MobaXterm (windows terminal client)

Windows users are strongly recommended to connect to JASMIN using the freely available MobaXterm  This article provides information about:

  • Downloading and installing MobaXterm
  • Basic usage
  • Setting up MobAgent to store your private key
  • Additional features

Downloading and installing MobaXterm

Download the free Home edition of  MobaXterm

There are 2 editions available:

  • "Portable" edition (can be installed as a regular user)
  • "Installer" edition (may need admin privileges on your machine)

Both editions should be functionally the same once installed, but your choice may depend on what level of access you have to your Windows machine.

Screen recording of install / setup process:

Note: These instructions apply to MobaXterm version 12.3. For other versions, please check MobaXterm documentation and note that there was an issue with version 12.2 which prevented some users from accessing JASMIN. Earlier versions e.g. 11.1 are known to work but the instructions differ slightly from those shown below.

For the "portable" edition, the contents of the downloaded zip file should be extracted to a folder (eg. on your Windows desktop) where you can double-click the executable file "MobaXterm_Personal_xx.x" (where xx.x is the version number).

Note that the "CygUtils.plugin" file should remain in this folder as this is used for storing settings.

Once opened, MobaXterm presents a screen like this:

Click the "Start local terminal" button to open a terminal window where you can type Linux-like commands.

You can have multiple tabs with a different terminal session in each tab. MobaXterm provides a terminal for Windows with X11 (graphics) support and a  have multiple sessions open in .

Basic usage

In its simplest form, MobaXterm provides an application that allows you to open multiple tabbed shell terminals on the local and/or remote machine. The screenshot below shows a multiple tabs each with its own terminal session, the active one logged into a JASMIN server.

Enabling MobaAgent to store your private key

In order to log in to a remote host (e.g. a jasmin host) you need to present your private key. Normally you would have to specify this each time you issue a login command. MobaXterm provides MobAgent which can store your key for the time you are running MobaXterm, and can then present the key for you, for any session in any tab.

To use this, you need to enable MobAgent in  MobaXterm's Settings / Configuration / SSH:

To do this:

  • "Default login" should be your own username on JASMIN (replacing the text "username" in the above example).
  • Tick "Use internal SSH agent "MobAgent"
  • UN-tick "Use external Pageant"
  • Tick "Forward SSH agents"
  • Click the "+" symbol to locate your private key file (e.g. id_rsa_jasmin)
  • Click OK to save the settings. MobaXterm will now need to restart.
  • When you restart MobaXterm you will be prompted for the passphrase associated with your private key.

Once MobaXterm has started, you can now start a local terminal as before, but can confirm that your key is loaded with the command below:

 ssh-add -l

You should see something similar to the output below.

2048 SHA256:iqZ3NkPCpschVdqPxVde/uvap2aM0mXaAYYcdzBGPaI Imported-Openssh-Key: C:\Users\<username>\Documents\MobaXterm\home\id_rsa_jasmin (RSA)

If so, then your key is loaded and you should be able to issue a login command without being prompted for your passphrase again. This replaces the need for 

eval $(ssh-agent -s)

and for the -A flag on the initial SSH login command.

Additional features

MobaXterm is a comprehensive application that enables many useful features such as:

  • Saved session configurations
  • X-forwarding
  • SSH agent forwarding
  • SFTP access (with graphical drag-n-drop)
  • Split-tab mode
  • SSH tunnelling
  • Basic Linux commands such as: cd, ls, pwd, cat
  • Command-line transfer utilities: scp, rsync, wget

Please see the  MobaXterm documentation for details on these.