The Computational Shared Facility 3

Logging in from Windows

All logins to the CSF3 must be done with an SSH (secure shell) app. On Windows we highly recommend the free MobaXterm program, from Mobatek, (installation instructions given below) which provides everything needed to login to the CSF, run graphical programs and transfer files. It replaces the separate PuTTY, Xming and WinSCP programs we used to recommend.

Installation of MobaXterm is quick and simple and you do not require administrator access to your PC (simply download and extract a .zip file).

07.07.2021 – Note for users who already have MobaXterm installed – following reports of an issue with the left hand file browser pane of mobaxterm we have updated this documentation and now recommend that you use a saved SSH session to make your connection to the CSF3. Please see the Running Mobaxterm section below.

16.11.2022 – Note for users who already have MobaXterm v22.1 installed – please upgrade you installation to v22.2 or above. There is an issue in MobaXterm v22.1 which prevents drag-n-drop file-transfers from working when on-campus.

Please follow the steps below.

Download and Install MobaXterm

Please visit the MobaXterm download page and download one of the following packages:

  • The MobaXterm Home Edition (portable edition) – THE portable edition IS RECOMMENDED – it is a .zip file which can be unpacked anywhere without needing the Administrator password (ideal for your P-Drive for example).
    1. Right-click on the downloaded .zip file
      Right-click on the zip file and extract all
    2. Select Extract all…
      (note, you must do an Extract all…, simply double-clicking on the .zip file to browse the content will not install the software correctly!)
    3. This will create a MobaXterm_vX.Y folder containing the software (the X.Y numbers will change depending on the current version downloaded). Make a note of where this folder is (your Desktop? Your P-Drive? Your Downloads folder?)
  • Or the MobaXterm Home Edition (installer edition) – NOT recommended for campus PCs / University laptops, but can be installed on a personal laptop not owned by the University – it requires the Administrator password to install. If you do wish to do an administrator install, run the installer and follow any instructions.
    • This will put the MobaXterm Personal Edition icon on your dekstop (and in the Start Menu)

That’s it – the software is installed.

Running MobaXterm

    1. Start MobaXterm Personal Edition either from
      • the MobaXterm_vX.Y directory created when you unzipped the .zip file – double-click the MobaXterm_Personal_X.Y application (if you used the portable edition .zip file)
        Double-click the mobaxterm icon to run it
      • or the Start menu (if you used the installer edition)
    2. Select the “Session” button in the top left of the MobaXterm window:
      Click the Session button
    3. Select the “SSH” button in the top left. Enter the remote host as, tick the specify user box and enter your username in the username box, then click OK.
      Click the Session button
    4. The MobaXterm main window giving you an SSH connection to csf3 will open. Enter your central University IT password when asked (characters will NOT appear on screen as you type them, for security, so please type carefully – MobaXterm IS receiving characters from the keyboard!!). If you are connecting from ON-CAMPUS you will also need to authenticate with your 2FA device.

      If you use the Duo mobile app as your 2FA device, Enter ‘1’ at the prompt and press Enter. Once the push notification has been received via the Duo mobile app ‘Approve’ the request in order to log on.

    5. Enter a passcode or select one of the following options: 
      1. Duo Push to +XX XXXX XXX555
      Passcode or option (1-1):1


      If you use a Duo fob as your 2FA device, generate a passcode with the fob, type the passcode at the prompt and press Enter

      Duo two-factor login for username
      Passcode: 123456


      If logging in from off-campus you will first need to be connected to the University VPN (GlobalProtect) – You may already connect to the University VPN in order to access your email.

        • University managed laptops already have the GlobalProtect software installed. You can also download it and run it on your home PC/laptop.
        • If not already installed, please install the IT Services VPN Software (GlobalProtect) on your home PC/laptop.
        • This facility is provided by IT Services (not Research IT). Requests for help with the VPN and/or GlobalProtect should be made to via the Support Portal.
  • If you see an error:
    _ssh: Could not resolve hostname Name or service not known

    then your home ISP is very likely preventing the csf3.itservices.... name from being converted to IP numbers (BT Internet has this problem). This is because the CSF uses private 10.99.... IP numbers. Usually, when you are signed in to GlobalProtect, these private numbers (private to the University campus) then become available but not all ISPs allow this to work. It is not a problem with the CSF or GlobalProtect.

    The solution is to use the CSF IP numbers directly. Use one of the following in the Remote Host field:
  • You will be asked if you want to save your password in MobaXterm. We recommend you do not save your password for securityDo not save your password
  • You are now logged in to the CSF’s login node. Linux commands can be run as normal.

    To run GUI apps on the CSF

    If you intend to use GUI programs on the CSF (e.g., gedit which is a simple text editor similar to Notepad on Windows, or more complex applications interactively in the batch system) then you don’t need to do anything further – this all works by default when using MobaXterm. Further information on starting GUI applications is available in the qrsh batch command page.

    Last modified on November 16, 2022 at 9:59 am by George Leaver