VNC is an awesome tool. It’s super fast (of course, in a local network!), and gets the job done when a plain terminal doesn’t cut it.
However, there’s nothing more irritating then seeing the dreaded black or grey VNC screen:
It is such a productivity suck and pain in the ass to deal with. I’ve had to deal with this for more than one occasion so I’m finally writing all the troubleshooting steps so that future me will thank current me.
These steps were tried on Tiger VNC on Ubuntu, but I suspect they would apply to Tight VNC and the like.
These are some steps that might help you to escape the VNC void.
1: Kill all existing VNC servers first
First do a
% vncserver -kill :0 # or whatever number was listed before
2: Do not use
sudo to launch
Firstly, do not use
sudo to launch
vncserver. This creates files in the wrong permissions that would mess up non-
* Kill all other VNC servers first
3. Check file permissions of
Check permissions are set to
$USER for the following files:
$USER logged in anywhere else?
$USER is not logged in with the GUI.
~/.vnc/xstartup works. Find one which is known to work for your system.
#!/bin/sh unset SESSION_MANAGER unset DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS OS=`uname -s` if [ $OS = 'Linux' ]; then case "$WINDOWMANAGER" in *gnome*) if [ -e /etc/SuSE-release ]; then PATH=$PATH:/opt/gnome/bin export PATH fi ;; esac fi if [ -x /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc ]; then exec /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc fi if [ -f /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc ]; then exec sh /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc fi [ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources xsetroot -solid grey xterm -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" & twm &
~/.xsession-error for clues
This is my favorite and by far the most useful tip.
Whenever there’s something wrong with the X Window system, it gets logged into this
Below are some of the example error messages that helped with troubleshooting:
xfce4-session: Unable to access file /home/benjamintan/.ICEauthority: Permission denied
/usr/bin/x-session-manager: X server already running on display :2 xfce4-session: Another session manager is already running
Hopefully, you’ll never have to encounter any VNC problems, but if you stumble upon then, I hope this is of some use to you.