I have two laptops, one is installed with Ubuntu 10.04, the other one is installed with Windows XP. The Ubuntu laptop is located in one place with internet connection while the windows laptop is in another place with internect connection too.

I know, the putty client can be used to access a Linux mahine from windows. But not sure how exactly can I access my Ubuntu machine from my windows machine?

Is it so that I only need to find out the IP address of my Ubuntu machine, then use that IP address as the Host Name on Putty, then enter my Ubuntu laptop username and password on Putty on my windows machine , I will get the access to the Ubuntu machine? Or is there any other tricks I am missing?

  • Are you having a particular problem doing that? Oct 31 '11 at 20:23

You need to set up an SSH server on the linux machine first, search google for step-by-step instructions. Then, yes, use the IP address.

  • I think Ubuntu comes with the SSH server enabled by default, so that should be all he'd need to do.
    – Shadur
    Oct 31 '11 at 21:17
  • Mine is up, so you may be right. That's not very secure, especially considering most Ubuntu users should't need it until they know at least where to go to figure out how to set it up.
    – Kevin
    Oct 31 '11 at 21:28
  • Ubuntu's always been more focused on convenience than security, I'm afraid.
    – Shadur
    Oct 31 '11 at 21:51
  • At least they turn off SSH for root by default. Oct 31 '11 at 22:59
  • 1
    @Shadur Last I checked, Ubuntu included an ssh client in its default desktop installation, but no ssh server. The server installation might have included the ssh server by default, I'm not sure. Nov 1 '11 at 19:41

Another problem you might run into, though, since you said the two machines are on separate networks, is if the Ubuntu machine is behind a NAT firewall. Then the public IP address won't work. You'd have to forward ssh traffic on your NAT router to the Ubuntu machine.


In answer to your question you don't have to only use ssh, there are also graphical alternatives such as VNC and remote desktop sharing on Ubuntu.

Personally I've found cygwin and ssh to be a smoother experience than putty, you get a better shell and more tools. If you are accessing through the command line then you'll find screen and midnight commander very useful to make your environment more productive.

I used a Ubuntu 10.04 laptop recently and wanted to access it in a similar scenario, different networks and was shocked to find that ssh server was not installed by default.

If you need to do some NAT and have no access to the firewall or can't do that for some reason then there are some cross platform graphical desktop sharing solutions but most that I know of involve using a third party paid for service.


If you require access to your Linux desktop both Xming and Cygwin/X offer native X11 support, which should be more responsive than a VNC solution.

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