Using VNC on Windows

Setting up the programs to connect to a VNC server is not too difficult. You will, however, need to download two programs: a SSH client and a VNC client. The SSH client will make a secure connection between your computer and the VNC server and the VNC client will use this connection to draw a display on your screen.

Download and install a SSH client

In order to use VNC with your SSH client, your SSH client must provide port forwarding. Both Putty and Teraterm Pro will work.

If you do not already have a working SSH connection, please check out our pages on getting and using ssh: windows

Download and install a VNC client

We recommend using TightVNC as your VNC client because it comes with several features over the official VNC client. TightVNC uses a “tight” encoding by default which efficiently compresses the information which updates your display.

  1. Download the TightVNC Viewer binary for Windows from the TightVNC download page:
  2. Open the downloaded TightVNC Viewer archive. It will create a new folder with the vncviewer program inside.

Every time you want to make a VNC connection, you must forward a port with your SSH client and then open a session with your VNC client.

Port Forwarding - PuTTY

  1. Run PuTTY.
  2. In “Basic options for your Putty Session”, enter the host name, “”, and choose the “SSH” protocol. Do not “Open” this connection just yet.
  3. On the left, find and select the category “Connection - SSH - Tunnels”.
  4. In the section “Add new forwarded port:”, set the “Source Port” to “5901” and set the “Destination” to “”. Choose “Local” for this connection if it is not already the default, and click “Add”.
  5. Open the connection and log in. Leaving PuTTY open, start a VNC session.

Port Forwarding - Teraterm

  1. Open Teraterm Pro by running “ttssh”. Teraterm will ask you to make a new connection. Hit “Cancel”.
  2. Select “SSH Forwarding…” from the “Setup” menu.
  3. Click “Add” and fill in “Forward local port '5901' to remote machine '' port '5995'”.
  4. Choose 'Ok' to get back to the main, blank, Teraterm window.
  5. Choose “New Connection” from the “File” menu. Connect to host '' using the 'SSH' service.
  6. Leave Teraterm open and start a VNC session according to the next session. (It's fine to minimize Teraterm, of course.)

VNC Session

  1. Run the VNC client, vncviewer.
  2. Enter “localhost:1” for the vnc server to connect with.
  3. A graphical login screen should appear. Log in and start work.
  4. When you are finished, just log out of your Unix session as you normally would, close the VNC client program, and exit from your SSH session.

VNC help | User Info | CS Department

Ben Stoutenburgh 2012/11/08 16:59