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Remote Access Using MobaXterm for Windows

MobaXterm Software

MobaXterm is an enhanced terminal for Windows with a built-in X11 server, tabbed SSH client, built-in file editor, SFTP functionality, and other useful features. You may download MobaXterm from: http://mobaxterm.mobatek.net/download.html

You will need to choose which license (free Home edition, or professional) and then select the Portable or Installer edition. The Installer edition works best on your personal machine, when you have the privileges to install software. The portable version may be necessary when using a lab workstation, for example. (Be sure to check if MobaXterm is already installed in the Windows Start menu.)


You may create saved sessions for connecting to grace.hprc.tamu.edu or other HPRC clusters, for your convenience. See http://mobaxterm.mobatek.net/documentation.html#1_2 for instructions. For example:

MobaXterm SSH

IMPORTANT: When asked if you would like to save your password, choose "No" to avoid potential security exploits and getting locked out of the system when your password is changed.

MobaXterm save password

Two factor authentication

1. On the top left corner of MobaXterm window, click 'Session' button.

2. You will be prompted with a window which asks for your session settings.

3. Enter the 'Remote Host' (e.g. ada.tamu.edu, terra.tamu.edu, etc.) you would like to connect to.

4. Select 'Specify', then enter your username (your NetID).

5. Enter the 'Port Number' 22 (the default should be 22).

6. Press enter.

7. You will be prompt to authentication with Duo (either using mobile app, text message or call).

8. If you wish to open the session again, open the 'Session' tab on the left side of the screen and double-click the appropriate session to launch.

File Transfer

1. On the top left corner of MobaXterm window, click Session button.

2. Choose 'SFTP' session type.

3. Enter remote host (e.g. ada.tamu.edu, terra.tamu.edu, etc.) and username (your netID).

4. Go to 'Advanced Sftp settings' and check '2-steps authentication' checkbox.

5. After you select 'Ok', you will be prompted with Duo Authentication method (Push, Call, Text, Second device, etc). Select the appropriate option. Do not type your TAMU password.

Example Duo Authentication methods (You won't see this, it is just to remind you of the format of Duo Authentication options)

Enter a passcode or select one of the following options:

 1. Duo Push to XXX-XXX-1234
 2. Duo Push to iOS
 3. Phone call to XXX-XXX-1234

Your Duo settings will be different

File Transfers

On the left-hand side of the MobaXterm window, different tabs are available. The labels are written vertically. Choosing the "Sftp" tab will display a file tree of the remote machine to which you are connected, such as:

MobaXterm file explore

You may choose files to edit with the built-in editor. You may also transfer files from your Windows machine to the remote cluster, and vice versa. Just drag a local file (from a Windows File Explorer window or similar program) to the SFTP file tree on the left side of the MobaXterm window.

Remote Display of Programs with Graphical Interfaces

By default, MobaXterm connections have X11 forwarding available. So, when you connect to ada.tamu.edu or other machine, you should be able to run an X-Windows program by simply typing the command. That will open the program in a new window behind the MobaXterm main window.

Running MobaXterm on Open Access Lab workstations

Verify MobaXterm is installed

After logging in to Open Access Labs (OAL) workstation, click on the magnifying glass to search for an installed program. As you start typing "MobaXterm", matching programs will be displayed on the left-hand side of the screen, above the search field.

find MobaXterm on Open Access Lab workstation

Once you have started MobaXterm, click "Start local terminal" (as pictured above in Local Terminal section). You may encounter an error such as the following:

MobaXterm permission error message

To solve this problem, you will need to change the location of the virtual "root" and "home" directories. At the top of the MobaXterm window in the row of buttons, click "Settings" (the second to last on the right-hand side):

MobaXterm settings button

A settings dialog will open. By default, the virtual root and home directories will be set to "_MyDocuments_\MobaXterm\" which lacks proper write permissions for the OAL workstations:

MobaXterm default root and home

Change both of these by clicking on the current values (with the little yellow folder on the right-hand side). Scroll up to find the "Temp" folder, which is under the "C:" drive:

MobaXterm choose C:\Temp

Once both have been changed, they should look like this:

MobaXterm root and home set to C:\Temp

Once you click "OK", MobaXterm will need to restart to commit these changes:

MobaXterm restart

Installing on Temp Drive of Open Access Lab workstation

Special Instructions

Note: This only applies to an unusual circumstance. In most cases, MobaXterm will already be installed on the OAL workstations. You will not need to do this on your personal computer or any computer for which you have privileges to install the software.

If MobaXterm is not installed on an Open Access Lab workstation, download the portable version and copy the programs to a folder in the C:\Temp folder, i.e., C:\Temp\Moba (you will need to create this folder first). From that folder, run the program MobaXterm_Portable_version.exe to start MobaXterm. Select "Settings" in the top menu and choose "global settings". In the "General" tab of the settings window, specify C:\Temp as the Persistent home directory and Persistent root (/) directory:

MobaXterm choose C:\Temp

Once you have completed this, you should be able to run the portable version from your home drive without error.