Virtual Desktop Service (x2go)

A Virtual Desktop (and SSH Gateway Service) for users of the CSF, and other research computing facilities administered by IT Services, is available. This service allows users to:

  1. Access the CSF, iCSF (or other facility) from anywhere in the world (once signed in to the VPN) via a remote Linux MATE desktop environment without needing to install Linux on your own system (a small, free, X2GO remote-desktop client does need to be installed);

    This has the advantage that you can login in to the remote desktop, and from there login to the CSF, iCSF (or other facility), from your office computer and begin work. You can then switch off this office machine, go home and then reconnect to the virtual desktop from home, carrying on from where you left off – anything that was running on the virtual desktop environment (in particular your CSF or iCSF logins) will still be there, as though you had never left the office!

    It also allows you to do interactive work over slow Internet connections from off-campus almost as conveniently as if working on campus.

    It is envisaged that this service will be of particular interest to those who frequently do GUI-based work on the iCSF (possibly CSF), for example with stata, Rstudio.

  2. Access the CSF, iCSF (or other facility) from anywhere in the world via a “traditional” SSH command-line session. This is now somewhat redundant because direct ssh off-campus access to the compute platforms is also available (once signed in to the GlobalProtect VPN.)

Please note: As with all ssh-based services on campus, you must first be signed in to the University VPN (GlobalProtect) with 2-factor authentication before accessing the services from off-campus. If you are on-campus you will be asked to perform a DUO 2FA authentication step, so you’ll need your DUO device (e.g., the mobile app or fob.)

Registering to use the service

If you wish to register to use this service, please email

We will set up your account and contact you when it is ready. Please then follow the setup guide appropriate to your desktop, laptop, home computer etc from the menu on the left.

Last modified on January 3, 2024 at 11:38 am by George Leaver