Windows Remote Desktop Connection to Linux

Remote access has become an indispensable aspect of modern life, particularly for IT professionals who require remote management of servers. For Windows users, accessing a Linux server can pose difficulties, especially for those unfamiliar with Linux. However, Windows Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) simplifies the process significantly.

RDC is a protocol that enables users to remotely connect to and control a Windows computer as if they were physically present. Linux, conversely, is an open-source operating system extensively used in servers, supercomputers, and embedded systems. In this article, we will explore how to use RDC to connect to a Linux server, the benefits of using RDC to connect to Linux, how to connect Windows RDC to Linux, and the steps required to prepare Linux for RDC.

Why use RDC to connect to Linux?

Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) facilitates the remote control of a computer through a graphical interface, making it particularly advantageous when the user is not physically present or the computer is located elsewhere. Connecting to a Linux server using RDC empowers Windows users to utilize Linux-specific tools and applications that might not be available on Windows. This technique can yield numerous benefits, such as remote management capabilities, better productivity and flexibility, access to Linux-specific software, and cost savings. You can avoid the cost of investing in Linux-specific hardware and software by using your existing Windows computer to manage Linux servers remotely.

Benefits of using RDC to connect to Linux

Connecting to a Linux server via RDC provides numerous advantages, such as:

  1. Availability of Linux-specific applications and tools
  2. Remote administration of Linux servers without requiring physical proximity
  3. Increased efficiency and adaptability, allowing users to work from any location with internet access
  4. Decreased expenses on hardware and software by enabling the utilization of existing Windows computers instead of investing in Linux-specific equipment and software.

Preparing Linux for RDC

To utilize RDC for connecting to a Linux server, it is crucial to first install and configure the xrdp package on the Linux server. Xrdp is a free and open-source implementation of RDP that permits Linux to accept RDC connections from Windows clients. After installation, it is necessary to set up xrdp to start automatically when the Linux server boots up and configure firewall rules to enable RDC connections.

Connecting to Linux using RDC

When connecting to a Linux server using RDC, you can launch the Remote Desktop Connection app on your Windows computer and input the IP address of the Linux server. Then, you will need to enter your credentials for authentication to the Linux server. After a successful authentication, you can remotely manage the Linux server from your Windows computer.

Steps to connect Windows RDC to Linux

To connect Windows Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) to Linux, you will need to follow these general steps:

  1. Install an RDP server on your Linux machine such as XRDP, VNC, or TigerVNC.
  1. Configure the firewall on your Linux machine to allow incoming connections on the RDP port (3389).
  1. Ensure that the user account on your Linux machine has a password set since some RDP servers may not allow you to connect without a password.
  2. Find the IP address of your Linux machine by running the ifconfig command in the terminal.
  1. Launch the Remote Desktop Connection app on your Windows machine.
  2. Enter the IP address of your Linux machine in the “Computer” field.
  3. Expand the settings by clicking “Show Options”.
  4. Adjust the settings under the “Advanced” tab, such as audio playback, display quality, and drive redirection.
  5. Click “Connect” to start the connection.
  6. Enter the username and password for your Linux machine when prompted.

If everything is set up correctly, you should now be connected to your Linux machine using RDP.

Troubleshooting RDC to Linux connection issues

If you encounter issues while using Windows RDC to connect to Linux, there are several troubleshooting steps you can take. Some common connection issues include firewall issues, authentication issues, and performance issues. Here are some steps you can follow to troubleshoot these issues:

  1. Check that the RDP server is installed and running on your Linux machine. You can use commands like systemctl status xrdp or systemctl status vncserver to check the status of your server.
  2. Ensure that the firewall on your Linux machine is properly configured to allow incoming connections on the RDP port (3389).
  3. Make sure that the username and password you are using to connect to your Linux machine are correct.
  4. Check that your Linux machine’s IP address is correct and accessible from your Windows machine. You can check this by pinging the IP address from the Windows command prompt.
  5. Verify that you are using the correct port number (3389) in your RDP connection settings.
  6. Temporarily disable any antivirus or firewall software on your Windows machine to see if they might be blocking the connection.
  7. Check the logs of the RDP server on your Linux machine for any error messages that might indicate what’s causing the connection issue.
  8. If you are still unable to connect, try using different RDP server or client software to see if that resolves the issue.

By following these steps, you should be able to identify and resolve most issues related to connecting Windows RDC to Linux.

Security considerations for RDC to Linux connection

Ensuring security is crucial when using RDC to connect to a Linux server. To maintain security, it is important to take the following measures:

  1. Encrypt RDC connections: Ensure that your RDC connections are encrypted using SSL/TLS to prevent eavesdropping and unauthorized access.
  2. Use strong passwords: Ensure that your Linux server is configured with strong passwords and password policies. This helps prevent brute-force attacks and unauthorized access.
  3. Limit RDC access: Limit the number of users who have RDC access to the Linux server to minimize the risk of unauthorized access.
  4. Enable Two-factor authentication: Enable two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security to your RDC connections.
  5. Regularly update software: Ensure that all software, including your RDP server and client, are up-to-date with the latest security patches to prevent any potential vulnerabilities from being exploited.

By following these measures, you can ensure that your RDC connections to Linux servers are secure and minimize the risk of unauthorized access.


Windows Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) offers several benefits for users who need to connect to Linux servers, such as access to Linux-specific applications and tools, remote management capabilities, improved productivity and flexibility, and cost savings. However, it is essential to install and configure the RDP server on the Linux machine properly, troubleshoot any connection issues that arise, and prioritize security by implementing SSL/TLS encryption and using strong passwords. By taking these precautions, RDC can be a valuable tool for Windows users seeking to access Linux servers.

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