After doing a little bit of thinking and research, it appears there are actually 2 ways you can "do remote desktop":

  1. the Remote Control way: the software opens a channel to replicate the screen and transmit mouse/keyboard input to the computer, just as if you were in front of it. If someone else remotely connects at the same time, it's just as if they were sitting next to you, they see the same screen and you share mouse and keyboard. With most software, when you disconnect, you're not closing your session, you're just disconnecting your screen and input -- meaning anyone who can access/connect after you has access to your session and data.

  2. the Remote Session way: the software connects to the remote machine and shows you your own dedicated screen and takes your own dedicated input. If someone else connects, they have their own as well, with their own separated settings and files, just as on a multi-user computer. When you disconnect, you're actually ending your remote session. If someone accesses the physical computer, all they will see at any time is the login screen.

There are a number of alternatives for the first use case: VNC, LogMeIn, TeamViewer, RDP on Windows desktop, to name but a few.

I am looking for an easy to set-up, fast/efficient, free solution for the second use case, connecting from a Windows PC to a Linux desktop. I know X2Go, but it is based on an old version of the NX protocol and is somewhat slow. I tried to set-up NoMachine to get a more protocol, but apparently the free version only supports the "Remote Control" use case.

Thanks for your advice.

  • AFAIR VNC can be setup for the second approach as well. It's quite some time ago I last used it this way, but it worked as you describe. Just need to configure the server part on the Linux machine accordingly.
    – Izzy
    Jan 30, 2017 at 18:23

1 Answer 1


Basically the remote session option would either be terminal only, usually ssh possibly using PuTTy, or via an X-Windows Terminal/Client following the X-Org specification & reference implementation. There are a number of such clients that are worth taking a look at:

  • MobaXTerm - Free or Pro versions available
  • XMing often combined with PuTTy Free & Open Source up to version May 2007, charged/donation for commercial/personal downloads of later versions (closed source).
  • Cygwin/X Free & Open Source
  • VcXsvr Free & Open Source
  • no xming is not an open source application. It has a proprietary license. Dec 1, 2018 at 15:18
  • @krishnakumarG From the link provided: XMing: Licence - BSD License, Public Domain, MIT License, zlib/libpng License. However from Wikipedea: Since May 2007, payment must be made to download new releases.[14] Purchasing a license will allow the user access to new downloads for one year; however, MIT-licensed releases (referred to by the author as "public domain" releases) can still be downloaded with no payment on SourceForge. Dec 1, 2018 at 19:32
  • yes. everything you said is correct. However, the sourceforge version is more than a decade old as of Nov 2018. This is the official xming page. There is no source code posted anywhere for the recent versions. Dec 1, 2018 at 20:14
  • @krishnakumarG - updated status of XMing. Dec 2, 2018 at 7:21

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