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I can't seem to connect remotely to a friend's windows machine using vinagre.

My friend is using realvnc free edition as a server and he operates windows 7.

So how can I set it up so that I can remotely access his desktop?

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You could try Remmina - It works very well for me and is available in the Ubuntu Software Centre.

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Have you tried Teamviewer? It's not FOSS but if I recall it works pretty well.

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