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Pundit Updated 8/21/2016

PuTTY is a telnet and SSH program for Windows and Unix machines. Note: From Fall 2014 forward, Duke students using Windows machines are going to be pointed to MobaXterm instead of PuTTY to connect with Teer machines or Linux-based VCL sessions.


To install PuTTY for Windows, simply download the package from the OIT web site and run the executable. When complete, the installer will show you the READ ME file that comes with the program. Because of the frequency with which you are likely to use PuTTY, you will likely want to create a quick-launch icon for it as well as a desktop icon.


First Time

To use PuTTY for Windows, start the PuTTY program. You will then get to a PuTTY Configuration screen. For the Host Name, type in login-teer.oit.duke.edu.

The Connection Type should already be set to SSH and the Port set to 22.

Next, go to the Connection category in the navigation list at left, open the SSH option, and click X11 (for version 0.6) or Tunnels (for version 0.56, as there is no X11). Make sure the Enable X11 forwarding box is checked.

Saving Sessions for Later

Now the basics are set for the session. There are several other options you can set for your terminal session. When you run PuTTY, these will appear on the left side of the Configuration window. The most common configuration options to set are in the Session and Window-Colours sections. You can enter the information into the various locations and then go back to the Session window.

Give a (meaningful) name for this configuration to the Saved Sessions block and hit the Save button. The session will now be listed along with the Default Settings and any other configuration you have saved. To reload the configuration, click on its name and hit the Load button. To connect using a particular configuration, just double-click on its name.


Note that if you have connected to this machine before, the terminal window will open. If not, you will get a Security Alert message. Unless you believe there has been a security problem, you can click Yes to both add the host to your list of approved hosts and continue on the the terminal window.

Next, provide your NET ID and password. If you are able to connect, you should now be at the prompt and in your home directory. You can now issue UNIX commands to the remote machine via your terminal window. Whenever you are finished, type exit and the window will close.

Allowing Graphics

The PuTTY program by itself cannot handle graphics sent from a remote computer. To allow the remote machine to open windows on your computer, see the information on X-Win 32. Note that setting PuTTY to Enable port forwarding gets rid of the requirement to set the display environment. You just have to make sure X-Win 32 is running and that the remote computer you are using is allowed to send graphics to your computer.


Xauthority file locking

If xterm will not work and if the error is something about "error in locking authority file" type the following in the terminal window:

rm -i .Xauth*
and say y to anything starting with the letters .Xauth. Then,
  • Quit PuTTY
  • Start PuTTY
  • Load a session (do not double click)
  • Pick a different teer machine in the host address
  • Click the Open box
  • Log in
  • Type xterm

Most likely, the next time through the computer you are connecting to will tell you that it is creating a new authority file - that's great!


Post your questions by editing the discussion page of this article. Edit the page, then scroll to the bottom and add a question by putting in the characters *{{Q}}, followed by your question and finally your signature (with four tildes, i.e. ~~~~). Using the {{Q}} will automatically put the page in the category of pages with questions - other editors hoping to help out can then go to that category page to see where the questions are. See the page for Template:Q for details and examples.

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