It is possible to access and display all beamline control PCs on your computer at home. This can help you diagnose and fix problems when local contact. There are a few steps you need to follow to be able to do this.


This is a 3 step process:


    1. Access ESRF computers inside the firewall - only necessary when using PC outside the firewall

    2. Starting the VNCserver on the beamline control PC of interest

    3. Viewing the beamline control PC using vncviewer.


1. Access to inside the ESRF firewall.


There are two ways to do this.


    i. use NX client to access the ESRFs NX server. More details can be found here (only available onsite - print off and take home). The official ESRF pages on nxclient are here.


     NB if you have CYGWIN installed, installation of the nxclient may break your CYGWIN setup.


     ii. Use ssh protocols (with X forwarding). I leave the set up of this to your own devices. Basic info includes username:, port: 5022.



2. Starting the VNC servers.


Once you have logged in to ESRF computing services you need to telnet

to the beamline control computer (see table below for which computer is on which beamline) where you're users are having difficulties. Login with the opid account and password.


Now if you wish to see the left hand screen (mxCuBE, spec, etc) you need to type x11vncl

(l for left, not a number 1) on the command line. You should see printed :




If you see any other port than 5900, type ps -ef | grep x11vnc. Check the PIDs and kill all x11vnc* jobs with the command kill #### #### #### where #### is the PID of all the x11vnc jobs. Once done retry typing x11vncl.


Now to see the right hand screen (image display, front end application, etc) you need to type x11vncr. You should see printed :




3. Viewing the Beamline PCs.


Now you have started the servers on the local beamline machine it should be possible to view the display locally on your computer. If you are using nxclient to access the ESRF you simply start a unix shell inside the NX client and then type vncviewer beamlinepcname:0 for the left hand screen and vncviewer beamlinepc:1

for the right hand screen.


With ssh access you will need to access a local machine with vncviewer on, for example, one of the clusters (logging on with the command ssh -X username@clustername from the firewall unix account), then typing vncviewer beamlinepcname:0 as above. I can't guarantee this will work so configure this yourselves.


You should now have both sides of the beamline desktop displayed on your home PC.


Note if you close your vncviewer window you will need to restart the vncserver as stated in step 2 above.


Words of advice:

Please bear in mind that the refresh rate may be a little bit slow depending on your network connection so don't go mad clicking buttons, etc until you are comfortable with this.

Make sure your users know you have control of the beamline. It is possible for you to move motors/backlights/sample changer whilst they are in the hutch.

If you are not confident in doing this, for example unsure of what will happen, then don't do it and come on-site.


Beamline Control PC name
ID14-1 regnum
ID14-4 artemis2
ID23-1 basil
ID23-2 sybil
ID29 id29control
BM29  nela