Good day everyone,

In my home network, I have a laptop running Ubuntu and a desktop running Ubuntu as well. To avoid having my files mixed up, I want to use the laptop to connect to the desktop remotely for working on and transferring files. Plus, the desktop is located in another building on the premise and I do not want to physically go there everytime I need something done on it. (I am not lazy, it is just not practical :)). So, I want to be able to power up the desktop remotely, log in remotely using VNC/Remmina and shut it down remotely without having to leave my seat.

Powering up and shutting down works. I have set up Wake-on-LAN so that I can power up the desktop from my laptop. I have also tested remote desktop sessions with a VNC protocol (Remmina) which worked as well.

However, in order to use Remmina, I need to be logged in on the desktop because the VNC server starts after a succesful login. Which requires me to be present at the desktop. I have not found a way to login remotely - so from the laptop. Research about this shows several directions I can explore: use SSH to login and forward the display or use other remote desktop services such as X11VNC. But details are missing, so I dare not mess with scripts and such. Bear in mind, I am no Linux guru, so I like to keep it simple.

So, my main question is this: How can I start a remote desktop session without logging in on the desktop?

The laptop is running Ubuntu 14.04, the desktop Ubuntu 16.04.

1 Answer 1


Sinse you want to keep it simple - enable autologin. Settings - Details - Users - Unlock = click on auto login for one of users

More complicated way is X11VNC, details how to install and configure it is searchable, I'll not including it in answer as you want it easy way

  • Thank you LeonidMew. I have seen the option for autologin, but for some reason the option is greyed out. Plus, I would rather not use it because of security reasons. Perhaps X11VNC is the way to go. :)
    – broekeman
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 17:00
  • 1
    There's an "Unlock" button hidden at the right end of the title bar, that gives you access to the option.
    – kiw
    Commented Aug 21, 2020 at 12:42

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