ARCHIVED: Download, install, and configure ThinLinc Client to use Karst Desktop at IU

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UITS Research Technologies retired the Karst Desktop service on December 31, 2018.

Its replacement, the Research Desktop (RED) service is functionally equivalent to Karst Desktop, except:

  • To use RED, you need an account on Carbonate; for information about getting a Carbonate account, see Research system accounts (all campuses).
  • RED's dedicated nodes run Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL 7), whereas Karst Desktop nodes ran RHEL 6.

If you have questions about using RED or need help, contact the RED development team.

Following are instructions for connecting to Karst Desktop from a personal computer using the ThinLinc Client.

On this page:

Download and install ThinLinc Client

Download ThinLinc Client for Windows, macOS, or Linux from IUware:

Install ThinLinc Client on your personal computer as you would any other application. If you need help, refer to the platform-specific installation instructions in Chapter 8 of Cendio's ThinLinc Administrator's Guide.

Once ThinLinc Client is installed on your personal computer, launching the application opens the ThinLinc Client login window:

The ThinLinc Client login window

ThinLinc Client login window

Configure ThinLinc Client options

In the ThinLinc Client login window, click Options to open the "ThinLinc Client Options" window. (If you don't see the Options button, click Advanced>> to expand the login window.)

The ThinLinc Client Options window

ThinLinc Client Options window

Use the following instructions to set up ThinLinc Client for use with Karst Desktop. For supplementary information, see Client configuration in the Cendio ThinLinc Administrator's Guide. When you are finished configuring options, click OK to return to the ThinLinc Client login window, and then refer to the instructions below to connect to Karst Desktop.


Do not connect to Karst Desktop without first configuring the ThinLinc Client screen size options.

By default, the newly installed client's screen size options have Full screen mode and Enable full screen mode over all monitors selected. These options may cause display problems, especially if your computer is connected to more than one monitor. UITS strongly recommends de-selecting these options before starting your Karst Desktop session; see Screen size options below.

Screen size options

On the Screen tab:

  1. Uncheck (de-select) both Full screen mode and Enable full screen mode over all monitors.
  2. Select Current monitor, one of the pre-set sizes, or the option for specifying a custom size.

UITS recommends not using the Full screen mode or Enable full screen mode over all monitors options (highlighted below in red), because they may cause unexpected display problems, especially if your computer is connected to more than one monitor.

ThinLinc Client screen size options

ThinLinc Client screen size options
(UITS recommends disabling the highlighted settings)

If these settings are activated (as they are, by default, when the client is initially installed), the ThinLinc Client window may cover/hide all other active windows on your display(s) or position menus for controlling your session beyond the edge of your display screen(s). In the latter case, only the background of the Karst Desktop session window may be visible (which can look very much like a blank desktop).

If you encounter this issue, follow the instructions in ARCHIVED: Troubleshoot Karst Desktop for exiting full-screen mode or terminating ThinLinc Client.

Public-key authentication


To set up public-key authentication, open the "ThinLinc Client Options" window, and then, on the Security tab:

  1. Select Public key.
  2. Click OK to return to the ThinLinc Client login window. You should now see a "Key" field in place of the "Password" field.
  3. In the "Key" field, type the path to your locally stored private key. Alternatively, click the ... (browse) option to locate and select the key on your local file system.

Export local drives and directories

If you want to give your Karst Desktop session access to drives and/or directories on your personal computer:

  1. On the Local Devices tab, select Drives, and then (next to it) Details.
  2. In the "Export Local Drives" window, click Add, and then, under "Drive Options", click ... (file browser).
  3. Locate and select the desired local drive and directory, and then click OK.
    ThinLinc Client will not allow you to export the root directory ( / ) of your local file system.
  4. Under "Permission", use the drop-down to select Read Only or Read and Write permissions for location indicated in the "Exported Path" field.
    With Read and Write permissions enabled locally, you can drag and drop (or click and drag) files between your personal computer and your Karst account. However, do not use drag and drop (or click and drag) to copy large (multi-gigabyte) files.
  5. To select other directories to export, repeat this process. Otherwise, click OK to return to the "ThinLinc Client Options" window.
Any drives or directories you export will not appear until you start a new session. To see newly added drives, log out of your current session, and then log back in.

During your Karst Desktop session, your exported directories will be accessible via the thindrives folder. For more about Karst Desktop's graphical interface, see ARCHIVED: Karst Desktop usage policies and interface features.

Connect to Karst Desktop

As of October 14, 2018, access to Karst Desktop requires two-factor authentication using Duo. SSH public-key authentication remains an option for researchers who submit the "SSH public-key authentication to HPS systems" user agreement (log into HPC everywhere beta using your IU username and passphrase), which requires you to agree to set a passphrase on your private key when generating your RSA key pair. If you have questions about how two-factor authentication with Duo may impact your workflows, contact the UITS Scientific Applications and Performance Tuning (SciAPT) team. If you have system-specific questions, contact the UITS High Performance Systems (HPS) team. For help with Duo, see Get started with Two-Step Login (Duo) at IU and Help for Two-Step Login (Duo).

The first time you launch ThinLinc client, the login window contains the following items by default:

  • "Server" field (if you don't see the "Server" field, click Advanced>> to expand the login window)
  • "Username" field (or "Name" field, depending on your system)
  • "Password" field
  • Connect, Exit, and Options buttons
  • End existing session checkbox
  • Status field (at the bottom; displays login status)

To connect to Karst Desktop:

  1. In the "Server" field, enter
  2. In the "Username" or "Name" field, enter your IU username.
  3. In the "Password" field, enter your IU passphrase.
    If you have public-key authentication set up (see the instructions above), you should see a "Key" field in place of the "Password" field. Make sure the "Key" field points to your private key file, and then continue to the next step.
  4. Click Connect.
  5. In the "Authentication" window, enter your preferred method for authenticating via Duo two-step login, and then click OK:
    Duo two-factor authentication options for logging into RED

    Duo two-step login options

  6. The first time you connect to Karst Desktop, ThinLinc Client will prompt you with a warning that the server's host key is not cached in the registry. Click Continue to connect to Karst Desktop.

As the connection is established, the field at the bottom of the login window will display details about the process. The Karst Desktop window should open within a few seconds.

Logging out versus disconnecting your session

In a Karst Desktop session, "logging out" and "disconnecting" are two different actions:

  • Logging out: This closes any applications currently open in your Karst Desktop session, terminates the session on the server, and closes the Karst Desktop graphical desktop window. The next time you launch ThinLinc Client and click Connect, a new Karst Desktop session will be launched on the server.

    To log out and terminate your current Karst Desktop session, double-click Log Out.

  • Disconnecting your session: This suspends any currently open applications and keeps your Karst Desktop session running on the server, allowing you to reconnect to it later.

    To disconnect (but not terminate) your current Karst Desktop session, double-click Disconnect Desktop Session. Alternatively, simply close the Karst Desktop graphical desktop window.

    • Disconnected sessions remain active for up to seven days after your last login, but they are terminated automatically at the start of the monthly system maintenance window.
    • If loss of internet connectivity causes your session to disconnect unexpectedly, your session will remain active on the server, and you can reconnect to it whenever you regain network connectivity (if it's within the aforementioned timeframe).

    When you have an existing disconnected Karst Desktop session, clicking Connect in the ThinLinc Client login window will reconnect you automatically to your session, and all applications, terminals, and file browsers that were open when you disconnected will still be running.

    Alternatively, to launch a new Karst Desktop session instead, in the ThinLinc Client login window, select End existing session, and then click Connect.

Get help

If you have a question or need help with Karst Desktop, contact the Karst Desktop development team.

Support for IU research computing systems, software, and services is provided by the Research Technologies division of UITS. To ask a question or get help, contact UITS Research Technologies.

This is document aopv in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2019-01-10 16:38:47.

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