Episode 102 – Mobatek’s MobaXterm


Enhanced terminal for Windows with X11 server, tabbed SSH client, network tools and much more

MobaXterm is your ultimate toolbox for remote computing. In a single Windows application, it provides loads of functions that are tailored for programmers, webmasters, IT administrators and pretty much all users who need to handle their remote jobs in a more simple fashion.

MobaXterm provides all the important remote network tools (SSH, X11, RDP, VNC, FTP, MOSH, …) and Unix commands (bash, ls, cat, sed, grep, awk, rsync, …) to Windows desktop, in a single portable exe file which works out of the box. More info on supported network protocols

There are many advantages of having an All-In-One network application for your remote tasks, e.g. when you use SSH to connect to a remote server, a graphical SFTP browser will automatically pop up in order to directly edit your remote files. Your remote applications will also display seamlessly on your Windows desktop using the embedded X serverSee demo

You can download and use MobaXterm Home Edition for free. If you want to use it inside your company, you should consider subscribing to MobaXterm Professional Edition: this will give you access to much more features and the “Customizer” software.

They have a live demo ( short screencasts) on their website to highlight some of the key features of the application:


MobaXterm Features

MobaXterm tabbed terminal

From this console window, you will be allowed to run the Unix commands you need: ls, cd, grep, awk, tail, cut, sed, wget, rsync, telnet, ssh, rlogin, rsh … All the essential Unix tools are present. If you need a program that is not available in the basic MobaXterm file, you can download the free plugins.

MobaXterm tabbed terminal

Sessions management

MobaXterm allows you to launch remote sessions. You can choose to create SSH, Telnet, Rlogin, RDP, VNC, XDMCP, FTP, SFTP or Serial sessions. Every session you start is automatically saved and displayed in the left sidebar.

Sessions manager

Graphical SFTP browser

When you log to a remote server using SSH, a graphical SFTP browser pops up on in the left sidebar. It allows you to drag and drop files directly from/to the remote server using a secure SFTP connection.

Graphical SFTP browser

Portable and Light Application

MobaXterm has been packaged as a single executable which does not require admin rights and which you can start from an USB stick

X11 server

When you run a SSH, TELNET or RLOGIN/RSH session you will be able to display your remote applications directly on your local Windows PC. In a SSH session, there is no need to set the “DISPLAY” variable as MobaXterm uses X11-forwarding in order to ease and secure your work.

X11 server

Enhanced X extensions

The embedded X server based on X.org provides the latest features available in recent X server implementations: extensions such as OpenGL, Composite or Randr are included. Xdmcp protocol is also supported.

Enhanced X extensions

Easily Exported Display Variable

DISPLAY is exported from remote Unix to local Windows


Write once, execute everywhere: this tool allows you to execute the same commands on many different servers at the same time.


Embedded servers

MobaXterm allows you to start network daemons for remote access. No extra tool or runtime is needed in order to use these daemons.

Embedded servers

Embedded tools

MobaXterm brings some useful tools for sysadmins, developers, webmasters and all users who need to work efficiently with their computer.

Embedded tools

Remote Unix desktop (XDMCP)

Thanks to MobaXterm you can work on your remote Solaris desktop as if you were working locally on your Windows computer using the XDMCP protocol.

Remote Unix desktop (XDMCP)

Remote Windows desktop (RDP)

Take control of your remote Windows computers/servers using the RDP protocol. Many RDP configuration settings are available in the session manager.

Remote Windows desktop (RDP)

SSH gateway

In ssh, telnet, RDP, VNC sessions, you can select a “SSH-gateway” (a.k.a. “jump host”) in order to tell MobaXterm to connect first to a SSH server before connecting to the end-server you want to reach in the end. This allow you to reach some servers behind a firewall and to secure your connection.

SSH gateway

SSH tunnels (port forwarding)

The graphical SSH tunnels manager allows you to create your SSH tunnels using an intuitive graphical tool.

SSH tunnels (port forwarding)

MobApt package manager

MobaXterm package manager (MobApt / apt-get) allows you to download and use much more Unix tools directly into MobaXterm terminal.

MobApt package manager (apt-get)

Text Editor

When you connect to a remote server using SSH, you will be able to edit remote files directly using the embedded text editor “MobaTextEditor” by just double-clicking on them!

Direct edition through SSH / SFTP

Macros support

You can record macros in MobaXterm terminal: everything you type in the terminal will be recorded in order to replay it later on other servers.

Macros support

Passwords management

MobaXterm is able to save your session passwords and to keep them secure by using a “Master password”.

Passwords management

Syntax highlighting in terminal

MobaXterm embedded terminal can highlight syntax or use coloration for keywords, even if you are connected to a remote server which does not support colors. This is useful especially when analyzing log files, editing code or trying to detect important keywords. You can even build your own syntax definitions easily.

Terminal syntax highlighting

Professional Customizer

MobaXterm Professional Edition gives you access to the “Customizer” software. This program allows you to generate customized copies of MobaXterm with your own logo and default settings.

MobaXterm Professional Customizer

MobaXterm plugins

In order to install these plugins, just download them and put them in the same directory than MobaXterm executable.
If you need to enhance MobaXterm with extra tools and commands, you can also use the MobApt package manager: type “MobApt” (or “apt-get”) inside MobaXterm terminal.

CygUtils.plugin: Collection of core UNIX tools for Windows

 Corkscrew: Corkscrew allows to tunnel TCP connections through HTTP proxies

Curl: Curl is a command line tool for transferring data with URL syntax

CvsClient: A command line tool to access CVS repositories

Gcc, G++ and development tools: the GNU C/C++ compiler and other development tools

 DnsUtils: This plugin includes some useful utilities for host name resolution: dig, host, nslookup and nsupdate.

E2fsProgs: Utilities for creating, fixing, configuring, and debugging ext2/3/4 filesystems.

Emacs: The extensible, customizable, self-documenting real-time display editor

Exif: Command-line utility to show EXIF information hidden in JPEG files.

FVWM2: A light but powerful window manager for X11.

File: Determines file type using magic numbers.

Fontforge: A complete font editor with many features

GFortran: The GNU Fortran compiler.

Git: A fast and powerful version control system.

 Git v2.17.2: A fast and powerful version control system.

 Gvim: The Vim editor with a GTK interface

 Httperf: A tool for measuring web server performance.

 Joe: Fast and simple editor which emulates 5 other editors.

Lftp: Sophisticated file transfer program and ftp/http/bittorrent client.

 Lrzsz: Unix communication package providing the XMODEM, YMODEM ZMODEM file transfer protocols.

Lynx: A text-mode web browser.

MPlayer: The ultimate video player

Midnight Commander: Midnight Commander is a feature rich text mode visual file manager.

Multitail: Program for monitoring multiple log files, in the fashion of the original tail program.

NEdit: NEdit is a multi-purpose text editor for the X Window System.

Node.js: Node.js is a platform built on Chrome’s JavaScript runtime for easily building fast, scalable network applications. This plugin does not include NPM.

OpenSSL: A toolkit implementing SSL v2/v3 and TLS protocols.

PdKsh: A KSH shell open-source implementation.

Perl: Larry Wall’s Practical Extracting and Report Language

Png2Ico: Png2Ico Converts PNG files to Windows icon resource files.

Python: An interpreted, interactive object-oriented programming language.

Ruby: Interpreted object-oriented scripting language.

Screen: Screen is a terminal multiplexer and window manager that runs many separate ‘screens’ on a single physical character-based terminal.

Sqlite3: Software library that implements a self-contained, serverless, zero-configuration, transactional SQL database engine.

 SquashFS: mksquashfs and unsquashfs tools allow you to create/unpack squashfs filesystems from Windows.

 Subversion (SVN): Subversion is a powerful version control system.

 Tcl / Tk / Expect: Tcl is a simple-to-learn yet very powerful language. Tk is its graphical toolkit. Expect is an automation tool for terminal.

 X11Fonts: Complete set of fonts for X11 server.

 X3270Suite: IBM 3270 terminal emulator for Windows.

 XServers: Xephyr, Xnest, Xdmx, Xvfb and Xfake alternate X11 servers.

 Xmllint: A command line XML tool.

 Zip: Zip compression utility.

Snaphat also bundled some other plugins (Python, Cmake, Graphviz, Lua, Readline and CGDB) that you can download from his website.
Rthomson also bundled a “Tmux” plugin that you can download from his website.

Sources for each plugins are available here.
Each license can be found in the corresponding source package.
 If you want to be informed as soon as a new plugin is available, you can Follow @mobatek on Twitter.


Home Edition
  • Full X server and SSH support
  • Remote desktop (RDP, VNC, Xdmcp)
  • Remote terminal (SSH, telnet, rlogin, Mosh)
  • X11-Forwarding
  • Automatic SFTP browser
  • Master password protection
  • Plugins support
  • Portable and installer versions
  • Full documentation
  • Max. 12 sessions
  • Max. 2 SSH tunnels
  • Max. 4 macros
  • Max. 360 seconds for Tftp, Nfs and Cron

Download now

Professional Edition
$69 / 49€ per user*

* Excluding tax. Volume discounts available

  • Every feature from Home Edition +
  • Customize your startup message and logo
  • Modify your profile script
  • Remove unwanted games, screensaver or tools
  • Unlimited number of sessions
  • Unlimited number of tunnels and macros
  • Unlimited run time for network daemons
  • Enhanced security settings
  • 12-months updates included
  • Deployment inside company
  • Lifetime right to use


My Story with MobaXterm

I wish it was available for Linux and Mac OS X. It is a great tool for IT Professionals and Serious hobbysts/enthusiasts who need to handle various type of connections all at once without leaving a single application. Unfortunately it is not the case just now and You will see later in this article that while it installs and runs OK under Wine and Crossover most of the protocols do not work in an emulated layer/environment. The good news is that MobaXterm even alerts you with a popup that you are using it under an emulation layer such as Wine when you try to do certain things which makes me believe the developers are aware that a multi platform application ( Linux and perhaps Mac OS X ) is indeed many peoples wish and dream.

I used the free version previously in the past but I have never really started to appreciate it until I made it my go to choice at work in a Windows based laptop where I have to do sysadmin tasks all day long for a living.

I was using 5 different apps throughout the day to get work done as an IT System Administrator. I had separate app / tool for SSH connections ( I used SolarPutty) for RDP I was using the old and now unsupported version of 2.7 of RDCMAN – Remote Desktop Connection Manager 2.7 , for FTP/SFTP I had Filezilla open most of the time while a separate Chrome browser window was sitting on my desk to access GUI interfaces like Synology DSM or Fortigate Firewall Admin Console and I nearly forgot having various command prompt Shell (cmd) open for pings, tracert and for other type of fun .

Sometimes for the best compatibility ( f.e for Synology DSM webpage ) I had to switch from Internet Explorer default browser engine to experimental Chrome engine to get it 100% perfect. I had no issues whatsoever even with the experimental browser engine in my use case. #YMMV

All of the above I do now in one single application in a tabbed interface where I can focus on one screen and one app and I have all the things I need for my work inside this one application in a tabbed fashion.

It leaves the rest of my screen real estate and a second monitor free for other tools like MS Outlook or MS Teams to handle corporate communications ( or just to keep an eye on those) while everything else happens inside MobaXterm.

Under Wine and Crossover v21

Under Mac OS X Monterey 12.0.1 with Crossover v21:
The Preview3 version installs correctly after installing all pre-requisites. 🙂
as its based on wine I will try under Linux and see what happens.

MobaXterm v21.5 (Preview3) installed under Crossover v21 under Mac OS X Monterey 12.0.1

Not all of the protocols I tried works under MobaXterm for the moment
However MobaXTerm detects its running under Wine / CrossOver v21 and informs You that certain functions not implemented or supported yet

Telnet: YES
Rsh: Could not try — will update with result
Xdmcp: Could not try — will update with result
VNC: Could not try — will update with result
Serial: Could not try — will update with result
File: Could not try — will update with result
Shell: Tried Bash, Got popup showing feature not implemented yet under Wine
Browser: NO
Mosh: Could not try — will update with result
AWS S3: Could not try — will update with result
WSL: N/A – Under Linux/Mac OS X with Wine and CrossOver there is No Windows Subsystem for Linux

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