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PuTTY for Windows Help

The instructions on how to use PuTTY can also be found on the old BCNI Wiki page called GettingStartedWithLinux


PuTTY is used to securely connect your Windows machine with the BCNI server system. It can be used to make the connection while you are within the BCNI local network (at the ground floor of William Hardy Building on the Downing Site) or from anywhere else. Connecting outside the BCNI local network requires tunneling and will be explained after a less complex local connection is explained.

Connecting from the BCNI local network


When started PuTTY the following form should appear:


 (*Note that you are in the Session category seen in the panel on the left hand side)

The BCNI host name is bcni.psychol.cam.ac.uk and should be entered in the Host Name (or IP address) text box on the form. Port number should be 22 and Connection type SSH.

Now is a good time to save these settings so that you do not need to retype them every time you start PuTTY. You can give your "session" any name and click on the Save button in order to save the setting under your chosen name. The example below shows that the session is named localBCNI:

Since this session is saved it can be loaded any time PuTTY is started by clicking on the Load button.


Click on the Open button at the bottom of the PuTTY Configuration form in order to start the connection. The form should disappear and in its place a console showing a login prompt should appear (if no one has logged onto the BCNI server from your machine or profile before, you will be asked to "trust" the machine; say yes):


Use the login details that was sent to you by the BCNI system administrator when you applied for the server registration. The first time you log in, you should change your password using the yppasswrd command.

When you first log on, you will be connected to ironiron is the real name of the machine that appears on the internet as bcni.psychol.cam.ac.uk.

Because iron functions as a gateway machine to the BCNI network, and runs a number of essential services, it's not used as a compute server for data analysis. For this reason, it's not possible to create a VNC session on iron. Instead, you must log onto one of the other machines (bcni11, bcni12, bcni13, bcni14, bcni15, or bcni16) and start your VNC desktop there.

To do this, type e.g.

ssh bcni12

You will be prompted for your password again (the same Linux password works for all the Linux machines). You may also be asked if you trust the machine, as with PuTTY. Type yes.

Once you have logged on, your commands are going to the machine you have ssh-ed to (bcni12 in the example above).

Once you are logged onto a BCNI compute machine (e.eg. bcni12) you can create a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that shows your files and applications such as MATLAB or SPM in a similar way to the one you are use to in Windows. The software that enables this is VNC Viewer. The help on how to set up a VNCViewer session is given here.


Connecting outside of the BCNI local network (tunneling)


Run putty.exe again to connect to the Linux server, and log on.

In the 'host name' section of the dialog box, type bcni.psychol.cam.ac.uk, and make sure that SSH & port 22 are selected.

In the Saved Sessions section type in something like: 'BCNI-VNC' and press “save”. Now go to the Tunnels in the Catergory (left panel, SSH)

In Source Port type in: 5901, In Destination type: bcni12:5906 (06 because (bcni12:6) in this case it's the 6th desktop, it will start at 5900; a new number for each 'new' desktop)

Then press 'add' you will see something like this

L5901 bcni12:5906

Go back to session and make sure you save the tunnel by pressing 'save' and that you've saved it in the 'BCNI-VNC' and click OK to create the tunnel connection.

After you've done this go to your VNC-viewer. It will ask for a Server. Type in localhost:01 (01 because you set it at 5901) Then it will ask for your password, use the password you've also used in putty.