Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

here's my problem, I want to be able to remote control my grandparents computer in order to help them without having to drive 20 minutes to get there. however I can only connect to their machine when I'm on the same network. I'm using the default vnc server vino with vinagre client.what settings do I have to use to make it work? (their os 10.04.4 , mine is 11.10)

share|improve this question
Please explain what steps you've taken to expose their computer externally; Are you using something like DynDNS? Do you have an SSH server setup on their computer which you can connect to in order to start vino? – Mendhak Mar 1 '12 at 8:56
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The problem with VNC is that in most cases you have at least one firewall between your destination computer and your machine. That's why you are unable to connect unless you are on the same network.

ISPs used to put firewalls on their ends in some cases (eg. mobile internet) but if you use a router to share the internet connection between multiple machines (or just to make it easier to connect) you need to traverse through its firewall.

In an ideal case you have the following setup:

[You]---[Your ISP]---[Internet]---[Remote ISP]---[Remote PC]

In this case (and assuming the ISPs put no restrictions on the connection) you only need to know the Remote PCs IP address.

But usually this is the setup:

[You]---[Your Router]---[Your ISP]---[Internet]
   [Remote PC]---[Remote Router]---[Remote ISP]

Now (still assuming the ISPs do not restrict your connection attempts) the Remoter Router's firewall will block you unless you do a port forward on it to the destination machine.

So depending on the remote router you need to create a port forward rule and forward TCP/5900 to the destination PCs TCP/5900 port.


  • It is advised though to change the port on the router to something else to make it harder for anyone to „break into” your grandparent's PC.
  • There is a problem with dynamic IP addresses (every time the connection is established, usually a new IP address is assigned).
  • You might be better off with a more flexible solution (e.g. TeamViewer).
share|improve this answer
alright thanks for the answer...I think I'll try TeamViewer – Daniel Mar 1 '12 at 11:46

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.