In this Raspberry Pi remote desktop tutorial, we go through the steps to set up your Pi to accept connections from the Remote Desktop Protocol.

Raspberry Pi Remote Desktop

The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is Microsoft’s proprietary protocol that makes use of a low bandwidth connection to provide access to your desktop.

To allow usage of RDP on the Raspberry Pi, we will be making use of a piece of software called xrdp.

The xrdp software takes your screen and formats it into their implementation of the RDP.

There are various benefits to utilizing RDP on your Raspberry Pi over VNC server or Teamviewer. One of the main benefits being the low bandwidth required to use it.

Please note that this tutorial will not work if you’re running a headless system. The xrdp software requires an X Windows implementation to be installed to be able to display the desktop. Otherwise, you will be greeted by a blank screen.

Alternatively, if all you need is terminal sharing, then something like the tmate software package will work.

Equipment

Below is all the equipment that you will need for setting up a remote desktop on your Raspberry Pi.

Recommended

Raspberry Pi

8GB SD Card or Micro SD Card if you’re using a Raspberry Pi 2, 3 or B+

USB Keyboard

USB Mouse

HDMI Cable

Ethernet Cord or Wifi dongle

Optional

Raspberry Pi Case

Installing the Remote Desktop Server on the Raspberry Pi

1. Before we install the required packages so that we can set up remote desktop on the Raspberry Pi, we must first ensure that everything is up to date.

To do this, you need to run the following two commands.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

2. Now we need to install the xrdp package to the Raspberry Pi. This package will allow remote desktop on your Raspberry Pi.

Xrdp is an open-source implementation of Microsoft’s proprietary RDP Server, the same protocol that most installations of Windows can connect to and be connected from.

The xrdp software replicates Microsoft’s RDP protocol so that other remote desktop clients can connect to your device. The software package even works with Microsoft’s own remote desktop client built into Windows.

sudo apt-get install xrdp

3. Now that the xrdp server is installed to the Raspberry Pi there is nothing else that you need to do.

The xrdp server software is automatically installed with the best possible configuration and is ready to work straight out of the box.

4. If you need to retrieve the Raspberry Pi’s local IP address you can do that by using the following command.

hostname -I

Connect to the Raspberry Pi over Remote Desktop Protocol

1. Connecting to the Raspberry Pi over the RDP is a simple process on the Windows operating system.

All you need is the remote desktop connection app on your computer and your Pi’s local IP address.

Begin by opening the Remote Desktop Connection application on your Windows computer. You will be greeted with the app as shown below.

Next to “Computer:” enter your Raspberry Pi’s local IP address (1.) then click the “Connect” (2.) button.

Raspberry Pi Remote Desktop Connection Windows

2. Once you are connected to your Raspberry Pi, you will be greeted with the following screen from the xrdp software.

Just enter the “username” and “password” for the account that exists on your Raspberry Pi.

If you are using the default pi user, then the login details should be “pi” for the username and “raspberry” for the password.

Raspberry Pi xrdp

3. Hopefully, at this point, you will now be able to access your Raspberry Pi using the remote desktop tool on Windows.

If you are having issues connecting with the Raspberry Pi ensure that you are utilizing the correct IP address.

Alternatively, you can also make use of a different method such as TeamViewer or the TightVNC software.

I hope that you can now use the Raspberry Pi remote desktop using the tool of your choice. If you have anything to add to this tutorial, then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

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