Remote Access

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Being able to remotely access our systems and do everything you would want to do from the comfort of home involves three components, VPN client, terminal emulator, and X Server

Cisco VPN client

All of our computer systems are only accessible by computers on the UMD network. The university provides a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service that allows you to be part of the university computer network even when off campus.

Download the VPN client, available from the university via their site:

  • After installing and running, connect to
  • use the UMD group, and enter your university username and password


  • Windows - PuTTY
    • If you want graphical windows (ie, if you're using Grads or want to edit a file with gedit, you will need an X Server installed.
      In this case be sure to enable X forwarding (in the Connection->SSH->X11 option on the left pane of PuTTY)
  • Mac - terminal client is already installed
  • Linux - if you're using linux, you should already know what you're doing!

X Server

The X server is required so that any program running on the remote linux server who wants to open up a nice graphical window on your computer can do so. Otherwise you will only be able to use the text based console windows. X Server for windows

  • For Mac, later versions of Mac OS require a separate X Server to be installed. For OS X Mountain Lion (and presumably for later versions as well), XQuartz is a good X Window system that plays nice with many linux applications you will encounter. You can read more about it here.