How to Access Your Linux PC from Windows?

Often, you are required to access a Linux PC from a Windows PC. Depending on the requirement, you may have to access Linux PC’s command line or the graphical user interface (GUI).

For the purpose of accessing Linux PCs, there are many methods and tools. In this article, we use just a couple of tools for our purpose.

First of all, download the following two software from their respective publishers. Both these software come free of charge, so they are free to download.

  • RealVNC
  • PuTTY

RealVNC is a software used for accessing graphical user interface of a remote system and PuTTY is used for establishing a connection with remote system via SSH, Telnet etc. Follow the guidelines provided by the authors of the software when it comes to installation and usage.

How to Access Your Linux PC from Windows?

Now, run PuTTY and enter the IP address of the remote Linux PC. Please make sure that you have set the port to 22.

For the next step, you need to find your IP address. For this, click start menu and type cmd (without quotation marks) into Run and hit enter. This will open a command prompt for you. Now type ipconfig (without the quotation marks) and hit enter. Your IP address is now displayed in the command prompt.

Add your IP address in PuTTY and give a name to the PuTTY session. For the protocol, select SSH. SSH stands for Secure SHell. Using SSH, you establish a secure connection between the two computers. Save your session name. Now click Open and you will be given a PuTTY window.

Go to your Linux PC and issue the following command. This will open the vncserver and will let you use the Linux PC’s graphical user interface from another PC.

# vncserver :01

Go to your Windows PC and restart PuTTY application. Then load the session saved in an earlier step. This will give you a window and scroll down the left panel. At the bottom of the panel, you will notice Tunnels. Click on Tunnels and it will show you new options on the right hand side panel. For the Source port, enter 5900. This is the standard VNC and remote desktop port. For the Destination box, enter your IP address. Make sure the options Local and Auto to be selected at this point. Go to the menu buttons and click Session. This will give you the panel for the session.

Now you have setup and configured everything to emulate your Linux desktop from Windows. Click Open in the PuTTY and then start the RealVNC server. Then there will be a window which pops up. Enter localhost:5900 there and click OK. Then RealVNC will ask you for your Linux password. Once the Linux password is given, you will get the Linux desktop.

What was described above is the free, but little hard way of achieving our goal. As an alternative for the above approach, there are a number of commercial products that will let you access your Linux PC without much configuration. All you need to give is the IP address of the Linux PC and the password. Usually such commercial tools are used in corporate environments where financing is not a big problem. Xmanager is one of such tools where users can access Linux systems with zero configurations.

If you are familiar with Linux, there is no need to go for a commercial product. Commercial products are most suitable for corporate environments, rather than for personal use. Once the above setup is configured, you can use PuTTY to connect to the remote Linux machine’s windowing system with just a couple of clicks.

1 thought on “How to Access Your Linux PC from Windows?”

  1. The article was fine insofar as it goes.

    However, if the units are on a LAN/WAN you control, or the Linux server has a permanent IP address and you have SysAdmin rights, the Samba server app could be used. Then Linux systems could be config’d to appear as if yet more disk (and/or print servers) for M$ units.

    For companies seeking to escape the madness of Win/2000,2003,2008 or whatever other expensive nonsense like M$-Exchange, setting up mirrored Linux servers using RAID-5 arrays and apps like Postfix and can save you beaucoup rupees and angst.

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