November 23, 2019

How to Connect to a Remote Desktop From Linux

Mayank Kumar

A remote desktop is “a software or operating system feature that allows a personal computer’s desktop environment to be run remotely on one system (usually a PC, but the concept applies equally to a server) while being displayed on a separate client device.”


In other words, a remote desktop is used to access an environment running on another computer. For example, the ManageIQ/Integration tests repository’s pull request (PR) testing system exposes a Virtual Network Computing (VNC) connection port so I can remotely view my PRs being tested in real-time. Remote desktops are also used to help customers solve computer problems: with the customer’s permission, you can establish a VNC or Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) connection to see or interactively access the computer to troubleshoot or repair the problem.


These connections are made using remote desktop connection software, and there are many options available. I use Remmina because I like its minimal, easy-to-use user interface (UI). It’s written in GTK+ and is open source under the GNU GPL license.


In this article, I’ll explain how to use the Remmina client to connect remotely from a Linux computer to a Windows 10 system and a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 system. Remmina’s minimal UI makes it easy to remotely access Linux PCs and Windows 10.

Install Remmina on Linux

First, you need to install Remmina on the computer you’ll use to access the other computer(s) remotely. If you’re using Fedora, you can run the following command to install Remmina:

sudo dnf install -y remmina

If you want to install Remmina on a different Linux platform, follow these installation instructions. You should then find Remmina with your other apps (Remmina is selected in this image).


Remmina icon highlighted on desktop


Launch Remmina by clicking on the icon. You should see a screen that resembles this:




Remmina offers several types of connections, including RDP, which is used to connect to Windows-based computers, and VNC, which is used to connect to Linux machines. As you can see in the top-left corner above, Remmina’s default setting is RDP.

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