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Recommended Links Cygwin Packages X Window System Xming


 "Can't open display" Error

Replacing Exceed with Cygwin Hummingbird Connectivity 2006 Suite


Putty screen Command line Net Tools Perl VIM
uwin SFU
(version 3.5)
  ssh VNC OFMs Humor Etc

The X Window System, version 11 (often "X11", or simply "X") is the standard graphical environment under Unix and GNU/Linux; it is also available for other platforms, including Mac OS X and MS-Windows. X applications ("clients") exchange data with an X server (another application). The X server receives and interprets instructions from the clients for displaying the clients' windows, and it collects and transmits keyboard and mouse input events to the clients.

The xorg  packages available with Cygwin (collectively, "Cygwin/X") provide a X server (XWin), a large set of standard X clients, and a set of development tools that can be used to compile X clients that run under MS-Windows. Cygwin/X is slower then native Windows X servers like  Xming.

Important: X clients cannot run unless they can connect to a running X server. The X server must be started first. When you use Cygwin/X, the X server runs on your PC, under MS-Windows. Once the X server is running, you can launch and interact with X clients on your PC or on any other networked computer (which can be running MS-Windows, GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, Unix, or any other OS that can run X client software).  Among notable features of Cygwin/X:

X Server Display

Important Note: Cygwin/X server is sensitive to the Numlock key setting. Java applications do not accept keystrokes when Numlock is on.  Keyboard appears to be frozen...

The Cygwin  X server, XWin, can be launched in several ways. One of these is by running c:\cygwin\usr\X11R6\bin\startxwin.bat  (you may wish to create a desktop shortcut to this batch file so that you can launch the X server by clicking on its icon). Another way to launch the X server is by running the command startx  in a Cygwin window.

Starting Cygwin/X  (adapted from Using Cygwin-X)

There are several methods of starting the Cygwin/X X Server with a startup script that optionally starts initial clients and loads keyboard modifier maps. three the most common methods are described below.

[Oct 10, 2009] Cygwin Rough Book

March 29th, 2009 |

A while ago, I wrote up a quick guide about running X/Windows applications (specifically, aterm) without root windows on Windows, using Cygwin. Recently I tried to set it up again and I realized that some of the information is slightly out of date. I'm also endeavoring to write a better guide. I'm assuming that you have, at the very least, a decent understanding of building things from source. The process under Cygwin is pretty much the same as under any other *nix, but there are a few quirks. On the whole, it's a whole lot easier than it used to be. This guide is primarily geared towards running aterm with a transparent background on a windows machine so that you can have a decent client for the Cygwin commandline, instead of the crappy Windows one.

I'm assuming that you already have Cygwin installed. If you don't, you can get it from here. In addition to whatever other packages you have selected to customize your install, you also need development packages (gcc and friends), Xorg packages (headers, includes, and libraries), and a few graphics libraries (for aterm):

Cygwin, X, ratposoin, screen, rxvt setup - Salty Crane Blog

Here are my configuration files for my current Cygwin, X, ratpoison, screen, urxvt, bash setup.

Mortens Cygwin X-Launcher Official webpage

Mortens Cygwin X-Launcher is a tool to configure and run the X-server (Xwin) of the Cygwin-project and optionally connect to a remote server via XDMCP or a shell.

Cygwin is an excellent approach to bring LinuX (LinuX-kernel) functionality to a Windows desktop and therefore allowing e.g. cross-development with ease.

However - if you ever tried to do so using a non-english keyboard layout you might have faced the problem of a non-working nationalisation. Mortens Cygwin X-Launcher tries to fix this next to many may other issues that appear consequently in a multi-server environment.

In the end pre-sets (connection options) can be defined and saved to easily access remote (or local) X-server services. All information are stored in an INI-file allowing easy changes. Furthermore (in advanced mode) nearly all XWin settings can be experiment with. Finally Cygwin X-Launcher supports an extensive set of command-line parameters allowing several configurations and launch of pre-sets automatically.

Run "CygwinXLauncher.exe /?" for details. Actually I wrote this for my work but I thought I could also make it available to public.

This program is freeware!

Automatically starting a cygwin X Window Server - True Blade Systems, Inc.

How to start cygwin's X Server when you log in - without annoying popup text windows.

At True Blade we make extensive use of cygwin, a Linux-like environment for Microsoft Windows.

Cygwin lets us write all sorts of interesting scripts on Windows machines that would be difficult or impossible with normal Windows utilities. One of the features we use most often is the secure shell (ssh) client, which lets us securely talk to Linux servers.

While cygwin is most often thought of as providing command line utilities, it also comes with an X Window server which is used to run graphical Linux programs that display their output on your Windows computer. I use this most often to run GNU emacs, an awesomely powerful text editor. I can edit files directly on the Linux servers but the editor itself is displayed on my Windows workstation.

One problem with the X Window server is that I have to remember to manually start it every time I log on to Windows. The obvious solution to this is to create a shortcut to the X server in the Startup group. This works great, with two problems:

  1. You have to modify the system PATH variable to include the X server directory: /usr/X11R6/bin, and
  2. An annoying text window pops up with the output of the X server.

The text window is an attractive nuisance: I find myself wanting to close it because it's always in my way (even when minimized), but if I close it then the X server and all of my open X display windows are unceremoniously closed.

The solution is the Cygwin run command. It is used to launch command line programs without opening a text window. Because it is a "windowed" program (like Excel), not a command line program (like cmd.exe), it doesn't open up a text window. Not only that, but it takes a parameter for a directory that's added to the system PATH variable before it executes its argument. It solves both of my problems!

To start the cygwin X server, create a new shortcut in your Startup group. It should execute this command:

<path-to-cygwin>\bin\run.exe -p /usr/X11R6/bin XWin -multiwindow -clipboard -silent-dup-error
For my setup, where I have cygwin installed in c:\opt\cygwin, the entire command is:
C:\opt\cygwin\bin\run.exe -p /usr/X11R6/bin XWin -multiwindow -clipboard -silent-dup-error

Now, whenever I log in to Windows, the X server automatically starts, and I don't have any annoying text windows that I might accidentally close.


XLiveCD allows users of Microsoft Windows to connect to remote Unix computers, run graphical applications and have the graphics displayed on their desktops. The software runs from the CD without being installed. XLiveCD was prepared by University Technology Services to facilitate use of research Unix systems at Indiana University by Windows users on campus.

In the world of Windows, a wizard appears when the CD-ROM is inserted in a drive. The wizard presents a menu of reading documentation, running the X Server from the CD and installing the software to the hard drive. When the X server is run, a new window appears on the desktop. The window contains a command prompt that is used to connect to remote computers. It is possible to open up more command-line windows and use them to make more connections. When the user has finished and has closed all connections, the X server can be shut down by right-clicking an icon in the system tray.

In the parlance of Unix, an X server is run from the CD. A secure shell (ssh) client is included, and it is configured to allow by default forwarding of graphics from X11 applications. Users run the ssh client to connect to the remote machine, and X11 graphics are forwarded automatically from X applications that are run. The X server is that by, and the ssh client is openssh.

The software is a set of Cygwin packages ( that have been installed and altered to run from CD, the Wizard's Apprentice ( and a few scripts that tie things together and provide the illusion that the XLiveCD is an application. Details are available in documentation that is provided on the CD.

Requirements and issues:

System Minimum
Win XP SP2 512 MB
Win XP SP1, 2000, NT 256 MB
Win 98, Me 128 MB

XLiveCD does not run on Windows Vista. The X server on which XLiveCD is based is still unstable on Windows Vista. We will monitor the development of the server and release a new version of XLiveCD when the server has stabilized.

XLiveCD is not intended to be run on computers on which Cygwin is installed. If you choose to ignore that warning, be sure to click on "Read Documentation" when the wizard presents you with the option. Then, scroll to the bottom of the page, click on "How to run XLiveCD on systems on which Cygwin is installed", and read that page carefully.

Primary features:

Other useful features:


Software that runs from CD is always slower than installed software. Performance of XLiveCD should be acceptable for evaluating software that runs on Unix systems. It is probably acceptable for occasional use, and some will find that it is unacceptable for everyday use.

XLiveCD runs better on Windows XP/2000/NT systems than on Windows 98 systems. It can be a bit flaky on Windows 98 systems.


XLiveCD is built from open source software. The Cygwin environment includes many packages under many licenses. Cygwin libraries and most packages are under the GNU General Public License. The X server is under the X11 license. The Wizard's Apprentice is under its own open source license. Scripts written for XLiveCD are under the GNU General Public License. Documentation on the CD is is under the Open Publication License.

All packages on the CD disclaim all liability. As a derived work XLiveCD comes under the following terms.

You acknowledge that XLiveCD is a tool, provided free of charge, and as such it is only provided "as is". Copyright holder, its assigns, faculty, employees, and students have no obligation to assist you in its use, correction, modification, or enhancement and carry no obligation to provide any updates whatsoever.


The name Indiana University or "XLiveCD" shall not be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without written permission from Indiana University. For written permission, please contact Indiana University Research & Technology Corporation ("IURTC") at 351 West 10th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46202.

Products derived from this software may not be called "XLiveCD", nor may Indiana University appear in their name, without prior written permission of IURTC.

Brief instructions

  1. Place CD in drive and wait for wizard to appear.
  2. Select "Read documentation".
    • Read the documentation.
    • Dismiss the browser.
  3. Select the "Run X from CD" option that lists the appropriate number of buttons for your mouse, and wait for a terminal window to appear. The wait may be 30 to 70 seconds on some machines.
  4. Use the terminal window to run an ssh command that connects to a remote computer. Example:

Recommended Links



Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy


War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes


Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law


Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Haterís Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D

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Last modified: March 12, 2019