Remote Desktop Between Ubuntu/Linux and Windows, Part I

Windows will never exert itself in the slightest to co-exist with other platforms, but Linux comes with a variety of excellent secure graphical remote desktop applications, so that you can run your Windows PC from Linux, and Linux from Windows.
Posted January 23, 2009

Eric Geier

(Page 1 of 3)

Do you use both Windows and Linux? Wish you could remote into Windows from Linux (Ubuntu or other distributions) or into Linux from Windows? Well, you can. Just like when using a Remote Desktop Connection between Microsoft platforms (or remoting between Linux machines), you can bring up the desktop of the other platform. You can click around the desktop and run applications just as if you were sitting in front of the computer.

We'll discuss a few different approaches you can take to get this remote desktop capability. Plus we'll go step-by-step through setting up one method, using free tools. Let's get started.

Choosing a remote desktop protocol

Remote desktop applications typically use either the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or Virtual Network Computing (VNC) protocol. In order to establish a remote connection, both the host/server and client have to support the same protocol. The problem is that not all operating systems (OSs) use the same default protocol. Plus some Linux distributions and some Windows editions don't include both a remote desktop server and client application, or either one.

Your first task should be evaluating which protocols are already supported by your computers. In addition to scouring your OS, searching documentation, and referring to the cheat sheet table, you ought to be able to figure out what's what, and where. Then in the end, you should choose a protocol to use among all your computers.





Windows Home Edition




Windows XP Professional




Windows Vista Home Basic & Premium




Windows Vista Business & Ultimate




Most Linux Distros




Here are a few more things for you to consider:

  • VNC remote desktop connections are typically slower than RDP connections, however VNC is usually easier to implement across a variety of platforms.

  • For better performance and security, you can use NoMachine's NX free server and clients, or those from FreeNX—more advanced configuration is required though.

  • It's also possible to support RDP connections to Linux machines; for example, by using the xrdp server.

Page 1 of 3

1 2 3
Next Page

Tags: Linux, Windows, Microsoft, server, desktop

0 Comments (click to add your comment)
Comment and Contribute


(Maximum characters: 1200). You have characters left.



IT Management Daily
Don't miss an article. Subscribe to our newsletter below.