How to Enable Desktop Screen Sharing via VNC on Ubuntu Linux

Laptop on desk with pen
Laptop on desk with pen

By default, the Ubuntu desktop has a screen-sharing feature that allows anyone to connect via VNC protocol. This brief tutorial will show students and new users how to enable it on Ubuntu 18.04 / 18.10 desktops.

Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol isn’t available on Ubuntu out of the box. Instead, you can use third-party tools to enable it. However, if you want to connect to the Ubuntu desktop from Windows, you will want to install VNC clients.

We’ll show you how to connect below:

Remote access allows anyone with an account and access to connect and manage devices remotely from across the room or worldwide. This is true with Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection, VNC, or TeamViewer.

The steps below should get you started on Ubuntu.

Enable Remote Access to Ubuntu

Ubuntu machines, by default, have the protocol and server installed already. To enable remote access, log on to the desktop computer and go to System Menu ==> System Settings. as shown in the image below.

ubuntu dash dock

When the system settings page opens, go to Sharing ==> Enable sharing by sliding the button to the right, as shown in the image below.

Ubuntu screensharing

When sharing is enabled, click the Screen Sharing option on the page and turn on Screen Sharing, as shown in the image below.

Ubuntu screen sharing

When you’re done, close out. Ubuntu sharing will be enabled. Now continue below to learn how to connect to Ubuntu from Windows.

Connect to Ubuntu via VNC

Now that Screen Sharing is enabled, choose the remote access client to connect to Ubuntu. For other Ubuntu systems, search for Remmina Remote Desktop Client. This is an open-source client that is probably installed on all Linux systems. Use it to connect to other Ubuntu desktops remotely.

You will want to use a VNC client to connect to the Windows system. Unfortunately, Microsoft Remote Desktop Connections won’t work here, so you must use VNC or other compatible remote connection clients to work with Ubuntu.

To enable access outside your local network, you must set up your firewall to forward the traffic to the Ubuntu desktop via a specific port number. Normally port 5900.

You will also want to run the below commands to turn off Remote sharing encryption. This feature creates problems for Windows machines while connecting.

sudo gsettings set org.gnome.Vino require-encryption false

When you’re done, please test it out. Find the Ubuntu desktop computer IP address and test. You can access the Ubuntu desktop remotely if everything is set up correctly.

This is how one enables Ubuntu remote desktop access.


This post shows students and new users how to enable Ubuntu remote desktop access. Once enabled, users can connect remotely from other computers to the Ubuntu desktop. Of course, for Windows systems, folks will have to use VNC or other compatible VNC protocol clients.

Microsoft Remote Desktop Connections client won’t work here.


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