Text-mode access using PuTTY

Prerequisite: PuTTY and WinSCP

You’ve generated a public/private key pair with PuTTY and have an approved account on the VSC clusters.

Connecting to the VSC clusters

When you start the PuTTY executable ‘putty.exe’, a configuration screen pops up. Follow the steps below to setup the connection to (one of) the VSC clusters.


In the screenshots, we show the setup for user vsc98765 to the genius cluster at KU Leuven via the login node login.hpc.kuleuven.be. You will have to

  1. replace vsc98765 with your own VSC user name, and

  2. find the name of the login node for the cluster you want to login in on in the sections on the local VSC clusters, and replace login.hpc.kuleuven.be accordingly.

  1. Within the category Session, in the field ‘Host Name’, type in <vsc-loginnode>, which is the name of the login node of the VSC cluster you want to connect to.

    PuTTY config 1

  2. In the category Connection > Data, in the field ‘Auto-login username’, put in <vsc-account>, which is your VSC username that you have received by mail after your request was approved.

  3. In the category Connection > SSH > Auth, click on ‘Browse’ and select the private key that you generated and saved above.

    PuTTY config 2

    Here, the private key was previously saved in the folder C:\Users\Me\Keys. In older versions of Windows, you would have to use C:\Documents and Settings\Me\Keys.

    You can also enable agent forwarding by ticking the ‘Allow agent forwarding’ checkbox.

  4. In the category Connection > SSH > X11, click the Enable X11 Forwarding checkbox:

    PuTTY config 3

  5. Now go back to Session, and fill in a name in the ‘Saved Sessions’ field and press ‘Save’ to store the session information.

  6. Now pressing ‘Open’ should start ask for you passphrase, and connect you to <vsc-loginnode>.

The first time you make a connection to the login node, a Security Alert will appear and you will be asked to verify the authenticity of the login node.

PuTTY alert

For future sessions, just select your saved session from the list and press ‘Open’.

Troubleshooting PuTTY connection issues

If you have trouble accessing the infrastructure, the support staff will likely ask you to provide a log. After you have made a failed attempt to connect, you can obtain the connection log by

  1. right-clicking in PuTTY’s title bar and selecting Event Log.

  2. In the dialog window that appears, click the Copy button to copy the log messages. They are copied as text and can be pasted in your message to support.