How do I get started with NX?

What is NX?

For years the X11 Window System (Xwin32/Putty on Windows, X11/Terminal on Mac) has been the defacto standard for remotely displaying a graphical user interface from an MSI workstation or cluster on your local client. The aged X11 technology provides a solid starting point for simple and lightweight graphical applications, but struggles with many of the modern graphics-intensive GUIs that are available with many of the software packages MSI supports.

The NX server/client system provides a modern, faster, and more reliable connection from remote Windows, Mac or Linux machines to MSI's constellation of Linux machines that span the various computational laboratories and core hardware. Unlike X11, NX transfers the complete desktop to your machine and provides a user experience much closer to that of working directly from an MSI Linux workstation. MSI runs the NoMachine NX server on 


Connecting to NX

Follow this guide to install and configure NX client on your computer. The screenshots shown below were taken on Mac OSX, but the process is identical on Windows.

Before You Begin

To use NX, your MSI home directory must not be group-writable. By default, your MSI home directory is read-only at the group level, so no action is needed. NX relies on SSH public key authentication, which fails if your homedir is group-writable.  If you have modified the permissions in the past, you can reset the correct permissions with: 

    chmod go-w ~

NX client 4.6.x is to be used for Windows and Linux machines, and Mac machines before OS X Lion. To install, please refer to the Client Configuration section below.

If you are using OS X Lion or a newer Mac operating system, you will need to install OpenNX.


Client Configuration

  1. If you do not have NoMachine installed on your computer already, do so by logging into MSI and downloading the NoMachine installer for your operating system. For further assistance, contact MSI support at

  2. Once you have installed the software, in the Mac's Finder, visit Applications and click on "". The first time you use the software it will open a window as shown in the image below. This is a welcome screen that asks if you want to create a new connection.  Click the big green plus sign to create a new connection.


3. You will be taken to the new connection wizard.  First is the protocol selection screen.  Select NX.  Press Continue.


4. Next is the host screen.  In the host box input  Leave the port at 4000.  Select Continue.


5. At the authentication screen be sure password is selected.  Select Continue.


6. Don't use a proxy.  Continue.


7. Give a name to your connection.  The default is "Connection to <hostname>".  Select Done.


8. You will now be at the recent connections screen.  You should see your newly created connection.  Select your connection and press Connect.

Connection Screen


9. You will be prompted to login with your MSI credentials.  Input username and password and select OK. 


10. A new default virtual desktop is created for you.  Select the new virtual desktop and press Connect. 


  1. The first time you use the software you will see some information screens. If you do not want to see the information screens each time, check the box labeled "Don't show this message again". Click the "Ok" button.

  1. You should now be connected:



Accessing Software Modules

To prevent from being heavily loaded, we do not allow users to run their processes / programs on it. only provides a gateway for users to access other MSI Linux resources and supercomputers (but not lab workstations). Users can ssh to other MSI interactive nodes or use isub to run their processes. To do so, once you have used NX to login to, open a terminal by using the menu that you obtain by right-clicking on the desktop (as shown in image below).


In the terminal, you can type isub or you can type, "ssh -X”. Make sure that you replace the username with your MSI username and the with one of the MSI machines that you normally use, such as itasca, lab, etc. Press "Enter”. The terminal prompts you to enter your password.

Update:  We are experiencing minor issues with NX.  If you try to connect to you might  get a notice that the server's host key has changed and that the connection may be 'dns hijacked'.  Unfortunately this unavoidable as the server's key did in fact change, as we are re-using the hostname .  The users will have to click through the warning and it'll be gone.

Please contact if you have  any questions.