Access Ubuntu Remotely from Windows

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This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to remotely access Ubuntu 17.04 | 17.10 desktop from Windows or other Linux machines. Although Remote Desktop Connections isn’t enabled for Linux systems, Windows users may have to use another protocol or client to connect to Ubuntu.

Before one can access Ubuntu desktops remotely, one must enable remote access on the Ubuntu machine.

Remote access allows any with the appropriate access to the system connect and manage the device remotely from across the room or from locations around the world. To enable remote access to Ubuntu, continue with the steps below:

Step 1: Enable Remote Access to Ubuntu

Ubuntu machines by default have the protocol and server installed already. To enable remote access, logon to the desktop computer and search for Desktop Sharing as shown below.

ubuntu desktop sharing

When Desktop Sharing opens, check the box to allow others to view your desktop. It’s also recommended to configure Desktop sharing with the preferences as shown in the image below. You should require user to type a password before access.

ubuntu remote access

When you’re done, click Close.

Step 2: Connecting to Ubuntu

Now that Desktop Sharing is enabled, choose the remote access client to use to access the desktop. For other Ubuntu systems, search for Remmina Remote Desktop Client. This is an opensource client that probably installed on all Linux systems. Use it to connect to other Ubuntu desktop remotely.

For Windows system, you will want to use VNC client to connect. Microsoft Remote Desktop Connections won’t work with here, so you must use VNC or other compatible remote connection clients with work with Ubuntu.

To enable access outside of your local network, you must setup your firewall to forward the traffic to the Ubuntu desktop via a specific port number. Normally port 5900.

You will also want to run the commands below to disable encryption for Remote sharing. This feature creates problems for Windows machine while connecting.

sudo gsettings set org.gnome.Vino require-encryption false

When you’re done, test it out. Find the Ubuntu desktop computer IP address and test. If everything was setup correctly, you should be able to access the Ubuntu desktop remotely.

This is how one enable Ubuntu remote desktop access.


This post shows students and new users how to enable Ubuntu remote desktop access. Once enabled, users will be able to connect remotely from other computers to the Ubuntu desktop. For Windows systems, folks will have to use VNC or other compatible VNC protocol clients.

Microsoft Remote Desktop Connections client won’t work here.


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  1. This doesn’t seem to work on 17.10 . On trying it, TightVNC Viewer(windows 10) is still unable to connect on 17.10

    1. For Ubuntu 17.10 you must install vino. Apparently, that package isn’t installed by default.

      1. You also need to log into Ubuntu using xserver instead of Wayland. Wayland doesn’t appear to allow any screen sharing at this point.

  2. Vijay Felix Raj C

    Hi, I could not connect the linux desktop from windows desktop. In linux, I have configured and given full permission. But, In windows it shows below error
    “Remote Desktop can’t connect the remote computer.” Please help me to solve this issue while connection from windows.

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