Remote desktop client for OS X
June 4, 2005 9:14 AM   Subscribe

I use a Mac @ home. One of the things I've loved about Windows (gasp) is the Remote Desktop Client: an efficient, elegant, and free way to connect and use your desktop. Is there an equivalent tool for OS X such that I could connect to my home Mac (not w/ SSH, but the desktop) from any number of the Windows boxes I occasionally use?
posted by xmutex to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by banished at 9:22 AM on June 4, 2005

Apple distributes their own VNC server.

After that you should be able to use any VNC client to connect to it. I've had good experiences using TightVNC.

Keep in mind that this'll become more complicated if your Mac is behind a NAT device.
posted by cmonkey at 9:34 AM on June 4, 2005

Best answer: Download and run a VNC server on the Mac.

Download and open a VNC client session on the Windows box.

Be sure to consider the following details:

1. Opening TCP 5900 on your server's firewall, if you don't care about security; or,

2. Using SSH to tunnel/encrypt the VNC data through an encrypted SSH channel

VNC data — i.e. anything you type in, and anything shown on the screen — are not encrypted! Use SSH as a tunnel, if you can.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:36 AM on June 4, 2005

Yeah, I do this all the time. ssh from work to home, using PuTTY (pron. "pyoo-tee-tee-why") on the PC, then tunnel VNC over it. I use the same tunnel to tunnel iTunes, the admin page of my mail server, etc. On OSXvnc, there's a checkbox to make the VNC daemon accept connections only from the local (loopback) interface; make sure you check that, so ssh is required. Also, on the port forwarding you should make sure to use (some instructions tell you to use localhost, but under Mac OS X localhost can resolve to an IPv6 address that won't work with VNC).
posted by kindall at 9:45 AM on June 4, 2005

cmonkey, your link to Apple's own VNC server is actually a 3rd party utility Apple is providing a link to. Apple's does however have their own VNC server as a part of Remote Desktop Client. Here is a helpful how to about getting it to work.
posted by brettcar at 9:47 AM on June 4, 2005

Cmonkey, I'm pretty sure that link is to a third party VNC server, not one built by Apple.

Regardless, Apple's Remote Desktop is also a VNC server. In your system preferences, go to Sharing, and enable the Apple Remote Desktop. You'll neeed to click the "Access Privileges..." button and enable the "VNC viewers may control the screen with password option".

You should then be able to log in to your Mac using any VNC client.

If you're doing this across the Internets, I heartily recommend tunneling your VNC connection via an SSH connection to keep everything nice and secure. If you're using Windows to access your Mac, Putty is a nice SSH client that allows for tunneling.

On preview - yeah, what they said, but you don't need a third party VNC server, Apple's built-in Remote Desktop works just dandy.
posted by jimray at 9:49 AM on June 4, 2005

Be prepared though, VNC's protocol is nowhere near as efficient as the Citrix licensed RDP protocol.

It works, but you don't get that "can't tell its remote" feeling like with RDP.
posted by PissOnYourParade at 2:22 PM on June 4, 2005

Also see Netopia's Timbuktu if VNC doesn't cut it for you.
posted by trevyn at 9:33 PM on June 4, 2005

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