I'd like to remotely connect to an Ubuntu 16.04 LTS system over xrdp using the Unity desktop environment.

I have a 14.04 LTS system that I configured to use Xfce for xrdp connections, but I prefer Unity and would like to avoid installing another desktop environment if possible.

Is this possible? And if so, what are the steps to configure it correctly?


4 Answers 4


------------------Important Update for this topic : ------------------------

It seems that it's possible to use xRDP and Unity Interface even if there are still some minor issues with such setup. (You can see a demo here)

In order to configure your Ubuntu 16.04 to have xrdp connecting to Unity, you would need to perform the following

  1. install TigerVNC
  2. install XRDP
  3. Configure preferred desktop to be used in xRDP

Full Instructions on how to perform this can be found at http://c-nergy.be/blog/?p=9962

------------------------ End of the Important Update------------------

Remarks : The information provided below is not the most recent information but it still valid. Please be sure to read the Important Update note to get the latest informatioin....

To quickly answer your question, as far as we know Unity desktop cannot be used in conjunction with xrdp. You have no other choices other than installing an alternate desktop environment. Xfce is one option

we prefer to install mate-desktop as altnernate desktop.
With Ubuntu 16.04, you can use mutiny feature of mate desktop to have something similar to Unity (but it's not !) see this post

You could use the xrdp as a proxy server to connect to the Unity desktop using vnc protocol. To be able to perform such configuration, you will need to configure your vnc server to start at bootup and to configure install xrdp on the system you want to access.

In the xrdp login box; you will then need to select the option console instead of Sesman-Xvnc. (all detailed info here) but again here you simply using the xrdp as proxy to basically initiate a vnc connection...

Hope this help

  • worked perfectly well for 17.04 on azure too ... thanks a lot
    – Ingo
    May 26, 2017 at 15:48

-------------------Important Updates -------------------

see comment above to have XRDP connecting to your Unity Desktop Full instruction on installing xrdp and connecting to Unity Desktop can be found at [http://c-nergy.be/blog/?p=9962]2

-------------------End of Updates ----------------------

This can be helpful to other people...

In Ubuntu 16.04, adding the command about the alternate desktop in the .xsession file does not seem to work anymore. To be able to use xrdp and to connect to the alternate desktop you have installed; you need to edit the following file

  • /etc/xrdp/startwm.sh

If you have installed the mate desktop as alternate option, you would type the mate-session just after the fi line. Your startwm.sh file should look like

if [ -r /etc/default/locale ]; then
  . /etc/default/locale 
    export LANG LANGUAGE 

#Add this line if you plan to use mate-desktop as alternate desktop 
#insert the appropriate command based on your alternate desktop 


Step by Step Instruction on how to install and Configure Xrdp in Ubuntu 16.04 can be found at this location

Hope this help


The following seems to be a good work-around...

I found this article below, and followed it exactly. It seems to work on Ubuntu Gnome 16.04, and I'd imagine to would work on the standard Ubuntu 16.04 as well. See here: http://www.hiroom2.com/2016/05/24/ubuntu-16-04-remote-connect-to-gnome-classic-desktop-with-vnc-xrdp/

After this, Remmina stopped working. To fix this, I removed Remmina and installed the latest version using a PPA. See here: https://github.com/FreeRDP/Remmina/wiki

  • HI..I am stuck in this line: ln -s contrib/packages/deb/ubuntu-xenial/debian chmod a+x debian/rules sudo apt install -y -o 'apt::install-recommends=true' \ dpkg-checkbuilddeps 2>&1 | \ sed -e 's/.*build dependencies://g' -e 's/([^)]*)//g'`` Can you shed light on this for me? hiroom2.com/2016/08/28/…
    – Arst
    Feb 13, 2017 at 10:00

Here are instructions to a repurposed Hyper-V solution that allows network access to xrdp Unity session. Supports video, audio, and client workstation hard drive redirection. Although the instructions are written assuming Ubuntu runs in a VM, I see no reason why it shouldn’t work for physical Ubuntu machine.

From my own experience, this xrdp solution provides noticeably more responsive command line typing and browser rendering than one reliant on vino VNC.

I've use this solution and automated the application of VM checkpoints to provide a secure browser experience to my LAN connected computers

  • 1
    Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! I recommend to edit your question to expand it with specific details about what you do. Link-only answers are discouraged here.
    – abu_bua
    Sep 23, 2018 at 14:53
  • 1
    I understand but it's a lengthy process that seemed atypical when compared to the majority of other posts. Also, wanted to avoid maintaining two copies. Would a summary help and then provide the link? Sep 23, 2018 at 19:03

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