Skip to content

Narwhal User Guide 

This system is for CHPC protected environment (PE) users needing a windows environment. Narwhal is a large memory compute node that has 24 physical cores, 512GB of RAM, and 1TB of local SSD disk space, and has mounts of your PE user and project space.  Python, STATA, SAS, R and Matlab are installed for computational research.

The node is also a gateway point to the protected environment, with desktop applications such as Office, Adobe produts, web browsers etc. 

Note that you must have a valid CHPC PE account to access this system.  Also note that all access to the PE requires DUO for two factor authorization. If coming from off campus, you must use the campus vpn

Contact CHPC by sending email to if you need access or if you need assistance.


Update - changes made in Aug 6, 2019 downtime:

Log into Narwhal using, which will now land you on the compute node directly. 

Your profile is now located at D:\Users\<uNID>

Once you've logged in you can cut and paste your files from going into D:\Users\<uNID.bak> and pasting directly into your profile in D:\Users\<uNID>, skipping any files of the same name.   Please note that there is not enough room to copy and paste so a cut is necessary.   If you run into problems or are uncomfortable doing this please email and he will do the move for you.


Instructions to access narwhal 

Use RDP (remote desktop) to connect to “”. On windows  you can do this by 'start' > 'all programs' > 'accessories' 'remote desktop connection', for linux use rdesktop or xfreerdp.  If you are using a Mac, use the Microsoft Remote Desktop which can be download free from the apple store. 

Use the hostname and the user name AD\unidand your Campus password.  

An xfreerdp example:

xfreerdp -u unid -d -g workarea  (work area is resolution of video, e.g., 1024x768)



You will be prompted for the Duo Security Key.  (You can type “push” without the quotes to have the authorization sent to your phone)


If you go into Windows File Explorer and click on “This PC” you should see your Projects (Y:) and Home (Z:) directories mounted.  In addition to these mounts there is also a local scratch (D:); within the Local Scratch there are two folders, Users and Projects.



The user profile on the compute nodes is not a mount but instead is the local disk, which is on D:\Users. 

By default, each user that logs onto the compute node will have a directory created in the Users folder on D:.  This D:\Users\<UNID>  folder is where you should copy your input files and direct your output files for your jobs.  For the Projects directory, I will create folders for joint use within a defined IRB upon request, only those listed on the IRB will have access.  Requesting a folder under Projects can be done by emailing

IMPORTANT: Please note that overall space on the Narwhal Compute node is not much greater than what was on Swasey.  To help address this issue the Windows side will start following the same policy that governs scratch on the Linux, namely deletion of files older than 60 days.  Please be sure to save your work to the mounted Home (Z:) or Projects (Y:) locations so that you don’t fall victim to the automated purge script.  In addition to this change, files will no longer go to the recycling bin when deleted but instead will be deleted permanently. 

Lastly, I am making efforts to keep users from installing applications on their profile or other locations as on Swasey these installations ended up being duplicated across multiple user profiles.  An example of this is the Anaconda Python installation, which I have installed within Program Files so that all users may access it thus avoid the need for each individual user to install to their profile.  If you come across an installation that you need on either the gateway or the compute node, please let us know by sending a request to

Last Updated: 7/5/23