Friday, January 8, 2010

View a Windows desktop remotely with Ubuntu and xvnc4viewer

Today I needed to give on-the-phone support to a colleague concerning a MATLAB program that I contributed to developing. If you've ever tried to tell someone what to do on their computer without having a similar screen in front of you on the computer, you'll know that it's not easy. To remedy the situation, I looked on the net for a program/protocol to use to view my colleague's desktop remotely. I found out that there is a protocol called VNC (Virtual Network Computing) for which there are client/server applications available on Windows and Ubuntu.

I got my colleague to install a VNC server for Windows called TightVNC, while I installed a VNC viewer for Ubuntu called xvnc4viewer. It was pretty easy for us to get the connection running. She only had to enter in a password for accessing her VNC server, and needed to tell me her public IP address. TightVNC tells you the IP address(es) that your server is broadcasting on when you hover your mouse cursor over the V icon that shows up in your system tray.

Above I've shown you the Connect Options window for xvnc4viewer so that you can see what can be changed. However, the only options I changed were Colour Level (to Full Colour) and I enabled Full Screen Mode. Once she told me her public IP address, I just had to enter it into the textbox in the VNC Viewer: Connection Details main window shown above and press okay. Upon connection, the VNC viewer expands as much as it can to accomodate the resolution of the VNC server's screen and then anything they do on their computer can be seen on your computer! It's pretty cool except I'm not sure it allows the person with the viewer to control anything on the server's computer. That was acceptable for my over-the-phone support, as I only needed to see what she was seeing!

If you want to install xvnc4viewer for ubuntu, simply open the terminal and type sudo apt-get install xvnc4viewer. Easy peazy right? Once you have it installed, to start it up, go to the terminal and type in xvnc4viewer. That's all!


  1. Is true that using a large picture as a windows desktop wallpaper can make windows to perform slower?

  2. What the heck does your question have to do with this blog post, Silver MLM?