I have the following environment:

  1. A laptop running Windows 7 that I connect/disconnect to my work network every day
  2. A desktop running Ubuntu 12.04 that's permanently connected to the work network

I'm looking for a way to "unify" the two. I spent some time remote desktop'ing into Windows from Ubuntu, but ran into a few glitches that made me give up on it. I'm currently using Synergy, and that works fairly well but has its own glitches (namely copy/paste).

My latest experiment involves running Cygwin X on my laptop and forwarding all my GVIM windows and such to Windows. That works pretty well, but whenever I disconnect my laptop from the network all those windows (and corresponding processes on Ubuntu) die. When I reconnect I have to relaunch all those processes again.

My question: is there a way for use Cygwin X in the same way you would use a program like tmux/screen. For example:

  1. I run Cygwin X and set up my work environment, forwarding all the GUIs to Windows
  2. I disconnect my laptop from the network - all the windows die, but the processes themselves keep running on the Ubuntu machine
  3. I reconnect my laptop to the network - I re-forward all the Ubuntu GUIs to my Cygwin X and keep going where I left off

Is this possible?

1 Answer 1


A pretty good list of programs to do this was discussed here. Mentioned were Xmove, Xpra, and Guievict.

Xpra looks well-maintained (more so than xmove) and has a Windows build. Guievict appears to be for saving the state of the program and doesn't seem to line up with your use case. Xpra "proxies" the X server in a similar way to tmux/screen and the usage is pretty similar, too.

On the Ubuntu desktop:

xpra start :100
DISPLAY=:100 gvim

When you're on the laptop :

xpra attach ssh:desktop-hostname:100

And when you're on the desktop, just

xpra attach :100

Now, if you want to start gvim from the laptop you need to execute the command over SSH. Something like

ssh user@desktop-hostname xpra start :100

from Cygwin will get the job done. You could even make it into a Windows shortcut using Cygwin's run.exe.

  • To ensure that the gvim environment is correct, always start it using "xpra start :100 --start=gvim", (note: the display number is also optional). You do not need to ssh first to start xpra remotely either, you can just: "xpra start ssh:SERVER --start=gvim" (that's all assuming that you are using a reasonably up to date version of xpra)
    – totaam
    Feb 6, 2017 at 12:42

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