How to use xRDP for remote access to Ubuntu 14.04

How to use xRDP for remote access to Ubuntu 14.04

To remotely control my Windows machines, I always prefer to use RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) as it performs much nicer than VNC .

Desktop Manager

Since the current desktop manager of Ubuntu (Unity which runs on Gnome) no longer seems to work with xRDP, an alternative desktop manager needs to be installed.


Installing xRDP and XFCE

Installing xRDP and XFCE is pretty easy, once you know what to do …

Just make sure you have an Internet connection before you start.

Step 1 – Install xRDP

We will use sudo and apt-get to update your system and install xRDP. Keep in mind that sudo will ask for your admin password.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xrdp

Step 2 – Install XFCE4

Again we will use sudo and apt-get:

sudo apt-get install xfce4

  Optional, recommended by Neal, install XFCE4 terminal and 2 icons sets:

# Install XFCE4 terminal (way better than xterm)
sudo apt-get install xfce4-terminal# Install icon sets
sudo apt-get install gnome-icon-theme-full tango-icon-theme

Step 3 – Configure xRDP

In this step we modify 2 files to make sure xRDP uses xfce4.

First we need to create or edit our .xsession  file in our home directory.
We can either use nano or simply redirect an echo statement (easier):

echo xfce4-session >~/.xsession

The second file we need to edit is the startup file for xRDP, so it will start xfce4.

nano /etc/xrdp/

The content should look like this (pay attention to the last line):


if [ -r /etc/default/locale ]; then
. /etc/default/locale


Step 4 – Restart xRDP

To make all these changes effective, restart xRDP as such:

sudo service xrdp restart