I'm brand new to Ubuntu and Linux in general and I installed Ubuntu on a second PC (just to be sure that if I mess something up, I still have my Windows 7 PC).

Is there an easy way for me to use remote desktop or an equivalent on my Windows 7 PC to connect to my Ubuntu PC? I want to be able to work on Ubuntu without having two keyboards/mice.

So far, what I've found on the web take for granted that I'm already good with Linux, which is not my case. So I'm looking for a answer for dummies. ;)

  • On Ubuntu 15.10 I have successfully used Remote Desktop Client to connect to a Windows Server 2012
    – camposer
    Sep 23, 2016 at 10:43

13 Answers 13


The protocol that Windows desktop sharing uses is called RDP. There is an RDP server implementation for Linux called xrdp but development has fallen behind and the RDP client in Windows 7 won't talk to the older version of RDP that it uses.

So if you want to connect to xrdp from Windows 7 you have to copy the old RDP client (mstsc.exe and mstscax.dll) from a WinXP install to the Windows 7 box and run it independently. At that point you might as well just be using a VNC client instead, really. VNC servers for Linux are much better-supported.


I believe you can use various VNC applications on Windows that are compatible with the built in one on Ubuntu. I really can not recommend any specific ones, as I have not used them since 2005. Remember to go to System -> Preferences -> Remote Desktop to set it up if Ubuntu is the guest.

  • 55
    This is an incredibly vague answer; I'm not sure why it's gotten so many upvotes. Jan 25, 2013 at 14:26

I can attest that you can use vnc in windows 7 to connect to an ubuntu host just fine. I use the regular old VNC viewer. There really isn't a feature difference that I can see between doing this and using remote desktop.


The most user friendly solution, that requires practically no set up at all, is an application called teamviewer

install a client on every machine you want to access and your off. It runs over port 80 so theres usually no firewall config necessary. A few caveats:

  • its not foss (although it is free as in beer)
  • it runs over the web (even for connections on the local network) and the data it sends in unencrypted, so its not suitable if your transferring anything sensitive.

the company i used to work for used it quite a lot for remote support at work

  • 3
    As of today connections are encrypted: see teamviewer.com/en/products/security.aspx. „TeamViewer works with a complete encryption based on RSA public/private key exchange and AES (256 Bit) session encoding. This technology is used in a comparable form for https/SSL and can be considered completely safe by today's standards. As the private key never leaves the client computer, it is ensured by this procedure that interconnected computers - including the TeamViewer routing servers - cannot decipher the data stream.”
    – lgarzo
    Mar 6, 2012 at 17:39

You can use VNC.. And, it's already integrated in Ubuntu.

Open up "Desktop Sharing".

There, you can easily set up your computer to be accessible through the LAN.

You can connect to it from a Windows PC using a VNC viewer such as UltraVNC.


From Wikipedia:

TeamViewer is a proprietary computer software package for remote control, desktop sharing, online meetings, web conferencing and file transfer between computers.

The software operates with the Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, and Android operating systems. It is possible to access a machine running TeamViewer with a web browser.

To install TeamViewer, download the deb package for:


cd ~/Downloads
sudo dpkg -i teamviewer*.deb

Also there is a list of many alternatives to TeamView such as LogMein and many others which you can check out here.

  • teamviewer not work well for mint 13 :\ Nov 3, 2013 at 17:53

You can try teamviewer. it works for me perfectly.

To install team view on your Ubuntu Machine, go to TeamViewer Download page of Linux. Download the Ubuntu package, 32-bit or 64-bit, depending on your setup. Once installed, just run the TeamViewer utility. It provides you with a ID and password to connect with from your workplace. you can also setup TeamViewer in Ubuntu to autostart in background, autohide notification, setup a single permanent password etc. Have a look at the options, there is a lot to configure and very straight forward.


install remote desktop support on your ubuntu machine

sudo apt-get install xrdp

Connect from your Windows machine with regular remote desktop application.

Reference: http://www.liberiangeek.net/2012/05/connect-to-ubuntu-12-04-precise-pangolin-via-windows-remote-desktop/


I've administrated Windows servers from my Ubuntu 10.04 laptop using the default Terminal Connection client. The only problem I see is that you are limited to either standard 4:3 resolutions or full screen, but nothing in between. So on my 16:9 laptop screen, the 4:3 resolution does not work well. Using the version 7 Windows RDP client that is installed with Windows 7, you can many options on resolution but also how you want to send over the details of the remote desktop from sound, usb, added desktop visuals.

The larger problem is from Windows 7 you will need to make sure you enable Remote Desktop, give your account remote access, also if needed allow from Windows Firewall.

For basic needs I think the Linux Terminal Connection client works well enough. Keep in mind that the future version of Windows RDP client will support more features such as sending 3D processed video using the remote computer's video card. These features will not work with non-Microsoft RDP cllients, except for approved third party vendors like Citrix.


Another cool option you can use is download the software called Synergy on both systems. It is completely free and all you have to do is say setup the one running on Windows as the server and the one on Ubuntu as the client. In the server side you have to just drag a computer to whatever side you want and name it the same as the computer's actually name. After that just go to the client computer and type in the server computer's IP and it will automatically connect. You just have to keep internet connection for both and its a good idea to set both the server and client Synergy programs to auto start at bootup.


ThinLinc can let you access Ubuntu from other systems. We have clients for Windows, Linux, Solaris and OS X. Note that it is a partially proprietary solution though.

It is primarily designed for full remote desktop servers, but it works fine for simple remote access as well. Usage is free for up to 10 users.

You can download it here:


And there is information in the Ubuntu wiki about setting it up:



The Windows 7 remote desktop viewer that comes installed with the os will only connect to windows machines using the rdp protocol. I agree with most of the others that it would probably be best to install a VNC viewer on the Windows computer and use the vnc sharing built in to Ubuntu 12.04. Also this will allow you to connect to your remote Ubuntu machine from anywhere if you configure port forwarding on the router. For a quick guide with screenshots on how to set up vnc sharing on Ubuntu 12.04 follow this link: UbuntuLinuxGuide


This is a very old post, nevertheless still of interest. So I am wondering why nobody mentioned nomachine and the xnserver/xnclient. At work I used this for years to work remotely from a windows machine on a linux server. ...and I have the (important) impression, that it is free (not open source, though).

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