MobaXterm - a powerful terminal for Windows

Posted February 20, 2017 by Adrian Wyssmann ‐ 2 min read

When you need to have have remote sessions to your hosts and your working environment is a Windows client, you most probably will use putty. But putty is somehow limited as it only supports few connection types (ssh, telnet, serial, raw, rlogin). Also the session management is not very comfortable imho - e.g. if I want to provide an ssh-key and save the session it is not really handy. I recently found a very cool alternative called mobaXTerm.

{{ img caption=“MobaXterm” src=“mobaxterm.png”>}}


It offers support for a variety of sessions like SSH, Telnet, Rlogin, RDP, VNC, XDMCP, FTP, SFTP or Serial with a great set of features like

  • X11 server to display your remote applications directly on your local Windows PC
  • Multi-execution i.e. the capability to execute the same command(s) on many different servers at once
  • SSH tunnels (port forwarding)
  • Macro support to automate actions and activities
  • Automatic start of sessions
  • Split-Screen support
  • Graphical SFTP browser
  • Additional tools (e.g. comes with Network Scanner, Ports scanner, ….)
  • Extensible with plugins (you can add more tools)

The dialog for setting up a session is self-explanatory but if you need more detailed information you can consult the official documentation. So here I setup an ssh session to a server using an openssh key.

{{ img caption=“ssh session example” src=“mobaxterm_ssh-session_example.png”>}}

MobaXTerm offers a built in “local shell” but also let’s you use a cmd terminal, Powershell or even “Ubuntu Bash (WSL)” - later obviously only works on Windows 10 Anniversary edition.

Under the hood

I did not really found documentation about it but mobaXterm is based on Putty Client and CygWin. CygWin is a Unix-like environment for Windows which provides a native integration of Windows-based applications, data, and other system resources with applications, software tools, and data of the Unix-like environment. In other words you can have tools like sed, awk, grep on your windows. You can access these tools via the “local console” offered by mobaXterm and install additional ones either via the package manager on the console or the integrated package manager

{{ img caption=“MobaXterm Package manager” src=“mobaxterm_packagemanager.png” >}}


{{ img caption=“MobaXterm Tools” src=“mobaxterm_tools.png”>}}

As mentioned mobaXterm comes with as set of tools which actually can be extended via plugins. You can download them from the website, copy the downloaded files to the mobaXterm directory and restart mobaXterm. Some commands may add an additional entry under “Tools”.