Accessing Linux From Windows Via TightVNC

My netbook has been getting little action since I got my i7 laptop. The netbook was really too sluggish to get any Android work done. Even during my Android talks, I end up bringing the laptop instead. But now I’ve decided to bring the laptop back into use again. April 2012 is looking to be a really hectic month with all the events and talks happening. I’d like to go around bringing along the much lighter netbook instead. I’m now experimenting with using the netbook to connect to my laptop at home for presenting and running code.

The following setup makes use of the following computers:

  • NEO B1230 netbook: Intel Atom N270 @ 1.60 GHz. 2 GB RAM. MS Windows Home Premium SP1
  • NEO B5702 laptop: Intel Core i7-2630QM @ 2.0 GHz 6MB Cache. 4GB RAM. Linux Mint 12.

Setting up TightVNC on Linux

First I installed TightVNCServer and XTightVNCViewer. You don’t have to install the viewer, but I’m doing so in case I might want to log in to my netbook from the laptop.

$ sudo apt-get install tightvncserver xtightvncviewer

Then I simply ran TightVNCServer from the command line. When you run this for the first time, it’s going to ask you for an access password and a read-only access password. Give different passwords for both. Afterwhich, TightVNCServer will tell you that it created a new desktop named $ServerName:1. If you run TightVNCServer again, it will create another new desktop named $ServerName:2. Remember those numbers. When you need to kill those desktops later, just type

$ tightvncserver –kill :1

where the number is the desktop you’d like to close.

Another thing I also did was to enable desktop sharing and security on the laptop. Otherwise I won’t be able to get in.

Screenshot

Setting up TightVNC on Windows 7

Well, this was pretty easy. Just download TightVNC for Windows and install it.

Setting up the router

For the router, I needed to make use of Dyanamic DNS in order to connect to the laptop via internet. I registered at No-IP, got myself a free domain name and added that to the router settings to enable DDNS. I also set up port forwarding specifying 5901, 5900 and 5800 as service ports pointing towards my laptop’s IP address. 5900 and 5800 are default ports for the TightVNC server. Meanwhile 5901 corresponds to the server plus the TightVNC desktop number that I wanted to access.

Tying it all up together

From my netbook, I ran the TightVNC viewer. when it asked for the TightVNC server, I entered my No-IP domain name followed by the port number 5901.

Example:

myserver.myvnc.com:5901

Once I clicked on Connect, it would attempt to contact my laptop. If all goes well, it will ask for the password and I’m in!

So far I’ve tried accessing the laptop from within my own network using the No-IP domain. A friend also tried accessing my computer via the No-IP domain and found it to be practically dial-up slow. I still have to test the connection via mobile internet to see how fast or slow the connection will be. Nevertheless, it all looks promising.

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