At office I have some linux machines without monitors. Earlier we have covered how to setup VNC to see linux desktop from remote machine. Apart from VNC we can also use putty & Xming.

Xming is the leading X Window Server for Microsoft XP/2008/Windows7. It is fully featured, lean, fast, current, simple to install and because it is standalone native Microsoft Windows, easily transported portable as a pocket X server.

Xming is totally secure when used with SSH and optionally includes an enhanced PuTTY Link SSH client and a portable PuTTY replacement package. Xming can work completely independent of the Window’s registry when used with Xming-portable PuTTY.

Interactive 3D graphics capability is provided compatible with OpenGL/GLX.

Xming is cross-compiled on Linux for Microsoft Windows (32-bit x86), using MinGW, mainly from the canonical X.Org source code with my patches applied. It is kept current and secure with frequent updates from X.Org, XKB, FreeType2, Pthreads-Win32, Mesa, PuTTY and Freedesktop Bugzilla.

When released Public Domain, Xming can be distributed and used without restriction.

You need two application, Xming & putty. You can download latest versions of it from below sites:

Enabling X11 forwarding in putty.

  • Start putty
  • In the hostname field type linux machine IP address.
  • In saves sessions dialouge box enter identical name from which you can identify the session in future (in our example we are using ip of the remote linux machine). Save that session by clicking the save button.
  • Under Connection catogory from left hand side menu, Expand SSH & select X11
  • Click on Enable X11 forwarding box
  • Go back to Session catogory and click on save button to save the changes.

Installing Xming

  • Run the Xming installer you have download earlier form Xming site.
  • We need default installation so choose full installation in Select Components window.
  • After installation start Xming from Start > Programs > Xming > Xming
  • You can see a small icon near time on your task bar

Configuring Xming for X11

  • Run Xlaunch from Start > Programs > Xming > Xlaunch
  • In Display Settings Windows select Multiple windows & click Next button
  • In Session Type Windows select Start no client & click Next button
  • In Additional parameters Windows select Clipboard & click Next button
  • In Finish configuration Windows just click finish button. In addtion you can also save this configuration by clicking Save configuration button.

Running application in GUI on remote linux machine

  • To launch application in GUI mode on linux machine, run putty & load the session we have saved earlies. In my case it is named as
  • Give your credentials of linux machine. That’s it. Now you can run any application graphically from putty. For example I am running gedit

Feel free to ask question if there is any doubt.

X11 Forwarding

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