Support for Exceed will be discontinued.
Please have a look at the options to access Linux GUI sessions

In order to display the output of GUI Linux applications or entire desktop sessions on your Windows desktop, BCF supports (for as long as it lasts) Hummingbird Exceed, which provides an X server for that purpose on your Windows computer.

Installing Exceed


The hummbird software is no longer available for installation.
(It was actually removed somewhere after 20170922, the date of a support ticket that pointed to the then existing path for download)

If you already have installed Exceed, you may want to read on at Installing PuTTy and then using it.

  1. Start the installer \\campusmp2\software\hummbird\V14\Exceed\Msetup.exe

  2. Choose "Install Exceed"

  3. Choose a personal installation.
  4. Choose English.
  5. Click Next, then accept the license agreement.
  6. Enter your name and organization, and install the product for "Anyone who uses this computer".
  7. Accept the default destination folder.
  8. Choose "Per user directory".
  9. Choose the "Typical installation".
  10. Deselect both options on the next page.
  11. Click next to install Exceed.
  12. Restart your computer if prompted to do so by the Exceed setup. Do not skip this, this will result in an error later.
  13. Configure Exceed using Xconfig:
    • Security: No host Access
    • Communication → Startup: Passive
    • Video:
      Screen 0 → Window Mode: Multiple

    ( Sorry, these shortcuts do not work anymore
    Install the correct version of the BCF connection software: Accept all defaults for the installation. This will install 2 shortcuts on your desktop that you can move to any location you want.
  14. )

Installing PuTTY

All recent (from 2010) PCs as delivered by BCF will have PuTTY installed.


  • Open the PuTTY Download Page. and start putty‑X.XX‑installer.exe to install it.
  • Accept the default location for the installation folder.

Starting the GUI application or session

  • Click on the BCF Linux Login (Desktop) shortcut.
  • The following batch window will open

    Enter your username at the first prompt. Enter the hostname of the target machine at the second prompt, leaving out the .win.tue.nl part.
  • If this is the first time connecting to the target machine, you will be warned that the machine is unknown. Enter yes (not y) to continue connecting.
  • Lastly, enter your password.
  • Your default desktop will start up in your Exceed window now.

  • Do not close the SSH batch window. It is necessary to maintain a secure connection to the target machine. It should disappear automatically once you close Exceed.

    • Start Xceed
      The Xceed icon (with the head) will appear in your status bar
      and nothing else will appear for now.

    • Start PuTTY

    • Make sure that X11 forwarding is enabled at
      Connection → SSH → X11:

    • In the PuTTY navigation area, scroll back to Session, select it and open a session on the Host of your choice.

    • In the PuTTY window, on the remote commandline session:

      • At your first session, and if GUI applications report that they "Can't open display", check that X11 forwarding is working by executing:

        $ echo $DISPLAY

        If this variable appears to be undefined, do not define it manually but go back to the SSH → X11 settings.

      • Start one of:

        • A single GUI application such as:

          • xclock (for a simple test)
          • matlab
          • mathematica
          • python /usr/share/doc/gnuplot-py-*/demo.py

        • A full-fledged Linux desktop environment
          inside your windows Desktop environment.

        • A few of the session-starters are:

          • gnome-session
          • startxfce4
          • startkde

          To find all of them:

          grep Exec /usr/share/xsessions/*.desktop

      Possible first time warning

      Note that the first time that you start Exceed, Windows may warn you that it is trying to let other machines access your computer through the firewall.

      Please make sure to choose Unblock, otherwise Exceed will not work.


      Old settings for Exceed that are no longer needed

      • Display and Video :
        Common Settings → Reset X Server When Last X Client Exits
        Just keep the default setting, which is to Reset indeed.

        In the past, it was needed to switch it off, else all of the efford done by the specially crafted mathematica starter to add the necessary special fonts by xset (also an X Client, and the only one during startup, silently working behind the scenes, exited when done) to the Exceed GUI environment got lost by this Reset-on-exit action.

        There is no special mathematica starter anymore and mathematica now still seems able to feed the special fonts somehow into the GUI-environment itself without starting xset.

        The special fonts appear in the list provided by mathematica itself but not in the Exceed font configuration.

      Infrequently Asked Questions

      Exceed only shows a window with a gray background, and the batch window disappears immediately?
      Please make sure that the SSH command line tools are located somewhere in your path. Choose Start -> Run, and enter cmd. Enter ssh2 in the resulting window. If this results in an error message about the command not being found, please restart your PC to make sure all the settings are ok.
      How can I make Exceed take over the whole screen?
      This question mostly applies to desktop mode. You can edit the X server settings by opening C:\Program Files\BCF\BCF Exceed\sshdesktop.xcfg. Choose Display and Video, and then check the box before Full Screen, just below Root Size.
      How do I configure Exceed without the BCF shortcuts?
      Make sure to do the following:
      • Choose No Host Access in the Security settings
      • If you want to use mathematica, uncheck Enable Server Reset in Display and Video, Common Settings. With enable server reset, the mathematica-starter script will not be able to add the neccessary fonts in passive mode (see below).

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      Questions? Mail to helpdesk.win@tue.nl