You can use FastX to connect to your EWS Linux account remotely from Windows or MacOS. EWS provides both a browser based interface as well as a desktop client.
Connecting with the browser client:
- Go to
- Log in with your netid and AD password
- Click on "Launch Session" and choose MATE. (Your broswer pop-up blocker may compain here, but you can click "go to my session"
Connecting with the desktop client:
To get started you will need to download the latest FastX2 client from Webstore:. There is no longer any need to register the FastX2 client.
Once the FastX Desktop Client is installed on your computer, follow these instructions to configure it for EWS.
Update 8/31/2016 for Mac users. Due to the way the Mac OS handles SSH keys and DNS lookups, you will need to use a different host address for the FastX server on Step 4 below. The "Host" should be: fastx-mac.ews.illinois.edu.
How to Configure the FastX2 desktop client
- Start FastX
- Click the 'plus' sign to add a new connection, and select “SSH”
- Enter the following information: (Note: For the Mac OS client, use "fastx-mac.ews.illinois.edu" as the Host. Windows clients use the host in the picture below.)
5. Remember to click the 'Save' button after you have entered the above information
6. Double click the connection
7. Enter your password
8. Use the + icon to launch a new graphical session. MATE is the only available option. Double click the MATE icon to launch the graphical session.
Notes on EWS's FastX configuration
- When you're done using FastX, logout of the session similar to how you would at a physical workstation. If you just close the FastX window, your session will be "disconnected". Disconnected sessions will be terminated after 10 minutes of non-use.
- If your Internet connection drops, you should be able to reconnect into a disconnected session (as long as it's within 10 minutes of getting disconnected.) That's an improvement over the NX configuration!
- EWS maximum session lengths (currently 24 hours) are still in effect for FastX sessions, and the error message FastX reports in that scenario can be scary looking. To avoid this, logout of unused sessions instead of letting them "idle out".
If you have any questions please contact ews [at] illinois [dot] edu
Questions about this topic? Don't see what you're looking for?
Email engrit-help [at] illinois [dot] edu, call the Help Desk at 217-333-1313, or contact your primary IT support professional.