Access the display on a remote computer

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You want to access an X11 session that already exists.

Reasons can be

  • someone is running Linux and requesting support from you
  • you want to train a user how to work with a specific gui software
  • you have worked on your desktop computer and want to continue work in front of the TV (Simpsons coming) on your notebook


So let's assume you want to access an X11 session of user on the computer user-desktop. Go to your computer and do:

you@your-computer $ ssh user@user-desktop
user@user-desktop $ export DISPLAY=:0
user@user-desktop $ x11vnc

The program x11vnc tells you where to connect. The line will read like

The VNC desktop is:      user-desktop:0

Connect from your notebook:

you@your-computer $ vncviewer user-desktop:0

See also