Configuring remote desktops in linux and tips to stay secure

We need to control our destkop remotely if we go out for somewhere leaving our PC switched on. Remote desktoping utilities come handy when we need to control our PC, or a friend’s PC if he needs some help. In Windows, and Mac configuring Remote Desktops are pretty easy as there are specific tools for that. But in Linux based operating systems, we need to do something more, to get our two distant desktops connected. In this post lets see how to configure remote desktops for Ubuntu Operating system.

Configuring Remote Desktops

To configure remote desktops in Ubuntu follow the easy steps below :

  • In Ubuntu, there is no need to install any utilities or softwares for enabling remote desktop like we need to do in Windows or Mac. We just need to configure what is already there in our OS. Go to Sytem > Preferences > Remote Desktop.
  • Now in Remote Desktop preferences there are two checkboxes : Enable “Allow other users to view your desktop” and “ Allow other users to constrol your desktop”. Coose first only if you want to allow people only to view your desktop. Choose both if you need to allow people to view and control your desktop remotely. Choose the second one only if you need to ask help from someone over the Internet.
  • When you are done with that you will get an IP address on your local network using which you can let others connect with your PC. Copy this or write this down.
Secure values for your connection

Secure values for your connection

  • Ubuntu’s remote desktop connection is based on VNC clients. You can use any of the VNC clients for Ubuntu, thats already there in your Software Manager.
  • Here we are using a utility called “Vinagre”. You can launch it by going to Applications > Internet > Remote Desktop Viewer.
  • Click on the two-computers icon to launch the connection wizard.
Click on the icon to launch the wizard

Click on the icon to launch the wizard

  • Open up and you will see all the desktops to which you have access to. Else you can enter the IP address of the desktop you want to connect with. Click connect.
Fill in your IP address and click "Connect".

Fill in your IP address and click “Connect”.

  • Now you will be prompted for password in a window. You will be given this password by other PC user if he is willing to let you view/control his desktop.
Password prompt for authentication

Password prompt for authentication

  • After you correctly type the password, you will login to his system. Now your PC is viewing/controlling his PC. Remember that the passwords are case sensitive.
  • Go to fullscreen mode for better view and feel.

Connecting in Windows

  • To connect with remote desktops in Windows based operating systems, you will need a VNC client that is supported by Windows XP, or Windows 7. I recently came across one such client, named TightVNC.
  • Download the software from the link below.

Click here to download TightVNC software

  • Enter the IP address that you copied earlier in the given field.
  • Now you will be connected with your Ubuntu Machine.

Connecting from Mac

Mac users, we should take a different approach to connect their desktops remotely with an Ubuntu Machine. Follow the steps below

  • Download the software from the link below.

Click here to download “Chicken for VNC” software

  • Enter the IP address that you copied earlier in the given field.
  • Now you will be connected with your Ubuntu Machine.

Tips for staying safe

  • Choose a strong password with a mixture of numbers, lowercase characters, uppercase characters and special characters.
  • Never disclose your password to someone you don’t know.
  • And never give out your connection IP to anyone like I did.
  • Choose only “ Allow other users to view your desktop” instead of choosing “ Allow other users to view your desktop”.