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I already have PuTTY and Xming working, so I can forward individual apps. But I'd really like to be able to simply forward the entire unity desktop. I've seen advice pointing me at VNC, but while I have installed the VNC package from apt, I can't seem to get it to accept connections from the tightvnc viewer on my Win7 machine. Ideally, I'd like to be able to access the desktop both remotely and locally; I already have that set up with my Ubuntu machine and dyndns.

[edit: and I should have mentioned: the specific error I get on the windows box is "...the target machine actively refused it"

So: Is there a quick and easy way to make vnc go without a lot of fuss? Is there an easy way to do it with my current setup (I've tried just launching unity. That was not successful). I would rather not try and solve this with a VM, both because it seems like it might be cumbersome -- the VM would have to be able to get out of its virtualbox session and onto the internet -- and because I would rather have a machine that I can access remotely from my laptop or a client site machine, if I need to.

If it helps, what I'm trying to accomplish and why: I strongly prefer to do work from the Linux desktop but I also do a fair bit of gaming which as a practical matter leaves me stuck with windows (I have not found any of the work-arounds for that remotely satisfactory, and I'm quite aggressive about looking). At my last place, that was no problem; I had enough space to put a head on both machines, and PuTTY +X11 forwarding was fine when I didn't want to bother moving. I was sitting fat dumb and happy. In my new place, this is impossible, and all my experiments with KVM switches have resulted in solutions that work MAYBE one third of the time; the rest one or the other machine doesn't see some combination of the keyboard, the mouse, or both.

UPDATE: So, I managed to find the port vnc was listening on, so I now finally get in. But all I get is a grey screen.

I'm not supper committed to VNC, and I'm not terribly concerned that ssh forwarding might be slower; is there no way to simply lauch unity from the command line and have it forward across the ssh connection?

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I've had decent results in the past using Remmina as I recall. It supports numerous protocols including RDP (A Windows favourite). More information can be found here: https://freerdp.github.io/Remmina/index.html and soon here: http://remmina.sourceforge.net/

I recall changing the default RDP port (for security reasons)

I used Remmina on the Ubuntu side and Remote Desktop on the Windows side. It worked. Granted this was many years ago and I almost never use Windows now so your mileage may vary..

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Teamviewer is by far the best.

However if you have X11 forwarding via cygwin (apt-cyg install xinit; startxwin&; ssh -Y myremotehost), you can then just type nautilus on the remote box

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