How to Connect via Remote Desktop (RDP) to Ubuntu Linux

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to connect to Ubuntu 20.04 | 18.04 via Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

In some cases, you may want to connect to the Ubuntu desktop via a remote desktop using existing protocols. At this moment, it’s pretty easy. Simply install a few packages and you’re ready to go.

Xrdp is an open-source implementation of the Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) that allows you to graphically control a remote computer.

It provides a fully functional Linux terminal server, capable of accepting connections from rdesktop, freerdp, and Microsoft’s own terminal server / remote desktop clients.

When you’re ready, follow the steps below to get it working.

Install xrdp

Since you already have a desktop environment with Ubuntu Desktop edition, simply run the commands below to Xrdp.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install xrdp
sudo systemctl enable xrdp

To validate that Xrdp is installed, run the commands below:

sudo systemctl status xrdp

That should display similar text as below:

xrdp.service - xrdp daemon
Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/xrdp.service; enabled; vendor preset: >
Active: active (running) since Tue 2020-04-28 10:11:52 CDT; 15s ago
Docs: man:xrdp(8)
Main PID: 2989 (xrdp)
Tasks: 1 (limit: 4657)
Memory: 1.0M
CGroup: /system.slice/xrdp.service
└─2989 /usr/sbin/xrdp
Apr 28 10:11:51 ubuntu2004 xrdp[2986]: (2986)(140239724779328)[INFO ] address [>
Apr 28 10:11:51 ubuntu2004 xrdp[2986]: (2986)(140239724779328)[INFO ] listening>

Connect from Windows 10

Now that the Xrdp server is installed,  go and open the Windows Remote Desktop Connection app and connect to the desktop hostname or IP address.

Please make out logout off your current Ubuntu desktop sessions. You can’t be logged in to Ubuntu while connecting via Xrdp.

Xrdp Ubuntu setup

When you have logged out of Ubuntu desktop sessions, click Connect to initiate an RDP connection. You’ll be prompted for your Ubuntu login details.

Next, type in your Ubuntu machine account username and password and connect using Xorg

xrdp ubuntu setup

When your account username and password are confirmed, you should be login to your Ubuntu machine from Windows.

That’s it!

Connecting to the Ubuntu desktop is easy since it already has a desktop environment.

Connecting to Ubuntu Servers

Since servers generally don’t have a graphical interface, you will need to install a minimal graphical interface for this to work in a server environment.

Run the commands below to install some necessary packages.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install xfce4 xfce4-goodies xorg dbus-x11 x11-xserver-utils

Next, xrdp user to the sss-cert group by running the commands below:

sudo adduser xrdp ssl-cert

That should get Xrdp installed and ready for connection on Ubuntu servers.

Since most Ubuntu servers don’t have a firewall enabled out of the box, no need to worry about firewall blocking connections.

However, if you have Ubuntu firewall enabled, simply run the commands below to allow RDP traffic.

For example, if you’re connecting network, then run the commands below:

sudo ufw allow from to any port 3389
sudo ufw allow 3389

That’s it!


This post showed you how to connect via Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to Ubuntu 20.04 | 18.04 Desktops and Servers.

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