Archives » December 23rd, 2006

December 23, 2006

Run VNC In Vista

One of the annoyances I’ve been having with Windows Vista is that I coudn’t get a VNC server to work. VNC is a remote desktop program that lets you hop on to another computer, see the screen, and take control of the mouse and keyboard. I use it a ton not only inside the office, to provide support to other computers, but also when I’m working from home and I want to hop on my office computer. So not having that option under Vista has been a big void for me, and the Remote Desktop is not a good alternative, because it doesn’t let you see the same desktop you see when you’re actually sitting at the computer. Remote Desktop opens up a new profile and a new user session, and actually locks the computer so anyone else can’t use it. Not good for what I need to do. So I need a VNC server, like RealVNC, running so I can do the work I’m accustomed to.

Today I was Googling around, hoping to finally find an answer to the problem. And I did, sort of, in a roundabout way. It turns out that there are two ways for VNC to run. The first way is to run it as a service. That means it starts automatically and it’s always running in the background, even when you log off your profile. The other way is to run it in User Mode, so it runs like any other program, like Outlook or Firefox, and it shuts down when you log off. Obviously running VNC as a service is the better way to go, but that way doesn’t work under Vista because of some of the new security layers they’ve thrown in the mix. But, it turns out, running VNC in User Mode does work under Vista, and although it’s not ideal, at least it works. And working half-assed is better than not working at all in my eye, so now with this workaround I can get my VNC groove on with Vista, until the VNC folks figure out how to make the Service Mode play nice with Vista’s new security. So that makes me happy.

Details on the workaround can be found here.

Update, 2008: Supposedly the new, paid versions of RealVNC, version 4.3 and later, work with Vista. But I haven’t put down the money to find out.