Easiest way to headless Debian

This article will provide instructions for anyone interested in using headless Debian (or any derivatives).


Firstly I’ve tried to configure VNC such way that user may log in to remote machine using Gdm1GNOME Display Manager session. But it turned out to be nightmare… Configuring VNC for the X Server authorization is very complicated.

But there’s easy way…

… and its name is xrdp!

To install it simply type:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install xrdp tigervnc-standalone-server

Now you can use standard Microsoft remote desktop app for remote connectivity or you can install rdesktop utility for Linux.

mstsc.exe for Linux headless experience – hell has frozen over

Please remember to select Xvnc session type after connection:

Session type Xnvc
Working connection

Additional configuration

You can customize xrdp using its configuration file /etc/xrdp/xrdp.ini.

Options that may interest you:

  1. ls_title – window title
  2. ls_width, ls_height – window dimensions
  3. Session types – you can remove anything except for the [Xnvc]
  4. In [Xvnc] section you can change username to the one that might be accessed from remote (this way it will not be prompted during login process)
  5. Beside that, you can change logo, colors etc.

Possible problems

If you encounter a problem with a login prompt concerning color management or problem with connecting to VNC service (at first login attempt).

Authentication is required to create a color managed device

Try to remove this file (Warning! this might be concerned a bad practice):


You can read more about this here. If your machine must be secure by all circumstances you can also try this fix from Github.