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Windows (with Cygwin)

Setting up your Windows system (plus a free download of Cygwin) for displaying Unix and Linux programs from CAE systems to your PC. This allows you to run Unix and Linux applications (such as ANSYS) that are not installed on your Windows system, or to take advantage of the remote system's extra compute power without overloading your PC.

The combination of the X Window System and a secure shell (SSH) program means that you can run an application on one of the CAE network's Unix or Linux workstations without leaving your office. Windows does not include either an X Window server or a secure shell client, so one option is to download and install Cygwin, which provides a Unix-like environment running inside Windows.

Installing Cygwin

Start installing Cygwin by downloading Cygwin's setup.exe installer from the CAE Network FTP server to your desktop or some other location on your local hard drive. Double-click the installer icon to start the installation, and on the first dialog from the installer, click the Next






In the Choose Installation Type dialog, select Install from Internet and click the Next button.


In the Choose Installation Directory dialog, select a directory to install Cygwin into (the default of C:\cygwin should be fine for most users) and click the Next button.


In the Select Local Package Directory dialog, select a directory to temporarily hold the Cygwin installation packages. The default directory chosen is wherever you saved the Cygwin installer, and should be fine for most users. After selecting a directory, click the Next button.


In the Select Connection Type dialog, most users should be able to select the Direct Connection option and click the Next button.


In the Choose Download Site(s) dialog, you can pick the server to download the Cygwin packages from, or add one not in the list. On-campus users, including those in residence halls or in Tech Village, are strongly recommended to enter in the User URL box and click the Add button. After picking a server, click the Next button.


In the Select Packages dialog, scroll down the list to the Net category, click the plus sign to expand the Net category, and select the openssh package for installation. Then scroll down to the X11 category, click the plus sign to expand the X11 category, and select the xinit package for installation by clicking once on the circular arrow icon on the left. The text beside the circular arrow icon will change from Skip to a version number. The installer will automatically install the bare minimum of other packages for a functioning Cygwin installation, and will also automatically select to install other packages required by openssh and xterm. After selecting the openssh and xterm packages, click the Next button.




Now the installer will download the selected Cygwin packages to a folder inside the one you selected in the Select Local Package Directory dialog, and after all the packages are downloaded, will install them into the Cygwin installation directory.


After package installation is finished, the installer will ask if and where you want to create Cygwin icons for easier running. The defaults of creating icons on both the desktop and in your Start menu should be fine for most users. Click the Finish button to complete the installation.


Running Cygwin

Assuming you opted to create a Cygwin icon on your desktop, double-click it now. Otherwise, click the Start button, the Programs folder, the Cygwin folder, and the shortcut Cygwin Bash Shell.


The first time you run Cygwin, it will copy a few startup files into your Cygwin home directory. They occupy almost no space, so don't worry about them. Once Cygwin presents a $ prompt to you, type the command startx and press the Enter key. This will start Cygwin's X server, which allows graphical programs on remote Unix systems to display on your local PC.


After X11 has started, you should see an xterm window on your screen as shown below.


At your xterm's $ prompt, use the ssh command to log into one of the CAE network's Unix or Linux systems (click here for a list of those systems). The form of the ssh command is
ssh -Y

where username is your CAE username and hostname is the name of the Unix or Linux system you want to log into. After typing the ssh command, press the Enter key. The first time you try to connect to one of the CAE systems, you'll be prompted about an unrecgonized RSA key. This prompt should only happen once per CAE system, and if it happens more than once, one of the following things has happened:

  1. You've completely reinstalled your PC or Cygwin on your PC, causing it to lose its record of the remote system's host key.
  2. The remote system has been reinstalled. To check on this possibility, contact Joel Seber (CH301, x3734) or Mike Renfro (CH314, x3601). The likelihood of a complete system reinstall on a CAE system is pretty low, however.

If you've verified that neither your PC nor the CAE system has been reinstalled, STOP NOW and contact Mike Renfro or Joel Seber. There is a chance that a router or other system between your PC and the CAE lab has been broken into, and opens up the possibility that your password or other information could be intercepted.


Enter your CAE network password when prompted. If you typed it correctly, you should be logged into the remote system, and should see the remote system's $ prompt. Once you see the remote system's $ prompt, you can run most graphical applications by typing their command. For example, ANSYS 10.0 is run by typing launcher100 and pressing the Enter key. If it runs, a dialog similar to the one shown below should pop up: