Last modified:September 19, 2019

remote desktop access

There are 2 remote desktop clients available: NoMachine and X2go. NoMachine is deprecated (not supported), so I recommend using X2go.


To use X2Go, first enable 2-step authentication:

Then install the X2Go client:


To use NoMachine, download and configure the appropriate version for your operating system:

Mac OSX: Download the NoMachine NX client version 5, and configure with the NoMachine client v5 instructions.

Windows: Download the NoMachine NX client version 3, and configure with the NoMachine client v3 instructions.

(Only NoMachine clients versions 3 though 5 are compatible with our server.)


for best performance...

  1. run no more than 3 CPU-intensive jobs within your remote desktop session

    If jobs within your session use more than 3 processor cores (300% cpu), then those jobs will be restricted to a single CPU core.

    To run multiple jobs simultaneously, use Grid Engine. Grid Engine distributes jobs across the cluster for optimal performance.

  2. avoid secure shell (SSH)

    You may use secure shell to log into another workstation, but jobs started via secure shell run at low priority. Use Grid Engine to run jobs in parallel; Grid Engine balances the load, so you don’t need to.

  3. Use your local web browser to display the Jupyter Notebook.

If you experience network lag,

  1. In the office, use a wired network connection. Shared wireless networks may cause lag if somebody is transferring data.

  2. Disable backup software on your computer (dropbox, Google drive, Box, etc)

  3. confirm that your (graphics) application uses a graphics processor to render images. The following applications use a graphics processor:

    If matlab renders images slowly, then precede the matlab command with a ‘g’, for example ‘gmatlab-2014a-spm12’.
    WARNING: do not run gmatlab in a script, because gmatlab will slow down your analysis.

    For a full list of applications that use a graphics processor, run ‘gapp’ from the command line. If your program isn’t listed, then email

  4. email

    include the following information:

    • nature of problem, e.g. slow screen updates, analysis takes longer to complete, etc
    • name of workstation, e.g. nx1
    • name of program/application
    • command line used to run program
    • error message

See also

On Windows NoMachine clients, the MATLAB window refresh rate may be slow. For more information, see MATLAB Performance.


If your NoMachine client isn’t responding, you may force terminate your session with the nxclean command.

If you have problems with your X2Go client, then please contact me at