I would like to run an Ubuntu (18.0.4) desktop with no monitor/keyboard attached, and access it via VNC (or Remote Desktop) from a Windows 10 Pro machine. I have installed VNC Viewer on Windows and enabled remote access from Linux. It all works, but not until I log on to the Linux box from an actual keyboard - which defeats the purpose. In other words, Linux will let me log in remotely only after I am logged in physically.

I followed instructions to set up Linux for remote access, including the bit about "allowing unencrypted connections", but then I realized that those are instructions for allowing an external user to view/control the same session as a logged-on user, as opposed to allowing an external user to start their own session.

What do I need to do to have the Linux-side start up and be ready for connections without the need to attach a physical keyboard? For instance, perhaps I need to make sure that VNC Server starts as soon as the Linux machine boots, etc.

It does not need to be VNC. I can work in the Windows remote desktop window as well. I just want to access this Linux machine without attaching a keyboard/mouse/monitor.


Looks like you need to start your vncserver as a service you can create an unit file for that and enable it with systemd enable myservicestuff

Look at the 4th step:


  • For the sake of people who visit here after the link breaks, please import the relevant commands into your answer, so that your answer is self-contained. Thank you! – Jeff Schaller Aug 25 at 20:19

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