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Blog PuTTY for Glasgow University Students 13/Oct/2003

If, like me, you're a third-year Computing Science student at the University of Glasgow, you might be somewhat at a loss as to how exactly to login remotely to the department server. You might want to do this if you want to check your e-mail, or to copy a file from your directory in uni to your home computer. (I should note at this point, that Matt Gemmell has posted some information on Remote Login via SSH for Mac Users.)

First thing's first: you'll need PuTTY (click on the Windows-style installer link, if you're lazy like me), an SSH client for Windows. Download and install it - I'm not going to patronise you so much as to tell you how to do this.

Now, load up PuTTY, and enter the Host Name (I'll not tell you this, for security reasons, but you could quite easily ask me or someone else in the lab), and select "SSH" as the protocol.

(At this point, you might want to save your settings, by filling in the text box under "Saved Sessions", and clicking on "Save".)

Click on "Open" to connect to the server. You might be asked whether or not PuTTY should trust the server - in the uni's case, I'm sure that you can say yes. You'll definitely be prompted with "login as:" whereupon you should enter your Unix username, and then for "%lt;username>'s password:", which will be your Unix password.

And once you've done that, you should have a fully-functioning shell. You can use pine, emacs, and any other text-based tool. (N.B. You can also use graphical apps, if you set up an X-Server on your machine, and configure X-forwarding in PuTTY. I'll leave that as an extra-credit exercise.)

Being able to access your filestore is only one part of the deal, though - you might also want to be able to copy files back and forth between uni and your computer. This is, unfortunately, slightly more complicated, and I shall endeavour to find an easier way to do this. When I do, I'll share it with you, but, in the mean time:

Once you've installed PuTTY, it makes life much easier if you add it to your path.

  • In Windows XP, this is achieved by going to the System Control Panel, clicking on the "Advanced" tab, then clicking on "Environment Variables". In the dialog that appears, in the "System Variables" list, locate the entry for "Path", then click on "Edit", and add the path to PuTTY, separated by a semi-colon. (Usually, the path to PuTTY will be "C:\Program Files\PuTTY". Because the path includes a space, make sure to include the double quotes.)
  • In Windows 9x, the task is complicated by having to edit the autoexec.bat file. Open it up in Notepad, and add the following line at the end of the file (assuming that it is in the default location):


    Now you'll have to restart, for changes to take effect.

Now that you've got that out of the way, open up a Command Prompt (MS-DOS Prompt in 9x), and use cd to get to the desired directory. (Just like in Unix, believe me.) At the same time, you might want to load up PuTTY, and find the path of the file(s) that you want to copy. To copy a file from the uni, type:

pscp <username>@<server name>:<filename, including path> .

(It goes without saying that you replace the expressions in angle brackets with the relevant information.) You will be prompted for your password, and the file should copy to the current directory.

If you want to copy a file to the uni, type:

pscp <filename> <username>@<server name>:<destination directory>

And, I think, that's just about it. Any further questions, please leave a comment, or ask me in person.




Mark e Boy said:
That just about covers it my man. Nice work





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