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I setup an SSH server in my windows 10 PC using MobaSSH Server. I then connected to it using another windows 10 PC using MobaXterm SSH Client (through a local user account in the server). X11-Forwarding is configured on both server and client.

I wanted to access a .txt file in my server. So in the Xterm SSH Client terminal, I moved to the corresponding directory and tried the command:

notepad xyz.txt

I was expecting the notepad application in the server to open in my terminal. But nothing happened. The terminal looked frozen. Had to apply Ctr+C to exit out. I tried Putty with X11 forwarding. Still didn't work.

Is it not possible to access server's windows applications through this method ??? I found success with Linux's SSH server. I could open applications like gvim. But in case of Windows, its not working. Is there any other way?

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Windows does not use X11 for its graphical interface, so it's natural that X11 forwarding would not work.

(However, you can use this for X11-based programs that were ported from Linux and are running through Cygwin, or Interix, or through Windows Subsystem for Linux. Basically, if a program would need Xwin/Xming, then it would work with X11 forwarding too.)

There is no option for running native Windows graphical programs directly through SSH – instead you need to connect using either "Remote Desktop" (mstsc) or various third-party programs like VNC.

(In general, noticeable difference is that Remote Desktop attaches to a specific user's desktop in exclusive mode, while third-party programs instead attach to the whole screen in shared/mirrored mode.)

Remote Desktop can also be configured for RemoteApp, which allows connecting to individual apps (multi-window) instead of the whole desktop. It doesn't require Windows Server, but it does require each app to be pre-configured for this.

Unfortunately I haven't heard of any Windows programs which would intercept individual windows and "forward" them through X11, but it would certainly be cool.

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  • Hmm...Thanks for the info. Was experimenting. Thought it would be cool if I can run some big programs like MATLAB through SSH from the server ;-( – Meenie Leis May 30 '19 at 18:33

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