Have you ever wanted to connect to an Ubuntu desktop using your Windows remote desktop connection? With the power of xRDP, you can, and it's not very difficult to setup; Just follow along. The requirements I have listed below is the environment I've tested this on, but I'm sure it'll work for various other distributions / configurations. Comment if you try other methods!
- VPS / Dedicated Server (Running a clean Ubuntu 12.04 install)
- Windows XP, Windows 7
Now that you know what you need, go ahead and download PuTTY.exe. This will be required to access the command line terminal. I'm going to assume you've already obtained a VPS / Dedicated server, and are also running Windows 7. Let's get started.
Start PuTTY.exe, and enter your server information. Once your connection is established, you'll be prompted for a username and password. The username is probably root. Your password should have arrived in an email sent to you by your host, or should be available through their client area.
Terminal Commands: When entering commands, copy the entire lines (Including the dashes (-).
Let's first update Ubuntu. It shouldn't take longer than a few minutes on a new system.
sudo apt-get update
Now let's install xRDP. This will allow Windows Remote Desktop to establish a connection to our server.
sudo apt-get install xrdp
Our next step is to install the Ubuntu desktop. This will take some time, about 30 minutes on most systems. Don't go away too long, you will be prompted mid-way with language settings. Soon before you start it, you will be prompted to confirm a 1.5GB download.
When choosing the languages, it's okay to just press Right, then Enter. This will select the defaults.
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
You don't have to reboot, but it wouldn't hurt.
That's all! Now it's just a matter of you connecting to your Ubuntu desktop. Go to the start menu in Windows, and click Run. Type in mstsc, and where it says Computer, type in your server's IP. Now click Connect.
You'll be prompted for a username and password. This will be the same information you've entered when you've logged into your server with PuTTY.
Enjoy your new remote remote desktop. If you have any issues connecting at first, issue the following command using PuTTY, then try logging in again.
echo "gnome-session --session=ubuntu-2d" > ~/.xsession
If you've enjoyed this article, and have found it useful, please consider sharing it with someone else. There're many share buttons below, and it would certainly help out my rankings. If you'd like an Ubuntu based remote desktop but don't want to go through the hassle of setting one up, consider renting a VPS / server from me, and I'll be happy to do all the work at no extra charge.