Connecting to UNIX with a VNC viewer

It is possible for a user to access the graphical portion of Unix without having to be logged onto a Sparc station or NCD terminal. This can be done by using the Virtual Networking Client (VNC) to set a Unix windows session that can be accessed through a web browser on any platform. Performance will vary depending on the speed of the network connection, and there is a fair amount of set-up required to make it work. However if you follow the steps below you'll be able to access your Unix work environment from anywhere that has a web browser.

  1. Steps 1 and 2 can be skipped if you already have your VNC server configured and running

    Log onto Unix. At the command line type in vncserver. The first time that you do this step you'll be prompted for a password. The VNC server uses a password that is separate from your Unix logon password, so you should choose something different altogether. You may wish to use the Unix pwhelp command to help you choose a secure password.

    hostname% vncpasswd

    Using password file /home/u7/umnetid/.vnc/passwd
    VNC directory /home/u7/umnetid/.vnc does not exist, creating.

    Once your password has been set, you need to start the VNC service.

  2. hostname% vncserver

    New 'X' desktop is hostname:YY

    Creating default startup script /home/u0/joeblow/.vnc/xstartup
    Starting applications specified in /home/u0/joeblow/.vnc/xstartup
    Log file is /home/u0/joeblow/.vnc/hostname:YY.log

    ** It's very important to note both the hostname and the number YY that the VNC Server provides you.

  3. To access your Unix VNC desktop, you will then need to download and run a VNC viewer client such as TightVNC ( )
  4. You can now connect to the vnc server you had created. To connect, type in the address -- where hostname was the name provided above, and YY is the number given above. For example, if VNC Server had said "New 'X' desktop is deneb:4", then you would enter:

  5. You will be prompted to enter the password you had given the VNC server when you first started it.

    Note: If you've forgotten your VNC password, you'll need to follow the instructions here.

  6. Once you've authenticated you'll be connected to a Unix desktop. The example below shows the default vnc server startup environment, the TWM tab window manager.

  7. To end your current login you need to click on the Disconnect button that will be in the upper left hand side of your browser's window. When you disconnect you're simply ending your VNC connection. When you leave, any open applications (such as E-mail or web browsers) will stay open until you reconnect and close them, so you may want to end them before you disconnect.

Although the VNC service isn't as fast as working on a Unix console, it does provide a working solution to accessing Unix through a windows environment without sitting down at an NCD terminal or Sparc station.

Related Links

Establishing your VNC server

Changing Your Unix VNC Password

Stopping a UNIX VNC Session


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