Break Out of the Virtualbox Jail: Run Linux Graphical Apps On Windows Using Putty, Xming, and VirtualBox

I use Virtualbox to run linux. But the terminal Virtualbox uses is awful so I ssh in when I want to use the command line. I recently discovered you can also do this for the graphical desktop so you don’t have to put up with the lousy Virtualbox console which fits all the linux elements in a hard to scale box. You can have your graphical linux desktop run right along Windows just as it was another MS Window Window. Follow thiese steps:

  1. Download and install Xming Server on Windows.
  2. Setup your VirtualBox running say debian and boot up your virtual box ( I won’t go into that here but check this tutorial out).
  3. At your debian command line edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config and make these lines “yes”:
     

  4. If you don’t have a graphical desktop installed, install some sample programs:
     

  5. Now on your Windows desktop fire up Putty. Add a profile to ssh into your debian virtualbox machine (hint: if you haven’t already, you’ll need to get your virtual machine’s ip address and you can’t get that until you make sure your debian virtual machine’s network setting is set to bridge so it has an ip address on your local network. Follow the steps under Selecting Bridge Networking)
  6. In your Putty profile Go to X11 and make sure forwarding is turned on. Save your profile.

  7. Now, ssh in to your Virtualbox machine and start an x-windows app.
  8. You should see the eerie “xeyes” program staring at your right on your Windows desktop!:

    That’s right, a Linux program running right on top of your local Windows desktop (actually the graphical elements are being forwarded by your virtualbox session to xming). Really cool and the Windows resizing and movements are unlimited by the Virtualbox Console. Try moving the window around – acts like any other Windows program.
  9. For programs that require sudo you have to use the “-E” option:
     
  10. Now you should see something like this – completely cool. I’ve labeled all the windows so you can appreciate the fact that the gparted GUI is running separately from the Putty and Virtualbox consoles:

    And here’s a video:

Enabling 2 Factor Authorization (2FA) on Ebay (No Need to Buy a Security Key)

This method may still work but is no longer necessary; ebay now offers 2 factor authentication in its account setttings. Go to My Account->Security Information->2 Step verification. Change this to “on” and follow the instructinos.

It’s nearly impossible to figure out how to activate 2 factor authentication on ebay but it can be done. The only thing Ebay offers on its website is 2 factor authorization through a purchased security key. But you don’t need to buy a physical key, you can just use the free Symantec VIP Access app.

 

  1. First, before activating, make sure you have a valid phone number in your profile with Ebay. If something goes wrong and you can’t login after 2 factor is enabled, Ebay will need to call you to verify your identity before letting you back into your account. See this FAQ.
  2. On your mobile phone, download the Symantec VIP Access app: Android App, IOS App.
  3.  

  4. Open the App on your phone.
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  6. On your computer browser, login to Ebay and go to the Ebay Security Key activation page. Using the VIP Access App, type in your Credential ID for Step 1, 2 security codes generated in a row for steps 2 and 3 as described in the following steps.
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  8. You will see the following:
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  10. Step 1: Enter Your Credential ID from Your VIP Access APP – YOU MUST INCLUDE THE “SYMC” plus the 8 digits with no spaces so something like the following with the XXs replaced with numbers:
     
    SYMCXXXXXXXX
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  12. Step 2: Wait until a new security code is generated in your VIP Access page and type in the six numbers displayed into the “Step 2” box on the activation page.
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  14. Step 3: Type in the very next security code generated in this step. If you miss the timing then you need to start over at step 2.
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  16. Click “Activate” on the ebay page. You’re done. It should give you a success messsage and put you back to your settings page, warning you that you’ll need to type n the security code each time you login.
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  18. Questions on your Security Key ? See the Ebay Faq. :