I'm trying to implement a vncviewer on my windows 8.1 to remote my server running Debian Jessie with DE Gnome 3.14.1 but it doesn't work.

I've verified my xstartup file and it looks like this:

exec /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrexec
gnome-session &

[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup
[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources

xsetroot -solid grey
vncconfig -iconic &

With that I only obtain the gray screen, I've been modified the xstartup file lots and lots of time but I don't get this work, in every change the message I obtain apart the gray screen is the message:

Oh no! Something has gone wrong.

Please I will appreciate any help.

3 Answers 3


This is a known bug: https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=776746

Now I can sum up the conclution of this bug:

1) It won't be fixed in Jessie although it also influences wheezy;

2) For developers: Tigervnc should be included in Debian 9 and replace tightvnc, if not, this issue won't be fixed in Debian 9; probably should consider a Jessie backport when Tigervnc is available;

3) For system administrators and normal users: IF you want to use remote desktop server in Jessie, DO NOT use default desktop (GNOME). If you really like GNOME or other GNOME3's fork (Unity, Cinnamon, etc), then DO NOT use Debian or other Debian based distributions (Ubuntu, Mint, etc). Alternatively, try Red hat based or SUSE based distributions (CentOS, Fedora, OpenSUSE, SLE, etc). They already have tigervnc and can work pretty well.

  • Thanks @jgilligan I've tried remote my server using E17 instead gnome desktop environment and following the same process it's works...but now I have another problem that is that some keys doesn't respond on vnc viewer. Can you help with this issue, please? Thank in advance.
    – Trapocho
    Jun 29, 2015 at 22:50

The problem is that right now there is a bug in the distro (kali/debian with GNOME) causing both VNC and RDP to cause that error message after login.

The only way I found that fixes this is to uninstall the Gnome-desktop and use another window manager (I use LXDE):

# apt-get remove gnome-core
# apt-get install lxde-core lxde kali-defaults kali-root-login desktop-base
# update-alternatives --config x-session-manager
    # Choose /usr/bin/startlxde

After this you need to reboot and the RDP should work perfectly.

  • Is it really necessary to remove gnome? Will just adding LXDE or XFCE not work just as well?
    – kabZX
    Mar 15, 2017 at 21:33

Another workaround to allow Windows 8.1 to connect is described here. It uses tigervnc from the ubuntu repo.

  • FWIW this fix is not just to allow Win8 to connect over RDP. The workaround is required for RDP and VNC to work on a Debian jessie server/host (regardless of the client OS)
    – kabZX
    Mar 15, 2017 at 21:32

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