Apologies if this has been asked many times, but there seems to be a variety of options for remote desktop onto a headless machine running 14.04 LTS (Desktop)

I don't have much experience with Ubuntu, having used Windows 95% of the time.

What is the best solution for Remote Desktop access to a machine with no Mouse/Keyboard/Monitor, in 1920x1080? I'd like to use the Windows native RDP application, if possible. This is not on the LAN, if that makes a difference.

I've read about VNC, XRDP, FreeNX, Teamviewer etc.

This question contains useful info: Desktop sharing options for Ubuntu 12.04 with Unity but it doesn't seem to cover the headless side.

EDIT: I'd like to use the Unity interface remotely, preferably.


Assuming that ¨headless¨ means that you do not have the X.Org Display Server installed, you are not able to login with Remote Desktop, VNC, or another ¨Remote Desktop Program¨.

You have two options.

  1. You could install a graphical environment on the server (when you are at it´s physical location), then install VNC or XRDP, and use your home computer to connect to that VNC/RDP Server. For VNC, I would recommend the TightVNC Viewer (quick Google search will do), and with XRDP installed, you can connect using Windows´ built-in ¨Remote Desktop¨.
  2. In case that you do not want to install a desktop environment, you need to install a SSH Server. You can then download a program like PuTTY (Google search), and connect to the IP Address, with your username and password. As SSH Server I would highly recommend the openssh-server package, which can be installed by executing the following command: sudo apt-get install openssh-server. In case that you are root, you do not have to use sudo. I hope that this will help you getting a little further.

If you have any questions, you can ask them here (if you want), I will try to answer them as soon as possible.

  • I'm probably using headless incorrectly, but by that I mean I have no peripherals such as a Monitor. – harley_woop Jan 13 '16 at 10:52
  • Hmm, did you install a normal Ubuntu version, (Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu), or Ubuntu Server? – Gert Otten Jan 13 '16 at 10:54
  • 14.04 LTS (Desktop), as I said in the question. :) – harley_woop Jan 13 '16 at 10:56
  • Okay, sorry, didn´t noticed that :P ! Anyway, do you have VNC installed on that computer? – Gert Otten Jan 13 '16 at 11:00
  • It's a clean, fresh install at the moment. – harley_woop Jan 13 '16 at 11:02

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