I have Linux Mint installed at home on a test machine that I use to play with Linux in general, but I use a Windows 10 machine as my main daily driver. I needed a convenient way to connect to my Linux Mint machine from Windows or Mac without having to install all sorts of packages, etc.
If you browse the internet, you will see articles on installing XRDP, x11VNC, etc. Etc. This all seemed too complicated to me, especially considering that Linux Mint has built-in desktop sharing capabilities.
Warning: It’s worth noting that the method below disables encryption for remote connections.
This is not a problem for me, since I just connect to Linux from my local network. If you need to enable encryption for a remote connection, I’ll write another post soon on how to do this, as it’s a little more complicated.
Configure desktop sharing settings
In Linux Mint, click the menu button, select Preferences and then Desktop Sharing. The Desktop Sharing Settings screen will open, where you can allow other users to connect to the Linux system.
Under Sharing, select the Allow others to view your desktop and Allow others to control your desktop check boxes. In the Security section, it is probably a good idea to uncheck the You must confirm every access to this computer checkbox, as this will require local confirmation of the remote connection before it is accepted. If you are giving someone access to your machine, it is probably worth checking so you can control when someone connects to your machine.
To prevent anyone from connecting to your computer, select the Require user to enter this password check box and enter a password that is strong enough. Click Close when we’re done with this dialog box.
Install dconf editor
Next, we have to turn off encryption, which is currently required for Vino, and this is the default package installed in Linux Mint. We need to install the dconf editor so that we can change the default settings.
Open Terminal and enter the following command:
sudo apt-get install dconf-editor
After installing the package, click on the Linux Mint menu, then All Applications and scroll down until you see the dconf editor.
Open the editor and go to org – gnome – desktop – remote-access.
In the right pane, clear the “Require encryption” checkbox. Close the editor and then restart Linux. When you log in again, we can try to connect.
Connect using a VNC client
At this point, you can download your favorite Windows VNC client and connect to Linux. In my case, I used the VNC Viewer from RealVNC. You don’t need to register or pay for anything to use the viewer.
Enter the IP address of your Linux server and press Enter. Since there is no encryption, you will see a pop-up dialog informing you that your connection is insecure. Once you get past this message, you will need to enter the password that you entered when you first set up your desktop sharing settings in Linux Mint.
Hopefully, if all goes well, you can see your Linux Mint computer desktop.
As mentioned earlier, this is a quick way to fix errors on your Linux computer, but it’s not safe. This means that all data transmitted over the network is completely unencrypted, including passwords, etc. So, make sure no one can snoop on you if you plan to use this method. I’ll post another article soon on how to remotely connect to Linux Mint using encryption. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. Enjoy!