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In the early days of my career, I used to work on Linux machines remotely. In those days, I was not knowing about SSH & all and people around me was using Putty as it was very easy & simple. Open source as well. You just have to enter IP & Port and you would get command-line access to remote machine. here, we will discuss “how to install and configure VNC server on Linux?”

As development/deployment of build complexity increase over the year & I have gained some experience, my necessity increased. Then, I have to work on 2-3 different machine simultaneously and sometimes have to execute command synchronously in different machine.

Then I came across MobaXterm, which gives you screen split & command recording as macros made me astonish. It also support Window forwarding so you can also use GUI(not properly). This tool helped me a lot along the way of my professional journey.

Recently I have used vncserver & felt, earlier whatever I was using is scrap you can access complete full-fledged remote system with minimal processing cost.

Then I installed TigerVNC Viewer in my laptop which has windows 10 & vncserver in remote machine which has Ubuntu 17.

How to install and configure VNC server on Linux?

Installing vncserver

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xfce4 xfce4-goodies tightvncserver


  • Set password
$ vncpasswd

you prompted with entry password & confirm password lines where you have to set password.

  • Running VNC Server
$ vncserver
New 'X' desktop is vishal-:1

Creating default startup script /home/vishal/.vnc/xstartup
Starting applications specified in /home/vishal/.vnc/xstartup
Log file is /home/vishal/.vnc/vishal-:1.log
  • Now open TigerVNC Viewer(which may be on desktop or search using Windows Key). Enter: Like this & click on connect.
TigerVNC Viewer

You will prompted by password screen. You have to enter the password you set when running command vncpasswd.

Debugging Error

I have got grey screen nothing else. I have resolved that error following ways.

VNC server grey screen problem solution

  • Kill running server, there are two ways to do that
    1). vncserver -list gives you a list of running vncserver.
    2). ps -ef | grep vnc will give you a list of running vnc servers & their display number.
$ vncserver -kill :1

I have given :1 as my display no is 1

  • Open xstartup file
$ vim ~/.vnc/xstartup

Add following lines



gnome-panel &
gnome-settings-daemon &
metacity &
nautilus &
gnome-terminal &

Save & close it. Then run

$ sudo apt-get install ubuntu-gnome-desktop -y

Will take some time. Restart/configure vncserver by. Your problem should be resolved.

VNC server related utilities

  • Copy-paste between host & TigerVNC viewer
$ vncconfig --nowin &