Remote Access to Environment Linux Systems via XtoGo

Information on how to access Faculty of Environment Linux systems remotely using XtoGo

X2Go is an open source remote desktop solution for Linux that uses the NX technology protocol.

Linux Desktop Session from X2Go


In order to make a connection using the X2Go software from off campus, or from the Eduroam wireless network, you will first need to connect to the University VPN service.

Information about the VPN service, and instructions on how to connect

Installing the X2Go client

The installer for the X2Go client, for Windows and OSX systems can be downloaded from the X2Go website.

The X2Go client can usually be found in standard repositories for Linux systems.

Instructions on installing the X2Go client on various operating systems are available.

Installing on Windows

When running the X2Go installer on Windows, it is worth while installing all of the available fonts. This can either be done by ensuring that the 'Fonts' option is fully ticked, or by selecting the 'Full' install option:

X2Go Windows install fonts

For all other installation options, the defaults should be fine.

Installing on OSX

Before installing X2Go on OSX the XQuartz X server must first be installed. If you do not already have this software on your system, it can be downloaded from the XQuartz project site.

After installing the XQuartz software for the first time, you will need to log out of, and back in to the system, for the software to work correctly.

Once the disk image has been downloaded and mounted, installation simply requires dragging the X2GO icon on the the Applications folder icon. The Applications folder icon may not appear in the expected location:

Applications folder icon

Installing on Linux

Installation of the X2Go client on a Linux system will depend on which distribution you are using.

For some of the most popular Linux distributions, installation is quite simple:

Linux distribution Command
Ubuntu/Debian apt-get install x2goclient
Fedora yum install x2goclient

There are additional notes on the X2Go web site.

Configuring X2Go

Once installed, the X2Go client works in much the same whichever operating system you may be using.

The first time that the X2Go software is launched, it will most likely pop up a window to allow a new session to be configured. A new session can be configured from 'Session' > 'New Session', or by clicking the icon with the star in the top left of the window:

X2Go - Configuring a new session

Session Settings

The minimum required settings to get get connected are Session name, Host, Login and Session Type.

There are four machines to which connections can be made. It is worth setting up connections to all of these systems, so you can switch to a different system if required, for example if a machine is unavailable for some reason, or is under a heavy load.


If just setting up one connection, pick one of these hosts at random.

This example shows the settings for connecting to the host foe-linux-02 as user earabc:

X2Go session settings

Once the session settings have been added, it should then be possible to make a connection to the Linux systems. Though it may be worth have a quick look at some of the other settings available.

Input/Output Settings

Within the Input/Output settings you will find the settings for the display size, and the display DPI. The display can be left at the default value of 800 x 600, as it is possible to resize the session once connected, though you may wish to change this to something more suitable for your system.

A DPI value of 96 usually works best for most systems:

X2Go Input/Output settings

Media Settings

Within the Media settings, there are options for audio and printing redirection. Unless you have a known need to use these (success may vary!), it is probably worth disabling these.

X2Go media settings

Making The Connection

Once the settings are all in place the connection process is quite simple.

Firstly, ensure that you have made a connection to the VPN.

Select the required session from the available options on the right hand side of the X2Go window, and then enter your password:

X2Go - Making the connection

X2Go - Making the connection

The first time that you connect, you may see a warning about accepting the server's host key. This is expected, so you can press Yes:

X2Go - Accepting the server host key

The X2Go software should now connect to a desktop session:

X2Go Desktop Session Connected

Disconnecting and Reconnecting

When disconnecting from a X2Go session, it is possible to either close the session, and all open programs, or to leave the session running, so that later reconnection is possible.

To close the session completely, simply log out of the desktop session as usual - either from the desktop menu:

X2Go - Logout

or by right-clicking the desktop and selecting Leave:

X2Go - Logout

If you wish to leave programs running within the session, just close the X2Go window. The next time that you connect to the same host, it will resume the same desktop session.

Known Issues

Bottom Panel Not Visible

When first connecting to a session, you may find that the bottom panel is not visible:

X2Go - Bottom Panel not visible

This can usually be easily fixed by resizing the X2Go window, which should cause the desktop to refresh so that the panel is then visible:

X2Go - Bottom Panel visible

Desktop Background Does Not Resize

You may find, when resizing the X2Go window, that the Desktop background does not resize, and you are left with a white border:

X2Go - Desktop background not resizing

We don't currently have a reliable solution for this issue, but if you find the white border distracting, you can switch the desktop background to a solid colour, which does not have this issue.

To change the desktop background, right click on the desktop and select Desktop Settings.

X2Go - Desktop background solid colour

Unable to Access 'N:' Drive Files

From the Linux systems, the 'N:' drive files are usually available at:


Because of the way that the X2Go software works, if you disconnect, and then reconnect to a session, you may find yourself unable to access these files. From a terminal window you may see a message such as:

% ls /ds/shared
ls: reading directory /ds/shared: Permission denied

To work around this problem in a terminal session, you can run the command:

keyctl new_session

It should then possible to access the files at /ds/shared.

Unable to Access 'M:' Drive Files

This is not an issue with X2Go, but more generally something which can happen when using the Linux systems.

Access the 'M:' drive files, usually via the mdrive link in your home directory, may not work if your credentials have expired.

This may happen if you resume a session which has been idle for a long period.

The solutions is quite simple - just run the command kinit, and enter your Leeds password:

foe-linux-01{earabc}1648% kinit
Password for earabc@DS.LEEDS.AC.UK: