Today I explained to one of my students the advantages of X forwarding for interactive with the NAU Monsoon computer cluster.

To get it working first go to the Installation page for cygwin and download the installer. When you get to “Select Packages” make sure to select View “Full” and the Search for the following packages:

  • openssh
  • xinit
  • cygutils-x11
  • lxterminal

For each package, under the New column, click the arrow and then choose the most recent version to install.

After installation, go to Start menu -> Xwin server.

Then in a Cygwin64 terminal:

DISPLAY=:0.0 lxterminal.exe

That will pull up another terminal. xterm could be used instead but its default text is way too small. In lxterminal you can do Edit -> Preferences -> Terminal font -> Size to adjust the font size permanently, or use CTRL-SHIFT then plus or minus to adjust it temporarily.

After that in lxterminal do

ssh -Y

and put in your password to get a shell on monsoon. You can then open up any X windows program and see the windows on your own computer, e.g.

emacs -fh &


module load rstudio
rstudio &

Note that the -Y flag for ssh enables trusted X11 forwarding, which are not subjected to the X11 SECURITY extension controls. (from man ssh)

Some references:

Starting cygwin/x

Displaying remote clients

Cygwin FAQ