Logon from Windows

The ARC HPC facilities are Linux based systems but they can be easily accessed from Windows desktops. However once you are logged on you will have to use the traditional Linux command line tools. If you logon with an X-Windows environment you will also be able to run applications with a graphical user interface.

Required software

Access to the ARC systems is provided through the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol. To enable access you will need to install a SSH client and a X-server that will allow graphical programs running on either of the clusters to be displayed on your local Windows desktop.

We recommend MobaXTerm. This combines an SSH program (similar to PuTTY), a simple file transfer utility, a text editor and an X-Server into a single package. It is installed onto cluster PCs at Leeds but a portable version is also available that will run from a USB flash drive without installation. This may be preferable for those users without Administrator privileges to their Desktop.

Once you have a session running you can use the MobaXTerm user interface to transfer files by dragging and dropping.

For reference the download page is:

Using MobaXTerm

MobaXTerm provides a windowed environment for you to securely login to the Leeds HPC services.

A quick animation of the useful functionality is available here:


Logon Using the Graphical User Interface

Create a session through the Session button at the top left of the application window.

Create a new session in MobaXTerm.
Click the “Session” button in the top left.

Logon to the ARC systems must be via the ssh protocol. Select the ssh option by clicking on the button in the top left.

Select the "SSH" option.
Select the “SSH” option for the session by clicking top left.

The only details that you need to provide here to start a session is the name of the host (to be entered at arrow 1). The host name is constructed like this <hostname>.leeds.ac.uk where the <hostname> is the name of the system you wish to use for example ARC2 . The session set up will be saved so it makes sense to set it up with your username so that when you start the session in furture you do not have to type that each time. Type your username into the text box at arrow 2.

Type in the session details.
Type in the name of the host and your username.

It is best to set other session options that you may want at this point. I like to have my shell with a white background so I set the colour options here.

Extra session options can be selected.
Extra session options can be selected. I have decided to alter the colours.

Your session is now ready to start. The window on the right of the MobaXTerm user interface is the shell where you type commands. You now need to type in your password so that your session can start. Notice that before you type the password the left window in the MobaXTerm user interface lists “saved sessions” and this session that you have created is one of them. In furture you can start a session by double clicking on a “saved session”.

Type in your pass word.
Once you type in your password the session starts. The session is saved in the left window.

The first time you start a session you can choose to save your password so that when you start future sessions you do not have to type in your password. You do not want to save your password if other people use your computer and so may logon by “accident”. Notice that once your password is authenticated the window on the left of MobaXTerm user interface displays the files that are in your account.

You can save your password.
Once you have typed your password you have the option to save it for future sessions.

Logon Using the Linux Command Line

The MobaXTerm tool is built on top of cygwin which is a version of linux created for Windows systems.This means that the main window in the MobaXTerm tool can be used a linux shell so it can be used to navigate your windows machine and login via ssh into other linux systems. If you login from this window you can treat your logon as if it were from a Linux system, the documentation for that is https://arc.leeds.ac.uk/using-the-systems/getting-started/logon-from-linux.

MobaXTerm for Linux logon
Using the Linux shell in MobaXTerm to logon.

The arrow points to the prompt in the Linux shell. Here you would type the usual ssh command to logon:

$ ssh @arc2.leeds.ac.uk

In the image provided the user name has been blurred and the user is logging on to ARC2. If you wanted to run a graphical tool then you would have to export the display as explained on the “Logon to Linux” page. After the first login by this method there will be a saved session in the left hand window.

Drag and Drop File Transfer

Files and folders can be dragged and dropped into the file view window in the left panel of the MobaXTerm application. Files can be transferred by this method in either direction i.e., from the local pc to the host or vice versa.

File transfer by dragging and dropping in MobaXTerm
Files can be dragged and dropped between the MobaXTerm file view panel and the Windows file view window.

Files and folders can also be created in the Linux shell. These are not automatically visible in the file view window. Use the File Refresh button to make sure that the file view window and the shall have the same information (the shell will always be correct). The function of the other buttons in the button bar can be determined my hoovering the mouse over them.

MobaXTerm file refresh button
The MobaXTerm file view button bar with the mouse hovering over the refresh button.

Copying and Pasting Text Between Your Local and Host Systems

When people start using MobaXTerm they often have difficulty in copying and pasting text. The cause of the problem is that when you copy text it is stored in the clipboard until you paste it. The Windows system and the xterm system have different clipboards so that if you wish to copy text over from your Windows desktop system onto the host’s xterm system you need to make sure that you are copying to and pasting from the same clipboard.

Copy and pasting in the xterm:

  1. Highlight the text to select it (this acts like a copy).
  2. Paste the selected text with your middle mouse button or Shift+Insert.

Copy and pasting in Windows:

  1. Highlight text to select it.
  2. Copy with Ctrl+C (or by right click and select the menu option copy).
  3. Paste with Ctrl+V (or by right click and select the menu option paste).

Exiting a Session

When you have ready to finish your session there are 3 ways to finish:

  1. Type “exit” or “logout” into the shell. When you do this there are 3 further options you can select:
    1. To close the session (tab).
    2. To keep the session (tab) open.
    3. To save all the text that was generated in the shell into a word file.
  2. Click on the “X” at the right of the tab at the top of the window for that session.
  3. Click on the “Exit” button at the top right of the application.
Exiting MobaXTerm sessions
There are 3 ways to exit a MobaXTerm session.

If you have multiple shells open on one of our systems or on each of our systems then if you Exit the MobaXTerm application then all will exit at the same time.

Closing MobaXTrem
Exiting the MobaXTerm application.