User Guide - Sharing Your Desktop

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Stop (medium size).png
Use this capability carefully
Remote desktop sharing can be a serious security risk. You should leave it turned on only when needed and should not leave it active.

Fedora provides a means to share a user's desktop remotely across the network, so that a user at a different computer can view and, with your permission, interact with your computer. This is useful for receiving technical support from a remote location or for demonstrating a desktop feature to another user. You may also find it to be a useful way to remotely access files on your desktop from another computer.

Fedora uses a program called Virtual Networking Computing (VNC) to facilitate remote desktop sharing. Therefore, the remote viewer must use VNC as well. The Microsoft Windows operating system uses the Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) protocol by default; therefore, a third party client must be used if connecting from Windows. Apple's OS X uses VNC by default.

GNOME

To activate desktop sharing, select System > Preferences > Internet and Network > Remote Desktop from the user menu. This opens the Remote Desktop Preferences window:

The following procedure describes the most secure method to share a desktop:

  1. Under Sharing, tick the box labeled Allow other users to view your desktop.
  2. Next, tick the box next to Allow other users to control your desktop.
  3. Make a note of the command listed under Users can view your desktop using this command:
  4. Under Security, tick the box next to Ask you for confirmation.
  5. Next, check Require the user to enter this password and enter a password. This should not be your account's password; pick a new password that you will only reveal to the remote viewer.
  6. Finally, click on the [Close] button.

Be sure to inform the person performing remote technical support/viewing the command from step three, as well as the assigned password. When the person connects to your desktop, click on the [Yes] button when asked for confirmation.

Once the remote viewing feature is no longer needed, turn off desktop sharing by completing the following:

  1. Select System > Preferences > Internet and Network > Remote Desktop
  2. Uncheck the Allow other users to view your desktop box
  3. Click on the [Close] button.

This turns off the remote desktop sharing feature.

KDE

To activate desktop sharing in KDE, select KMenu > Applications > System > Desktop Sharing. This opens the Desktop Sharing control module window. There are two methods by which you can share your desktop:

  1. You can create an invitation. By default, invitations are only valid for one hour. This lessens the chance of forgetting to disable Desktop Sharing, and is a good option if you only need it enabled temporarily.
  2. You can also leave Desktop Sharing on at all times.

To create a Desktop Sharing invitation, open the Desktop Sharing window as described above, and select New Personal Invitation and give the information to the person you want to invite.

If you want to have Desktop Sharing running at all times, follow the steps below:

  1. In the Desktop Sharing window, click Configure > Security then check the box Allow uninvited connections.
  2. Next, check Confirm uninvited connections before accepting (optional, but recommended).
  3. Check Allow other users to control your desktop.
  4. A password should be set for security; enter one in the box at the bottom of the window. This need not - and advisably should not - be your user account password.
  5. Select the Network tab at the top of the window and check Use default port and make a note of the port listed.
  6. Finally, click on the [Apply] button.

To connect to the machine, you'll need VNC Viewer (or a similar program) installed on the remote machine. Open it by selecting Applications > Internet > VNC Viewer in GNOME, or KMenu > Applications > Internet > Remote Desktop Client > Connect to a VNC Remote in KDE. When the window opens, enter the IP address or hostname of the machine followed by a ":" and the port number from step 5 above. When the person connects to your desktop, click on the [Yes] button when asked for confirmation.

Once the remote viewing feature is no longer needed, turn off desktop sharing:

  1. Select KMenu > Applications > System > Desktop Sharing
  2. Uncheck the Allow uninvited connections box
  3. Click on the [Apply] button.

This turns off the remote desktop sharing feature.

For more information see the VNC documentation.

Other Desktops

Various desktop environments may offer their own graphical assistants for desktop sharing, but the vncserver program can be used from the command line to accomplish this task on almost any desktop environment. Setting up this service is beyond the scope of this guide; check the vncserver manual page for detailed setup instructions.


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