Optimal PuTTY Settings for CS Servers

Since University of Regina Computing Services recommends PuTTY as the standard terminal emulation program for campus use, the Department of Computer Science also recommends that PuTTY be used for contacting CS servers, such as hercules and venus. If students wish to try other programs, they should ensure that the other terminal emulation software is capable of connecting via SSH Protocol 2.

Users can obtain PuTTY from the Computing Services Download page at http://www.uregina.ca/is/infrastructure/network/downloads/. This download has been partially configured for connections to servers at the Univesity of Regina. However, it does not include all of the Computer Science servers, nor does it provide optimal configuration options for our servers. This page contains information about how to adjust the configuration for best use of our servers.

Note that the latest version of PuTTY is always available from ftp://ftp.cs.uregina.ca/pub/PCsoftware/PuTTY/. This version is a direct mirror of the PuTTY source site and does not include any premade configuration settings.

Once PuTTY is installed, the following configuration page will open when you double click the PuTTY icon on your desktop, or select it from your menu or "Quick Launch" bar.

Note that a number of these settings can be made on-the-fly, from an active login session, by right-clicking on the PuTTY icon in the title bar and selecting "Change settings ...".

Select Hercules

Hercules is the only Computer Science system that comes configured in the Computing Services download. Select hercules.cs.uregina.ca and click the Load button.

Select Hercules
Keyboard Settings

Click the "Terminal->Keyboard" Category

  1. Change the "Function keys and keypad" setting to "ESC[n~";
  2. Set the "The Backspace key"
    To "Control-? (127)"
    If you plan to test C++ programs, use emacs, or use the older login shells sh or ksh.
    To "Control-H"
    If you wish to use the historically correct setting.
Note that this setting can be changed while your terminal session is active by right-clicking on the PuTTY icon in the title bar and selecting "Change Settings ...".

Keyboard Settings
Enabling the Numeric Keypad

PuTTY allows for mapping the numeric keypad to programmable functions within advanced editors (such as vi/vim/emacs/etc). For most users this is a pain and they would prefer that the numeric keypad act as a numeric pad when "Num Lock" is engaged and as a scroll pad otherwise.

To retain the latter behaviour, select the "Terminal->Features" Category.

  1. Select the "Disable application keypad mode" setting
  2. Select the "Disable switching to alternate terminal screen" setting.
Note that the other items shown as selected on this screen are good choices for session security.
Numeric Keypad
Enabling Line Drawing (Optional)

Some remote applications make use of Line Drawing Characters. These characters make use of 8-bit ASCII characters to define simple line drawing elements. Note that the default use of 8-bit ASCII characters is to provide foreign language accent characters. If you regularly use application(s) that make use of line drawing, and seldom use application(s) that have foreign language accents, then you may wish to change this setting. Note that grader is an application that uses line drawing. If you see a rows or columns of solid block characters on the screen, you may be using an application that has line drawing elements.

Note that this setting can be changed on-the-fly.

Enabling Line Drawing
Setting the Terminal Type

The settings that you have made so far are designed to work with a host terminal type that understands these selections.

Select the "Connection->Data" Category. Change the "Terminal-type string" to putty.

Set Terminal Type
Enabling Printing (Optional)

If you have a local printer, you can enable it so that you can directly print from host applications to your local printer. Note that you typically do this via "TeraPrint" or the new "PuTTYPrint" applications.

Select the "Terminal" Category. At the bottom of the settings is a drop down box that will display the names of locally known printers. It may also include an option "Print to File" if you have configured such a printer. Select the printer that you wish to use to locally print remote files.

Note that this setting can also be changed in an active terminal session. Right click the PuTTY icon in the title bar and select "Change Settings...".

Enabling Printing
Silencing the Bell (Optional)

The long since obsolete physical CRT terminals had the capability to make an alert sound in the event of an error. PuTTY emulates this behavior. However, this behaviour may not be wanted on a PC operating in a communal environment.

To modify this behaviour, select the "Terminal->Bell" Category. For strictly silent operation, select the "Visual bell (flash window)" setting. Alternatively, you could adjust the settings at the bottom of the panel to reduce the frequency of the alarm bell.

Of course, if you are especially proud of your errors, you can also have PuTTY play a sound file of your choice.

Silencing the Bell
Saving Your Changes

Select the "Session" Category and click the Save button.

Saving Changes
Creating a Connection for Venus

Faculty and Grad Students need to be able to connect to Venus. Modify both the "Host Name" and Saved Session name to venus.cs.uregina.ca. Click the Save button.

Creating the Venus Connection
Using X-Windows Applications (Optional)

The CS Unix systems provide a large number of X-Windows (GUI) applications. In order to make use of them via PuTTY, you need to install additional software and instruct this session to forward X11 over the connection.

You must first of all install an X11 emulator for MS/Windows©. We recommend the excellent open-source "Xming X Server for Windows". This is free software. You can download Xming from http://sourceforge.net/projects/xming/.

We recommend that you also click on the "View all files" button, and download and install the "Xming-fonts" setup package.

Once you have installed an X11 emulator, you must start it before starting your PuTTY session. When starting PuTTY, open the "SSH->X11" configuration window and select the "Enable X11 forwarding" checkbox.

Note that this is not a selection that you should make as part of your default settings.

Using X-Windows Applications
First Hercules Login

The first time that you connect to a system, PuTTY will present a "Security Alert" dialog so that you can confirm that you are connecting to the system that you intended to. If you are at all security conscious, confirm that the rsa2 key fingerprint contains the same text as shown. Select the Yes button to permanently accept connections to this host.

First Hercules Login
First Venus Login

See the above comments for the connecting to Hercules. Note that Venus has a different rsa2 key fingerprint.

First Venus Login
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