High-Performance Computing at the NIH

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Connecting to Helix with PuTTY

PuTTY is a free implementation of Telnet and SSH for Win32 and Unix platforms, along with an xterm terminal emulator. It is written and maintained primarily by Simon Tatham.

Installing PuTTY

NOTE for Vista/7 users: To complete the following steps, administrative privileges are probably required. If you do not have administrative privileges, please contact your local desktop tech for further assistance.

Because PuTTY is continuously updated, you should download the latest version of the installer from http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html (filename will be something like putty-<version>-installer.exe) and install it on your machine. We currently recommend you select the latest development snapshot rather than release version beta 0.61, as the snapshot supports GSSAPI authentication.

Once PuTTY is installed, start PuTTY by double-clicking the icon created on your desktop or go to
Start -> Programs -> PuTTY.

Setting up sessions in PuTTY

When starting PuTTY, you will see a dialog box. This dialog box allows you to control everything PuTTY can do. In the 'Host Name' box, enter helix.nih.gov or biowulf.nih.gov.

Enter host name

You don't need to change most of the configuration options, but here are a few suggestions for Helix systems' use:

The Backspace Key

Set backspace key to Control H

The Window Title

Set Window Title

Enable X11 Forwarding (for running X-Windows applications)

Enable X11 Forwarding

After making your configuration changes, be sure to save the session so you will not have to reconfigure PuTTY each time.

Save session

Creating icons on your Windows desktop

Right-click the PuTTY icon on your desktop, then left-click "Properties".

Change PuTTY Properties

In the "Target" box under the Shortcut tab, type -load "helix" or -load "helix.nih.gov" after putty.exe:

Edit properties

Click on the 'General' tab and change the name from PuTTY to helix, then click the OK button.

Changing icon name

Double-click on the helix icon to login to helix

Helix icon

To create an icon for any of the other systems, be sure to make a copy of the helix or PuTTY icon, then change the properties of the copy.

Copy icon

Paste copy


For more in-depth knowledge of PuTTY, see the PuTTY Documentation Page

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