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I use Ubuntu on my desktop. When I am away from my desktop, I would like to access the session using my Windows 7 laptop. Currently, I am using xrdp to connect, but it starts up a remote session. Is there any way to just use the same desktop session? I want to be able to pick up where I left off on the desktop.


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Did you look at this question? askubuntu.com/questions/133343/… –  Barbarrosa Jan 4 '13 at 3:54
Yes. I believe they are referring to connecting to existing remote sessions upon subsequent logins (which works for me, too). However, I want to connect to the desktop session and reuse that. –  Jonathan B Jan 4 '13 at 14:41

4 Answers 4

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Well, I was unable to find a way to do this with pure xrdp, but I did find a nice writeup on how to go about getting this set up as an rdp-to-vnc gateway. It works well enough to suit my purpose.

Taken from http://ubuntuwiki.net/index.php/Xrdp,_installing

  1. Install xrdp and vino

    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install xrdp vino
  2. Configure vino so that you can remotely connect to the existing session

    Type vino-preferences from the terminal, check "Allow other users to view your desktop," "Allow other users to control your desktop," and configure the "Security" settings as you like (you will probably want to uncheck "confirm each access to this machine" and check "require the user to enter this password").

  3. Configure xrdp to access vino

    Edit /etc/xrdp/xrdp.ini, adding in the text below. Alter the name to whatever you fancy. Also, make sure that [xrdp1] uses a number that doesn't conflict with an existing configuration.

    # set empty username because VNC auth 
    # doesn't actually use username, so no
    # point in asking the user for one.
    name=Active Local Login
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Do you know if it's possible to access the console's login screen? In the event I have to reboot the computer remotely, I would like to login at the console so when I return home, the desktop will still be there. –  Toland H Mar 19 '14 at 23:11
Was the guide really complete? I don't appear to have a running VNC server after following all the steps. I see "connecting to error - problem connecting" when I try to connect using freerdp. –  Iain Elder Apr 2 '14 at 1:48
Vino doesn't start automatically on XFCE. I raised a bug and explained a fix here: bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=727473 –  Iain Elder Apr 2 '14 at 2:40
I also get a "Problem Connecting" - but if I use netstat it tells me that I have vino-server running on ports 5800 (ipv6 only) and 5900 (both ipv4 and ipv6). I am using a default ubuntu install, and I have made sure that I have check the appropriate boxes to allow others to connect to and control my desktop. –  starbeamrainbowlabs Oct 5 '14 at 19:24

Better yet, set your /etc/xrdp/xrdp.ini thusly:


This way it asks for the port with a default of 5910. If no vnc session exists on 5910 then a 5910 connection attempt will fail. In that case try again, but set the port to -1 to force the creation of a new session, typically on 5910.

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The original question I believe was how -- if possible -- to connect to the desktop session. As in what you see when you sit in front of the computer and look at the monitor (i.e. how Microsoft products do it) rather than creating a whole new session.

Is there any way to do this or not?


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Yes, if you check out the answer I posted, it does exactly that. –  Jonathan B Mar 5 at 22:40
Which one? I tried to read through everything, but all I see is talking about connecting to the same 'remote' session. –  Scott Mar 6 at 23:12
The accepted answer, askubuntu.com/a/240013/118596, is for connecting to the same "desktop" session. –  Jonathan B Mar 9 at 18:22
ok, I did what it said and all I get is a black screen on all three devices. –  Scott Mar 10 at 19:38

You might want to have a look at this post: http://c-nergy.be/blog/?p=4168 This post describe how to use xrpd and x11vnc to reconnect to the same remote session

Hope this help

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Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. –  Aditya Jun 12 '13 at 20:53
Those are instructions for reconnecting to existing remote sessions. The problem I wanted to solve was connecting to an existing "desktop" session. –  Jonathan B Jun 13 '13 at 4:37

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