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Department of Computer Science

Technical Services and Support


Created 2015-08-28 by Hanz Makmur.

Modified: 2020-09-04 by Hanz Makmur: Added Mac OS X 10.15 Catalina bugs

X2Go is program that enable user to access full graphical interface of a Linux system remotely as if you are sitting in front of your computer. It is a new technology that is much faster and more responsive than the current XWindows session.

Please note X2Go is currently only available on limited machines and installed on all CS  Linux System only.


  • Make sure you have an account on the machine you want to login to. All CS users MUST create/activate his/her account before s/he can login. Account is not activated/created for you automatically regardless what you were told by your classmates, TAs or instructors.
  • To run X2Go, install a X2Go client software which runs on a WindowsOS, MacOS X and Linux. Please download and install the right X2Go client for your operating system and follow its installation note.

Note for MacOS X users:

  • If you are using MacOS X 10.15 (Catalina), make sure you update to the latest version. MacOS X 10.15 Catalina is full of bugs causing problems with XQuartz, control keys, key mapping, X2Go and many others.
  • If you are running MacOS X 10.8 or later, you will need to install XQuartz before installing X2Go client.
  • If you are running MacOS X 10.7 or prior, please install Apple supplied X11 (part of optional MacOS X install)

Connecting to X2Go Server

When you first run X2Go client, a new session window like below opens. Enter proper info shown.

We recommend all students to use machine named: which will randomly pick ilab1.cs, ilab2.cs or ilab3.cs. These are 3 new powerful machines we just purchased in the Summer 2018 and is located in our machine room.

Note: If you need a list of all iLab machines and their status see Please be aware of possible issues when using machines in the iLabs remotely, any machine may be rebooted without warning by whomever is in the lab accidentally or intentionally.

new session window

Under Media disable Sound and Client side printing support as shown below. These features are not currently supported.

disable sound and printing window

Once the OK button is click, you will be presented with the session windows as shown below. You can add or edit the session if you prefer by clicking the respective icon.
Session list window

To start a connection, click on the session and you will be presented with the login screen as shown below. Enter your NetID and Password and click OK to login.

active session windows

If this is the first time you connect to this machine, a dialog box like below is presented asking if you want to to trust the host key. Click Yes to confirm.

ssh keys confirmation dialog box

If everything is good, another windows will open and show you GUI session as if you are sitting in front of the machine with Mate window Manager. Click a video to learn more about MATE or see Ubuntu 18.04 Mate Final Release note.

Logging out properly

When you finish using the machine, make sure you logout of the session, otherwise, you may not be able to get back in.

To logout properly,  click on the  Wheel (1) icon on top/right side of the screen and select Logout (2) as show in the picture on the right. Closing the X2GO windows does not log you out properly.

On some circumstances, if you don’t logout, your session it will be terminated automatically and all unsaved work will be lost.

Suspending and Resuming Sessions

If you would like to suspend and resume with the same session at a later time, open a terminal and type

  • in bash: echo 5 > /var/run/user/$UID/KeepSession
  • in cshrc: echo 5 > /var/run/user/$uid/KeepSession

Number 5 means you get 5 hours to get back to it. The maximum time you can set is 36 hours.  You need to redo the above command to extend the time.

Possible Issues

  • if you have issue, with X2GO, try use Windows Remote Desktop to connect. It provides similar functionality like X2GO.
  • if you failed to start a session on  X2GO, try to use XFCE window manager. There seems to be an intermittent issue with MATE preventing users starting a session.
  • If you fail to login for the first time on X2Go, on login using SSH client  and  temporarily rename your .cshrc, .bashrc and/or .login to something else. It is possible something you set there interfere with the login process.
  •  Any problems with your X2Go session is recorded in .xsession-x2go-* file. Please be aware that if there are any issues with your session, this file will grow very quickly rendering you to go out of disk quota. If you are unable to login via X2Go, you can try using Windows Remote Desktop client or please go the iLab Hill 120, Hill 248 or Hill 252,  and login on any machine in the room. If you login remotely,  use SSH Client.  On login, a system check will be done and truncate these big x2go error files to restore your disk space.  Alternatively, you can try to login to a different iLab machines. All iLab machines are the same you can use any of them and your files will be there.
  •  X2Go needs space to create .x2go folder containing all specific x2go session. You can delete this folder to reset your x2go session any time in case you can’t login on any machine.
  • VMplayer Keyboard key mapping can get confused especially when you are running virtual machine with X2Go. A recommended fix is to add to ~/.vmware/config this line xkeymap.nokeycodeMap = "TRUE" If you  continue to have issues, please see VMWare and the fubar keyboard effect blog.

  • Please consult Keyboard Mapping on Linux host document for more info.
  •  vscode has issue with keyboard control keys and binding.  A recommended solution [no longer works with current version of vscode] is to create your own user workspace settings. Go to FILE > Preferences > Text Editor > Files > Edit in settings.json. You will see Preset entry,
    1. Just save it via FILE > Save
    2. Exit code via File > Exit
    3. Run it again and it will work
  • XFCE Tab/Shift keys does not work.
    This is a known issue with XFCE. See Xfce bug 10760. To fix it follow:
         1.Open the Xfce Application Menu > Settings > Window Manager
         2. Click on the Keyboard Tab
         3. Clear the Switch window for same application setting
  • if your shift key does not work, make sure you are using US Keyboard
  •  Some users experience character “p” and/or “Tab” do not work in X2GO with XFCE Session on some version of MacOSX.
    There are a few ways to fix this problem.
    1.  edit ~/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-keyboard-shortcuts.xml and remove all entries containing ‘super’.
    2. the ‘p’ key is lost when one shift focus from OSX to the x2go session. Tapping any modifier key (ctrl, option, command…) recovers it.
    3. Use other session manager like MATE (preferred) instead of XFCE.

Known Problems with X2Go

  • Install latest version of X2Go client if have issue. Recent operating system update on your machine may break older client.
  • Recommended Session type for CS machines are MATE and XFCE
  • Despite many listed Session managers in X2Go clients, only MATE and  XFCE are recommended Windows Manager on CS system.
  • X2Go does not work with GNome due to incompatibility and hardware dependency. If you must use Gnome, please connect using Microsoft Remote Desktop client.
  • X2Go does not work with KDE due to incompatible plasmashell requiring GLX 1.3.  If you must use OpenGL, please use Microsoft Remote Desktop client.
  • Suspended X2Go session containing graphical operation will run much slower than non suspended mode. Please be aware the suspended session will be terminated unless proper file is set. See details about KeepSession file above.
  • X2Go Sound and local printing may be broken depending on your client version.
  • X2Go “Shared folder” may not work depending on your client.

As always, if you continue to have issues, please direct Questions and Problems to Dont forget to include your NetID and name of machine you have problems with.  If you need to learn more about X2Go, see X2Go Website.