Kicking Up X server from another machine

So, you have a brand new installation of Linux, but when the X tried to kick it up everything went kaput!

So what do you do? You panic as usual! Now to edit something also you would require some sort of GUI ( Not everyone can get comfy and cozy on command prompts…).

Ok so now that we are stuck in a situation where there is no GUI and you have no clue on command line utilities like links or wget, then there is an alternative for you.  Most of the times people end up in this situation coz the graphics driver did not work or was not setup or downloaded. So the first priority will be to get em and kick up the Xserver and all the graphical goodies that X brings about.

Lucky for us the Linux GUI subsystem, the X, runs on Client Server model. This means that graphics could be handled by one machine, and processing by another. Or in our scenario, the GUI part of the screwed up system can be handled by your other system, at least till the point of you fixing the first machine.

Lets get down to business, Shall we?

For my trick to work, you need a few things.

A.  A second machine on the same LAN.

B. Your Lan configuration was setup correctly during the Linux install. ( If not, I will not be discussing how, but you can take a look here -> ).

Now, if the second machine is again Linux based, then great. you can bring it up with a lil effort.

If it is Windows based, then you need an X-server. Commercial ones include Exceed ( ) and Reflection X ( ). On the free side of things, I’m a big fan of Xming ( ) which is an open source alternative to X for windows.


So now you have X for windows, or X server running on Linux. First step is startup X server on the second machine to accept the X connection from newly installed Linux machine.

So if the second machine is Linux, just type this from a console.

X -ac :1

This will kick up X server on display port 1 (You can access this by pressing (ctrl +) alt + F8(or F7) . Since 0 is the default, that will be running on F7 for that machine, the next F key, F8 will become 1 and that instance of Xserver will be able to handle display from the screwed system.


So What if the machine is Windows based. ?

Assuming that you installed Xming (other tools will also have almost similar setup, though you are own your own for those ones.).

Click on Xlaunch button. You should see a wizard. Here make sure you select “full screen” and also ensure that “No Access restriction ” or ac check box is ticked. Everything else should be defaults.


This should dump you to an empty X window (a full screen window with nothing on it, except for a weird weave pattern , u can switch out by pressing windows key or ctrl+esc).


Now you are all set.

Now login into the command prompt from the screwed machine, and type this

export DISPLAY “<ipaddress of the other machine>:1”     In case of Linux (coz we started in 1)  

export DISPLAY “<ipaddress of the working machine>:0”    In case of windows.

Once that is done you can bring up the GUI on the Working windows machine by typing

gnome-session &

else if KDE is what you are looking for then

kde &

Please note that you cannot issue startx this way, doesn’t work for some reason.

Now you should see some warnings here, but if u look at the X server on the second machine, you will see the Linux Gnome/KDE prompt come up on that machine. From this point on, you can hunt of the drivers for the X or seek help for configuring Xserver on the broken machine. Also note that this same method can be used for Unix based systems though I have never tried it..

Happy Tuxing 🙂

Technorati Tags: ,,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s