Rdesktop: Access Windows Desktops Remotely From Linux [Quick Tip]

Rdesktop: Access Windows Desktops Remotely From Linux [Quick Tip]


Most of you know about rdesktop which is used to view and access Windows desktops remotely from any GNU Linux systems. rdesktop is an open source client for Windows Remote Desktop Services, capable of natively speaking Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) in order to present the user’s Windows desktop. rdesktop is known to work with Windows versions such as NT 4 Terminal Server, 2000, XP, 2003, 2003 R2, Vista, 2008, 7, and 2008 R2. Be mindful that you can use rdesktop only on Linux systems which has X window system.


As I said before, redesktop works well on almost all modern GNU Linux systems, and it is available in default repositories of the most Linux distributions.

To install it on Debian based systems, run the following command:

sudo apt-get install rdesktop

On RPM based systems:

yum install rdesktop

On SUSE systems:

zypper in rdesktop


Rdesktop usage is fairly simple and straight forward. Make sure you have enabled the remote service in your Windows desktop. To do this on WIndows 7 desktop, open your My Computer properties -> Remote. And, enable remote connection.

Windows 7, 1 nic, bridge, internet [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox_009

Then, run the following command from your Terminal to access your Windows desktop.

rdesktop <ip-address-of-windows-system>



Here, is my windows 7 desktop ip address. Now, you’ll be able to connect access your Windows desktop from your Linux system. Enter your windows system user password to login.

rdesktop -

Voila! Now, you’ll be able to access the remote Windows desktop form your Linux system.

rdesktop -

Unfortunately, the above command will display the half screen mode windows desktop. To view Windows desktop in full screen mode, use the switch -f.

rdesktop -f

Now, you can view the windows desktop in full screen mode.

To exit from the full screen, simply press the following key combinations:


WIndows 7 desktop in full screen mode:

rdesktop -

That’s it. Hope this will useful for you.


  • Etescartz

    I’ve been using this for years and I’m using it as I am typing.

    If you are starting a “rdesktop” session from a linux host , then you acctually start it from a desktop environment or graphical interface. I always create desktop shortcuts or menu entries in the menus , so I don’t have to open a terminal and type the hostname or other command line parameters for the connection to start.

    You can lookup how to create a custom menu entry for your preferred desktop environment or if you just like to keep a usual shortcut on your desktop , then create an file with your favorite text editor : vi , nano , gedit, leafpad, pluma… etc.
    Then you paste the text bellow in that file and save it as .desktop. ex: “baza.desktop”

    [Desktop Entry]
    Name=(the name)
    Exec=/usr/bin/rdesktop -0 -N -g 1300×600 -r clipboard:PRIMARYCLIPBOARD -u (username on remote computer) (remote host, if you have a dynamic domain name , or just the remote computer’s IP address)
    Comment=RemoteDesktop Connection to a M$-Windows computer

    Edit the lines bellow to cadjust the arguments of the “Exec” line, to your needs and save it.
    Then you have to make that file executable with a terminal command.
    chmod +x baza.desktop

    from the graphical interface , rightclick on the saved file and then ,
    depending on your desktop environment of choice , you click “properties”
    and should see an option under the permissions tab that turns the file
    into an executable.

  • SK

    Etescartz, you’re awesome mate. Thanks for the excellent tip. Hope it will be helpful for somebody. Much appreciated. I will check this out soon, and will include it in my article on behalf of you. Thank you.

  • Etescartz

    I’m glad that I had something to share.

  • 8bitvandal

    I tried to follow the guide but with no luck. Does it allow multiple sessions? I tried logging in. It doesn’t have a password but it says wrong password.

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