My day to day touch on technology…

Connect via RDP to Ubuntu 13.10 using XRDP

If you need to connect to a Linux machine, and in the scope of this guide, Ubuntu 13.10 (I’m sure this guide should be fine for earlier versions as well), then your options include:

  • Pure and simple SSH – The admin’s super tool! (just install openssh-server – works every time!)
  • VNC – I don’t like this method because you need to install software on your client AND server
  • XRDP – This still involves VNC to some degree but you can use the normal Windows Remote Desktop Client

The latter is the one I’ll guide you through here.

In my example, I need to connect to my home PC. If you’re trying something similar, it is assumed that proper port forwarding has been setup on your home router/firewall. Also, there are issues in getting Unity to work using this mechanism. To overcome this, I installed xfce4. I’m sure you can use other window managers as well, but try them at your own peril.

So, on the home PC, here’s what you do
Step 1:Install XRDP and xfce4

user@techedemic-home:~$sudo apt-get install xfce4 xrdp

Step 2:Execute the following to make xfce4 the default window manager for the RDP connections

user@techedemic-home:~$echo xfce4-session > ~/.xsession

Step 3: Time to try it. In my case, I’m connecting from work via RDP to my home pc

Connect via the normal windows remote desktop client

Connect via the normal windows remote desktop client

Step 4: You will be prompted for your credentials. Use the same as you normally use to log onto your Ubuntu PC
Enter your Ubuntu credentials

Enter your Ubuntu credentials

Step 5: You’re in and you’re working over RDP
Your xfce4 desktop should open

Your xfce4 desktop should open

Category: Linux, Networking, Random
  • Kong Baak says:

    Instead of remote connecting into xfce4 desktop (ubuntu 13.10).
    Is there any way to connect to ubuntu 13.10 unity desktop.

    I didn’t any success story connecting from Windows 7 to Ubuntu 13.10 Unity desktop environment.

    Anyone manage to fix it?

    December 12, 2013 at 9:06 am
  • Dan says:

    Thanks so much for this!

    March 8, 2014 at 4:05 am
  • Rohit Jain says:

    I tried the above but I am getting grey screen with a ‘X’ cursor. Any ideas where I am going wrong.

    April 12, 2014 at 12:18 pm
    • Ahmed Karam says:

      You have to run this command on the home profile for the user you are logging with.
      “echo xfce4-session > ~/.xsession”

      April 13, 2014 at 11:21 am
  • Chong says:

    I recently upgrade from ubuntu 12.04 to 13.10. With 12.04 I was able to use xrdp to remotely access it from a windows 8 machine. However with 13.10, after step 1 and 2 described above, I got stuck at step 3, after I clicked “connect”, the popup remote desktop connection window is completely black and without prompting the login to xrdp credential. Any idea of why? Thanks!

    April 14, 2014 at 11:46 am
    • dale p says:

      Chong.. could try editing /etc/xrdp/xrdp.ini. Leave just the [global section] and the [xrdp5] section that includes name=sesman-Xvnc.

      April 19, 2014 at 2:26 pm

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