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Conte User Guide

Link to section 'File Storage and Transfer for Conte' of 'File Storage and Transfer' File Storage and Transfer for Conte

File Transfer

Conte supports several methods for file transfer. Use the links below to learn more about these methods.

Windows Network Drive / SMB

SMB (Server Message Block), also known as CIFS, is an easy to use file transfer protocol that is useful for transferring files between ITaP research systems and a desktop or laptop. You may use SMB to connect to your home, scratch, and Fortress storage directories. The SMB protocol is available on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. It is primarily used as a graphical means of transfer but it can also be used over the command line.

Note: to access Conte through SMB file sharing, you must be on a Purdue campus network or connected through VPN.

Link to section 'Windows:' of 'Windows Network Drive / SMB' Windows:

  • Windows 7: Click Windows menu > Computer, then click Map Network Drive in the top bar
  • Windows 8 & 10: Tap the Windows key, type computer, select This PC, click Computer > Map Network Drive in the top bar
  • In the folder location enter the following information and click Finish:
    • To access your home directory, enter \\\myusername.
    • To access your scratch space on Conte, enter \\\conte. Once mapped, you will be able to navigate to your scratch directory.
    • Note: Use your career account login name and password when prompted (not the two-factor BoilerKey authentication).
  • Your home or scratch directory should now be mounted as a drive in the Computer window.

Link to section 'Mac OS X:' of 'Windows Network Drive / SMB' Mac OS X:

  • In the Finder, click Go > Connect to Server
  • In the Server Address enter the following information and click Connect:
    • To access your home directory, enter smb://
    • To access your scratch space on Conte, enter smb:// Once connected, you will be able to navigate to your scratch directory.
    • Note: Use your career account login name and password when prompted (not the two-factor BoilerKey authentication).

Link to section 'Linux:' of 'Windows Network Drive / SMB' Linux:

  • There are several graphical methods to connect in Linux depending on your desktop environment. Once you find out how to connect to a network server on your desktop environment, choose the Samba/SMB protocol and adapt the information from the Mac OS X section to connect.
  • If you would like access via samba on the command line you may install smbclient which will give you FTP-like access and can be used as shown below. For all the possible ways to connect look at the Mac OS X instructions.
    smbclient // -U myusername
    smbclient // -U myusername
  • Note: Use your career account login name and password when prompted (not the two-factor BoilerKey authentication).

Link to section 'Accounts on Conte' of 'Accounts' Accounts on Conte

Link to section 'Obtaining an Account' of 'Accounts' Obtaining an Account

Contact Us to inquire about obtaining an account.

Link to section 'Outside Collaborators' of 'Accounts' Outside Collaborators

A valid Purdue Career Account is required for access to any resource. If you do not currently have a valid Purdue Career Account you must have a current Purdue faculty or staff member file a Request for Privileges (R4P) with their Departmental Business Office before you can proceed.

Link to section 'More Accounts Information' of 'Accounts' More Accounts Information

Logging In

To submit jobs on Conte, log in to the submission host via SSH. This submission host is actually 4 front-end hosts: conte-fe00 through conte-fe03 The login process randomly assigns one of these front-ends to each login to


ITaP Research Computing provides Cendio's ThinLinc as an alternative to running an X11 server directly on your computer. It allows you to run graphical applications or graphical interactive jobs directly on Conte through a persistent remote graphical desktop session.

ThinLinc is a service that allows you to connect to a persistent remote graphical desktop session. This service works very well over a high latency, low bandwidth, or off-campus connection compared to running an X11 server locally. It is also very helpful for Windows users who do not have an easy to use local X11 server, as little to no set up is required on your computer.

There are two ways in which to use ThinLinc: preferably through the native client or through a web browser.

Link to section 'Installing the ThinLinc native client' of 'ThinLinc' Installing the ThinLinc native client

The native ThinLinc client will offer the best experience especially over off-campus connections and is the recommended method for using ThinLinc. It is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

  • Download the ThinLinc client from the ThinLinc website.
  • Start the ThinLinc client on your computer.
  • In the client's login window, use as the Server. Use your Purdue Career Account username and your BoilerKey Duo <PIN,push> for password (note: Thinlinc native client does NOT work with <PIN,code>) .
  • Click the Connect button.
  • Continue to following section on connecting to Conte from ThinLinc.

Link to section 'Using ThinLinc through your web browser' of 'ThinLinc' Using ThinLinc through your web browser

The ThinLinc service can be accessed from your web browser as a convenience to installing the native client. This option works with no set up and is a good option for those on computers where you do not have privileges to install software. All that is required is an up-to-date web browser. Older versions of Internet Explorer may not work.

  • Open a web browser and navigate to
  • Log in with your Purdue Career Account username and your BoilerKey <PIN,push> or <PIN,code>.
  • You may safely proceed past any warning messages from your browser.
  • Continue to the following section on connecting to Conte from ThinLinc.

Link to section 'Connecting to Conte from ThinLinc' of 'ThinLinc' Connecting to Conte from ThinLinc

  • Once logged in, you will be presented with a remote Linux desktop running directly on a cluster front-end.
  • Open the terminal application on the remote desktop.
  • Once logged in to the Conte head node, you may use graphical editors, debuggers, software like Matlab, or run graphical interactive jobs. For example, to test the X forwarding connection issue the following command to launch the graphical editor gedit:
    $ gedit
  • This session will remain persistent even if you disconnect from the session. Any interactive jobs or applications you left running will continue running even if you are not connected to the session.

Link to section 'Tips for using ThinLinc native client' of 'ThinLinc' Tips for using ThinLinc native client

  • To exit a full screen ThinLinc session press the F8 key on your keyboard (fn + F8 key for Mac users) and click to disconnect or exit full screen.
  • Full screen mode can be disabled when connecting to a session by clicking the Options button and disabling full screen mode from the Screen tab.

Link to section 'Configure ThinLinc to use SSH Keys' of 'ThinLinc' Configure ThinLinc to use SSH Keys

  • The web client does NOT support public-key authentication.
  • ThinLinc native client supports the use of an SSH key pair. For help generating and uploading keys to the cluster, see SSH Keys section in our user guide for details.

    To set up SSH key authentication on the ThinLinc client:

    • Open the Options panel, and select Public key as your authentication method on the Security tab.

      ThinLinc Options window
      The "Options..." button in the ThinLinc Client can be found towards the bottom left, above the "Connect" button.
    • In the options dialog, switch to the "Security" tab and select the "Public key" radio button:

      ThinLinc's Security tab
      The "Security" tab found in the options dialog, will be the last of available tabs. The "Public key" option can be found in the "Authentication method" options group.
    • Click OK to return to the ThinLinc Client login window. You should now see a Key field in place of the Password field.
    • In the Key field, type the path to your locally stored private key or click the ... button to locate and select the key on your local system. Note: If PuTTY is used to generate the SSH Key pairs, please choose the private key in the openssh format.

      Thinlinc login with key
      The ThinLinc Client login window will now display key field instead of a password field.

SSH Keys

Link to section 'General overview' of 'SSH Keys' General overview

To connect to Conte using SSH keys, you must follow three high-level steps:

  1. Generate a key pair consisting of a private and a public key on your local machine.
  2. Copy the public key to the cluster and append it to $HOME/.ssh/authorized_keys file in your account.
  3. Test if you can ssh from your local computer to the cluster without using your Purdue password.

Detailed steps for different operating systems and specific SSH client softwares are give below.

Link to section 'Mac and Linux:' of 'SSH Keys' Mac and Linux:

  1. Run ssh-keygen in a terminal on your local machine. You may supply a filename and a passphrase for protecting your private key, but it is not mandatory. To accept the default settings, press Enter without specifying a filename.
    Note: If you do not protect your private key with a passphrase, anyone with access to your computer could SSH to your account on Conte.

  2. By default, the key files will be stored in ~/.ssh/id_rsa and ~/.ssh/ on your local machine.

  3. Copy the contents of the public key into $HOME/.ssh/authorized_keys on the cluster with the following command. Note: use Boilerkey 2FA when asked for a password after 2FA deployment. Please see 2FA deployment schedule for each cluster!

    ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/

    If your system does not have the ssh-copy-id command, use this instead:

    cat ~/.ssh/ | ssh "mkdir -p ~/.ssh && chmod 700 ~/.ssh && cat >> ~/.ssh/authorized_keys"

  4. Test the new key by SSH-ing to the server. The login should now complete without asking for a password.

  5. If the private key has a non-default name or location, you need to specify the key by

    ssh -i my_private_key_name

Link to section 'Windows:' of 'SSH Keys' Windows:

Windows SSH Instructions
Programs Instructions
MobaXterm Open a local terminal and follow Linux steps
Git Bash Follow Linux steps
Windows 10 PowerShell Follow Linux steps
Windows 10 Subsystem for Linux Follow Linux steps
PuTTY Follow steps below


  1. Launch PuTTYgen, keep the default key type (RSA) and length (2048-bits) and click Generate button.

    The "Generate" button can be found under the "Actions" section of the PuTTY Key Generator interface.
  2. Once the key pair is generated:

    Use the Save public key button to save the public key, e.g. Documents\SSH_Keys\

    Use the Save private key button to save the private key, e.g. Documents\SSH_Keys\mylaptop_private_key.ppk. When saving the private key, you can also choose a reminder comment, as well as an optional passphrase to protect your key, as shown in the image below. Note: If you do not protect your private key with a passphrase, anyone with access to your computer could SSH to your account on Conte.

    The PuTTY Key Generator form has inputs for the Key passphrase and optional reminder comment.

    From the menu of PuTTYgen, use the "Conversion -> Export OpenSSH key" tool to convert the private key into openssh format, e.g. Documents\SSH_Keys\mylaptop_private_key.openssh to be used later for Thinlinc.

  3. Configure PuTTY to use key-based authentication:

    Launch PuTTY and navigate to "Connection -> SSH ->Auth" on the left panel, click Browse button under the "Authentication parameters" section and choose your privite key, e.g. mylaptop_private_key.ppk

    After clicking Connection -> SSH ->Auth panel, the "Browse" option can be found at the bottom of the resulting panel.

    Navigate back to "Session" on the left panel. Highlight "Default Settings" and click the "Save" button to ensure the change in place.

  4. Connect to the cluster (note: if after the 2FA deployment date, make sure to use Boilerkey 2FA when asked for a password). Copy the contents of public key from PuTTYgen as shown below and paste it into $HOME/.ssh/authorized_keys. Please double-check that your text editor did not wrap or fold the pasted value (it should be one very long line).

    The "Public key" will look like a long string of random letters and numbers in a text box at the top of the window.
  5. Test by connecting to the cluster and no BoilerKey 2FA should be needed. If you chose to protect your private key with a passphrase in step 2, you will be prompted to enter the passphrase when connecting.

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