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x11vnc is a VNC server that shares your physical X session. It can be started from a running X session by running:

x11vnc -many

It can also be started on system start-up. This is insecure and should only be used for firewalled home networks.

Get it

Download x11vnc from http://www.karlrunge.com/x11vnc/#downloading

Install it

Main article: installing software

This article takes version 0.9.5 as an example, but it should work similar with any version. Unpack x11vnc:

tar xvzf x11vnc-0.9.5.tar.gz
cd x11vnc-0.9.5/
./configure && make && make install

If you wish, you can also use a precompiled binary package.

Running x11vnc at boot

The following instructions are designed for Ubuntu and its sister projects, but will also work for other GNU/Linux distributions with minor changes.

This x11vnc how-to was originally written by ErikTheRed and can be found at the Ubuntu forums.

The original version of the how-to used xinetd, but other inetd daemons can also be used.

Using with KDM

These additional steps are needed if and only if you use the KDM software to log in. Kubuntu uses KDM by default.

Add the following to /etc/kde3/kdm/kdmrc under [X-:*-Core]


On non-Ubuntu distributions, the kdmrc file may be located in a different folder.

You can change the AuthFile to be something different, just make sure you have the same file in your server_args in your inetd services file.

Now, restart your computer (or Ctrl+Alt+Backspace to kill X) before continuing on to the next step.

Using with GDM

To use x11vnc with the GDM logon manager (used by Ubuntu, Xubuntu and Linux Mint but NOT by Kubuntu), add the following to /etc/gdm/gdm.conf-custom under the [daemon] section:


(On other distributions, this file may have different name or be located in a different folder.)

Now, restart your computer (or Ctrl+Alt+Backspace to kill X) before continuing on to the next step.


Ubuntu/Linux Mint and related projects

x11vnc is very similar to vnc, except that it allows you to view display :0, the display that would currently be showing on your monitor if you were sitting at your computer.

HINT: Replace "sudo nano" with "gksu gedit" on GNOME or "kdesudo kate" on KDE for a graphical editor.

1. Install the packages

sudo aptitude install x11vnc openbsd-inetd tcpd

2. Run the following command

ps wwaux | grep auth

This command should output something like this:

root      3838 10.1  1.7  13308  8840 tty7     Ss+  15:35   2:14 /usr/bin/X -br -nolisten tcp :0 vt7 -auth /root/xauth
erik      5156  0.0  0.1   2800   752 pts/0    R+   15:57   0:00 grep auth

Note the bold path after -auth, as you will need this for the next step

3a. Add the x11vnc service to inetd:

sudo nano /etc/inetd.conf

Add this line:

5900    stream  tcp4     nowait  root    /usr/sbin/tcpd /usr/local/bin/x11vnc.sh

4a. Then edit /usr/local/bin/x11vnc.sh:

sudo nano /usr/local/bin/x11vnc.sh

Enter this into the new file:

/usr/bin/x11vnc -inetd -o /var/log/x11vnc.log -display :0 \
-auth /root/xauth -many -bg

Notice the bold path, this is where you put the path you found in step 2.

Now, to make the script executable, you have to run the command:

sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/x11vnc.sh

4b. If you use xinetd (openSUSE does) then skip steps 3a and 4a and put the following text into a new file named /etc/xinetd.d/x11vnc:

service x11vnc
port = 5900
socket_type = stream
protocol = tcp
wait = no
user = root
server = /usr/bin/x11vnc
server_args = -inetd -o /var/log/x11vnc.log -display :0 -auth /var/run/xauth/A:0-LliKdB -many -bg
disable = no

5. Restart inetd

sudo /etc/init.d/openbsd-inetd restart

6. You can now connect to display :0 from another machine by using a VNC client. For example:

vncviewer vnchost:0

Using pre-0.9 versions of x11vnc with TightVNC Viewer

If you find problems when using TightVNC Viewer with x11vnc, add the -rfbversion 3.7 option to the x11vnc arguments.

If you are using xinetd, the server_args line will look like:

server_args     = -inetd -o /var/log/x11vnc.log -display :0 -auth /var/run/xauth/A:0-LliKdB -many -bg -rfbversion 3.7

IMPORTANT: Replace the -auth part with your own from step 2.

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