. When you are ready to disconnect from the remote system, press F10 or just exit from the program.

Remote Display of Programs with Graphical Interfaces

Xming is a X Window Server for Microsoft Windows. Although the latest version requires a contribution (approximately $20 USD) there is also an older (free) Public Domain Release (version 6.9.0.31) which can be found at:

http://www.straightrunning.com/XmingNotes/
  1. After installing Xming (or Xming-mesa if you need OpenGL support), start Xming using the installed shortcut.
  2. Make sure your desired PuTTY session is configured with X11 forwarding as described above.
  3. Login to the desired supercomputer via PuTTY.
  4. Start an xterm window with the following command:
    xterm

    If a new xterm terminal window for the remote system pops up on your Windows desktop, then X11 forwarding is working correctly.