How Do I Log Into the Command Line?

At times it becomes necessary to administer your SEAS account from the unix command line. To access this interface, you must connect through one of several methods listed below.

For detailed information on using ssh, see What is SSH?


The supported SSH client for Windows at Penn is SecureCRT by Van Dyke Technologies, which may be downloaded for free by all Penn staff, students and faculty. It is already installed on all CETS lab Windows computers.

With SecureCRT installed, follow these steps to connect:

  1. Double-click on the SecureCRT icon on the desktop.
  2. When the program opens, a list of hosts will be presented. Double-click on
  3. The first time you connect to a server, a dialogue box will appear asking whether or not you would like to accept the new host key. Click the Accept & Save button.
  4. Enter your username and password when prompted. Your username is typically the same as your PennName, unless you are accessing an activity account.

These instructions will place you at the unix command prompt. When you're finished, close your session by typing exit.

WARNING: Closing the session window while a program is running in the unix environment can lead to lost data. Try to use exit whenever possible.

For additional help in the labs, visit one of the CETS help desks located in Levine Room 164, or search here in Answers for more specific questions.

Mac OS

Open the Terminal application, which is in the Applications > Utilities folder. At the prompt, type this command (replacing user with your SEAS username):


Linux or Unix

Open a console window and type this command (replacing user with your SEAS username):


Running GUI applications on Eniac

You can use X11 forwarding or VNC to run GUI applications on Eniac.

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