HomeIT SupportRemote Access to Math AccountsSetting Up Your VNC Service

7.4. Setting Up Your VNC Service

After updating your xstartup file, make sure execute permissions are set on it:
bobburton@chivo:~/.vnc$ ls -ld xstartup
-rwxr-xr-x 1 bobburton users  24 Feb 13 10:35 xstartup
Kill your current VNC server process if you have one:
bobburton@chivo:~/.vnc$ ps -ef | grep vnc | grep bobburton
bobburt+ 24506 1 0 08:57 pts/8 00:00:00 Xvnc4 :2 -desktop chivo:2 (bobburton) -httpd /usr/share/vnc-java -auth /u5/bobburton/.Xauthority -geometry 1024x768 -depth 16 -rfbwait 30000 -rfbauth /u5/bobburton/.vnc/passwd -rfbport 5902 -pn -fp /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/,/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Speedo/,/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc/,/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/,/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/,/usr/share/fonts/X11/misc/,/usr/share/fonts/X11/Type1/,/usr/share/fonts/X11/75dpi/,/usr/share/fonts/X11/100dpi/ -co /etc/X11/rgb
bobburton@chivo:~/.vnc$ vncserver -kill :2
Killing Xvnc4 process ID 24506
Restart the VNC server:
bobburton@chivo:~/.vnc$ vncserver -geometry 1680x1000 -depth 24
Found /usr/share/vnc-java for http connections.

New 'chivo:2 (bobburton)' desktop is chivo:2

Starting applications specified in /u5/bobburton/.vnc/xstartup
Log file is /u5/bobburton/.vnc/chivo:2.log


  • Many warnings will be spewed to the log file, e.g. ~/.vnc/chivo1:2.log, but none prevent the desktop from running.

How to reset your vnc password

Use ssh to connect to any networked linux machine (e.g.  phoenix, dragon or a chivo) and enter the command "vncpasswd." You will be prompted for a new password.

How to figure out your desktop number

If you've forgotten your desktop number, you can connect to the VNC host via ssh then issue the command:

ps -ef | grep vnc | grep myusername

How to permanently kill your remote desktop

To kill your remote desktops, first use SSH to connect to the VNC host, as described above. To kill a particular desktop, for example desktop number 7, use the command:

vncserver -kill :7

To kill all your desktops at once, use the command:

killall Xvnc4 

You can ignore any "Operation not permitted" error messages.

Advanced VNC Hints

  • The simpler the graphics on your desktop, the less information needs to be transferred, and the faster your VNC connection will be.       
    • Change your desktop background color to a solid color. Use solid white or solid black.
    • Simplify your desktop theme to one that uses rectangular windows, and uses a solid color (as opposed to gradient shading) for controls, window titles, etc.
    • Turn off any graphics, like moving charts or eyeballs that follow the mouse cursor...
  • To make VNC it as fast as possible you can use a smaller desktop, and use fewer bits per pixel. For example: vncserver -depth 8 -geometry 800x600.
  • When you create your VNC server with the command vncserver, you can use a different resolution and/or color depth. You can match your vnc screen resolution to that of your home computer and run your VNC viewer in fullscreen mode.       
    • For example, say your Windows box at home has a display resolution of 1280x1024 at 24 bits/pixel. (To see this information, right-click on the background of the desktop and bring up Properties.)
    • When you create your VNC server, you could use the command vncserver -depth 24 -geometry 1280x1024. (see "man vncserver" for more info.)
    • When you connect from your Windows box, right-click on the titlebar of the outermost VNC window and select "Full Screen". It will tell you the keystrokes to escape from full-screen mode.
    • At this point, instead of seeing Linux inside a VNC window inside Microsoft Windows, all you see in front of you is your remote Linux desktop!
  • Please disable the screensaver on your remote desktop. (Otherwise your virtual desktop will use too many CPU cycles "saving" a non-existent screen.) On our remote desktop gateways, the screensaver has already been disabled - but if you run a VNC server on some other computer, then the first time you connect to your remote desktop, disable your X screensaver (go to Start/Programs/Settings/Desktop/Screensaver).

connect  to the server

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