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Advice for Windows Users
Submitted on Saturday, 2/22/2014, at 10:47 AM
This page has information for students and others who want to use Windows computers to access Unix systems at Amherst. Please write to lamcgeoch with any questions, corrections or suggestions on the documentation below.
There are two main approaches that Windows users can use to access a Unix system: Xming and Remote Desktop Connection.
General information on the use of X windows appears at
You should read and understand that page before continuing here.
The X windows application on Windows system is Xming. It is installed on all of the computer center and classroom PCs.
Using Xming in the lab or computer center
Begin by logging into the Windows machine. Click on "Start" and then on "All Programs". Go under "Network and Internet" and then click on "Xming". You'll probably get a "Security Warning" at this point. Just ignore it and click "Run". After the security warning is cleared, no window will appear on the screen, but you will see at X icon appear in the tray at the bottom right of the screen.
*Right click* on the X icon and select "Connect to romulus" or "Connect to remus". This will create an initial window on the Unix system.
When you're done, you should close any open Unix windows, then right click on the X icon and select exit. You should then logout of the Windows system in the usual way.
Remote Desktop Connection
Recent versions of Windows have included a program called Remote Desktop Connection. This is a good way to connect to remus or romulus. Begin by searching for the program on your machine, and then run it.
In the first dialog box, give "remus.amherst.edu" or "romulus.amherst.edu" as the name of the machine that you're trying to access. You'll probably then be told that the identity of the remote computer cannot be verified. It's OK to click "yes" to continue. (We'll get this fixed.) Then give your username and password.
This gives you a Unix desktop, which you can use in many ways. A good way to get started is to run Applications>Accessories>Terminal. This gives you an initial terminal window.
There are two ways to exit Remote Desktop Connection. Best is to choose System>Logout. This terminates your programs on the remote machine and logs you out. The other way is to pick the X in the blue bar at the top of the screen. This closes the RDC program but preserves your session. You can later return to the very same session. This ability to return to an active session can be useful, but please note that the active session will continue to use system resources.