Easy and Free X-Windowing Setup with Cygwin

Today I had to carry out Oracle client Installation on one of the server. Normally I use vncviewer to connect to one of my Linux machine (having vncserver setup) and then get the display on to that machine.

But my colleague suggested me about one more approach, which I thought of sharing with all of you. This is using a X –Windowing software which is Free 🙂 Surprised!!

This can be done using Cygwin which is a freeware so you can trash your Reflection X or Hummingbird Installations. You can check various X-Windows software available here

Lets come back to Cygwin. You can download the software from http://x.cygwin.com/

To perform the Cygwin setup, you need to follow below steps

1) Start the XWindows server on your PC. This could be done by running startxwin-multiwindow file present on Desktop (Created during installation) or running /usr/X11R6/bin/startxwin.sh from cygwin

$ sh /usr/X11R6/bin/startxwin.sh

You can also use startx. For configuration check this link


3) Connect to the Unix/Linux machine and set the display to your machine. Use ipconfig command to get the IP address for your machine. E.g

C:\Documents and Settings\amit >ipconfig
Windows IP Configuration
Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:
        Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . : xyz.com
        IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : <strong></strong>
        Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : X.X.X.X
        Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : X.X.X.X

Now set the DISPLAY variable as

$export DISPLAY=

4) Test it by typing any application like xcalc,xclock,etc.

If X11 Forwarding is enabled on the remote machine, you can also directly login to server using ssh

$ssh [email protected] –X

Now you can carry out oracle Installation using runInstaller 🙂

2 thoughts on “Easy and Free X-Windowing Setup with Cygwin

  1. Cygwin is a pretty nice Environment for Unix commands under Windows. But if you only want to start a X-Server I usually recommend using Xming.

    But your approach of using vncserver is clearly preffered. It is faster over high latency networks and it allows to detach and resume a session. (the later could also be achieved by using NX but thats a bit more complicated to set up).

  2. Thanks Eckes..I was not aware of Xming. Nice to know there are other utilities too. Recently I came across one more tool (though it is not free) called HP Integrated Lights-Out 2 (iLO 2) which allows you to directly connect to the Unix server. We found it useful as our servers were located in different place having a policy of not allowing unsecured Remote access. So ILO provides Secured network access and we also found it to be faster. Thanks again for the info 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.