HOWTO establish a remote desktop on the ifarm starting from Windows
You will have to have privilege to download and run software on your Windows machine.
Note 1: in the following port 5904 is specified (":5904" and ":4") but any number from 5901 to 5999 (:1 to :99) can be used. You will have avoid any port already in use by others.
Note 2: ifarm1401 is specified here, but the instructions should work on any ifarm node.
1. Establish an SSH tunnel to do VNC:
Do the usual double hop ssh into the ifarm (this time ifarm1401), but with special port assignments
ssh -L5904:localhost:5904 firstname.lastname@example.org ssh -L5904:localhost:5904 ifarm1401
2. In that session, start a VNC server session:
You will have to choose a password. Don't re-use an important one.
3. Download the vnc viewer from
and run it. The program will likely be in your Downloads folder.
4. Select your server in VNC Viewer:
In the entry box, type
You should be prompted for your password. You should then see a virtual desktop on the ifarm at JLab.
5. Start a window manager.
In the terminal session on the desktop type
and the windows will have borders.
6. More terminal sessions
To start a new session, right click on the desktop and choose "New Window"
NB: You may from time to time find a conflict with other ifarm users using the same VNC port as you. The example above uses port 5904. If you encounter a conflict switch another port of the form 5900 + n. In the example, n = 4 has been chosen, but that is arbitrary. Note that when starting the server (vncserver) and connecting to the server with the viewer (VNC Viewer), you use n (e. g., vncserver :4, localhost:4) rather than the full port number. For the ssh step the full port number is required (e. g., 5904).