Installing and running an X Server on Windows

This tutorial explains how to install an X-Server on Windows. We will use the VcXsrv, a free X-server for this purpose.


  • Download the installer from here

  • Run the installer.

    • Select Full under Installation Options and click Next

    • Select a target folder

To Run the Server:

  • Open the XLaunch program (most likely on your desktop)

  • Select Multiple Windows and click Next

  • Select Start no client and click Next

  • On the Extra settings window, click Next

  • On the Finish configuration page click Finish

You have now started your X Server.

Set up your console

In the Git bash or the windows command line (cmd) terminal, before you connect to an ssh server, you have to set the used display. Under normal circumstances, VcXsrv will start the Xserver as display 0.0. If for some reason the remote graphical user interface does not start later on, you can check, the actual display by right-clicking on the tray-icon of the X Server and select Show log. Search for DISPLAY in the log file, and you will find something like:


In your terminal enter:


Now you are set up to connect to the server of your choice via:

ssh -Y

Notice, that on windows you will likely need the -Y flag for X Server connections, since it seems -X does not normally work.