Connect via RDP to Ubuntu 13.10 using XRDP

Enter your Ubuntu credentials
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Please see Connect via RDP to Ubuntu 14.04 using XRDP for an updated version of this post.

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

Share and Enjoy !

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  1. 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?

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

        1. I got the same problem as you… even after setting the xsession for xfce4, I just see a grey window and the mouse X…

  2. 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!

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

  3. Hi,
    I have fixed the RDP gray screen issue followed by below steps:
    “echo xfce4-session > ~/.xsession”
    sudo chmod 755 .xsession
    sudo /etc/init.d/xrdp restart


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