Connecting to CSE Computers Using VNC

If you are starting a long running process you might find it better to use VNC rather than SSH with XRedirect. Using VNC means that a job will continue running even if you get knocked off the network.

Required Software

For the Mac you will need no special software. For Windows or Debian or Ubuntu Linux you can get a good VNC viewer from RealVNC. This is the same client we install on lab machines.

Starting The Service

SSH to a CSE login server :- ssh Then you will have an ordinary command line on your target machine. So on its command line type :- vncserver VNC server will say “You will require a password to access your desktops.” and ask you to enter a password twice. After that it will type back some text including the line :- New 'machine:1 (username)' desktop is machine:1 where machine is the name of the computer and username is your username. Note that on some computers the number might be higher than 1 - this is because others have opened up VNC sessions on the computer. Now the address you will need for your VNC client is - you can calculate the portnumber by adding the number you got above to 5900, so in our example it is 5901.

Connecting From Windows or Linux

Run RealVNC by double clicking on it. It will then open a dialog asking for the name of the Server. Type Then a second dialog will come up asking for the password. Enter the password you selected when you started VNC Server.

Connecting From Mac OS X

In the Finder select the “Go” menu and choose the “Connect To Server…” menu option. This will bring up a dialog box headed “Connect To Server” and in the top under Server Address: type :-


and press return. You will then be asked for the password and you should enter the password you set up when you ran VNC server.

Useful Options

When you first start the VNC server you can specify the size of the desktop. The default is 1024 by 768 but if you want you can have one larger with :-

vncserver -geometry 1600x900

or whatever alternative you want.

Stopping The Server

To stop the server ssh into the machine and run the command :-

vncserver -kill :number

where number is the display number you got right at the beginning.

Last edited by jbc 04/12/2014

Tags for this page:

vnc, remote, ssh, X11, graphical