Home Computing Advice for Windows Users


There are three main ways you can write code from your own computer:

If you don't have much experience and will have an internet connection avaiable, we recommend you start out with Connecting to CSE from Windows.

If you won't have an internet connection available and want to try working directly on your own computer, have a look at Writing + Compiling code on Windows.

If you're going well and want a challenge, have a go at Trying Linux on your Windows computer.

Connecting to CSE from Windows

You have two options to connect to CSE from your personal computer:

ssh: connect to a CSE terminal

note: these instructions are in the process of being updated; if you check back in a few days they'll be much more detailed.
  1. Install putty.exe. PuTTY will allow you to login remotely to CSE's servers and run command line programs such as gcc.

  2. Install Xming. Xming will allow you to run from home graphical (X windows) programs on CSE's servers such as gedit.

  3. Configure PuTTY and Xming as described here: more info about accessing CSE's login server.

    Make sure you can:

    1. log into your CSE account (login.cse.unsw.edu.au) as Host Name in putty and click open
    2. run
      gedit example.c &
      and see if the window appears on your home machine
    3. compile one of your C programs using dcc

The combination of PuTTY & Xming should be sufficient to perform all {{course_code}} work.

If you get a message "Error: Can't open display:" when you try to run gedit that means Xming isn't running or you haven't enabled X11 Forwarding in PuTTY (scroll down to section 3.1).

Editing Files on Windows

It can be helpful to be able to create & edit files on your home machine. This will let you work without an internet connection - e.g. on a laptop on the train home.

You can download gedit for Windows.

Many other editors are available.

Transferring Files to/from CSE on Windows

Many students use WinSCP to transfer files to/from CSE.

Here is comprehensive HowTo

PuTTY PSCP provides similar capabilities to PSCP.

Summary (all platforms) for remote access to files at CSE: here

Writing + Compiling code on Windows

Compiling C Programs on Windows

There are number of C compilers & development environment available for windows - all should be suitable to compile & test programs for {{course_code}}.

TDM-gcc provides a very easy to install version of gcc. You can download it here

Trying Linux on your Windows computer

If you want more Linux features available trying installing CSE Ubuntu virtual machine. Beware you need a virtual machine may be slow unless you have a reasonable new computer with at least 4GB of memory. CSE Ubuntu is several gigabytes in size. If you have limited download capacity, you might like to bring a memory stick into one of the computing labs and transfer it that way.

After you have installed it. Check that you can:

  1. create a local subdirectory (under the Work directory)
  2. transfer a file from your CSE account to the local directory
  3. edit it locally using gedit
  4. compile it locally using gcc
  5. transfer the edited file back to your CSE directory

Once you are comfortable with Putty/Xming and/or CSE-Ubuntu, and if you are feeling ambitious, you can could try installing Wubi or a full installation of Linux in a separate partition (make sure you have backups!). CSESoc periodically has installfests where they'll assist you with installing Linux, Wubi or just PuTTY/Xming.

Yet another way to compile programs on your personal computers is to install Cygwin and WinSCP. For Cygwin, you should start by installing just the base, devel and util packages. You can install more packages later, as you need them.