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Accessing a NetWare server GUI session remotely.

(Last modified: 13Nov2003)

This document (10060342) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


Accessing a NetWare server GUI session remotely.


Novell NetWare 5.1

Novell NetWare 6.0

Novell Web Services - iManager 1.5


Many installs on NetWare 5.1 or 6.0 (like BorderManager and eDirectory) now require access to the server's GUI. This creates a problem for installing applications and upgrades on remote NetWare 5.1 or 6.0 servers.

This process has also been used to intall Novell Web Services on a NetWare 6 server.
A NetWare server runs Xfree86 as its graphical shell in order to run the server Java based GUI and ConsoleOne.  The files for GUI reside in SYS:/JAVA/NWGFX.  This display can be re-routed to a remote computer running Xwindows. This can be a Unix like machine running Xwindows natively, or a Win32 workstation running an Xwindows client like for example Hummingbird's Exceed ( or a free X11 port to Win32 (

There is a first quick method for temporarily redirecting the GUI display to a remote computer. It will not disable the local GUI on the server, but it will just not use it. The procedure is the following :

1. Make sure the server·s GUI is not already loaded. If it is loaded, stop it by using for example the commands :
java ·killall
java ·exit
Note that this will kill all java programs, including the non GUI programs
2. Use the following command sequence to redirect the display to a remote computer :
envset display=x.x.x.x:0

where x.x.x.x is the IP address of the computer you want to redirect the display to

If you get the error "java.lang.InternalError: Can't connect to X Server" you are using JVM 1.1.7 try envset display=x.x.x.x:0.0

To revert the display back to the local screen, use the command :
envset display=

If you want to completely avoid loading the server GUI and always redirect it to a remote computer, you can do this by editing the STARTX.NCF file found in SYS:/JAVA/NWGFX
To make it look like this :

env display = x.x.x.x:0
envset display = x.x.x.x:0
java -classpath $JAVA_HOME\lib\taskbar;$CLASSPATH com.novell.awt.nawt.taskbar.Taskbar
java -classpath $JAVA_HOME\lib\;$JAVA_HOME\lib\swing.jar;$JAVA_HOME\classes\background.jar SetBG

On NW 5.0 servers, this configuration file requires Support Pack 5 or later to be installed.


Note: The X-Terminal that you are directing the server GUI to may not allow outside devices to send to it. You will need to execute the following command on the X-Terminal to allow remote device access:

xhost name_of_the_remote_server_or_IP

eg: xhost

To allow any host when in a secure environment :

xhost +

To turn it off:

xhost -

An important security note.  Xwindows sessions are un-secure communications. Unless your LAN/WAN lines ore secure (i.e. IPSec) than your GUI interactions are subject to interception.

NOTE: This information is provided as a service to Novell customers and is provided AS-IS, the procedure itself is not supported by Novell Technical Support.


The Origin of this information may be internal or external to Novell. Novell makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information. However, the information provided in this document is for your information only. Novell makes no explicit or implied claims to the validity of this information.
Any trademarks referenced in this document are the property of their respective owners. Consult your product manuals for complete trademark information.

  • Document ID:
  • 10060342
  • Solution ID: NOVL39318
  • Creation Date: 07Feb2001
  • Modified Date: 13Nov2003
    • NovellNetWare


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