Configuring the VNC Server?

How do I configure the VNC server in pi-top Sirius?

Aside from the simple checkbox for enabling/disabling VNC, I cannot find a menu option for configuring the VNC server (to set and require a VNC password, for instance) I am trying to use VNC over TCP/IP (not the display cable)

In the menu editor, I enabled the Options/VNC Server menu option and ran it but that apparently sets up a second server instance and reports a port 5900 conflict. I can’t find the UI for the primary VNC Server instance - is that primary port 5900 VNC server instance reserved for the cable-based VNC?

@stant is this the menu you tried already?


VNC works over TCP as far as I’m aware - I VNC into my pi-top all the time without the Display Cable - just enter your WiFi or ethernet IP address (can find this on the OLED menu) instead of the that we use for the Display Cable. Port 5900 is the default for VNC.

Figured it out – after verifying that VNC is enabled under Raspberry Pi Configuration, I’ve found that BOTH the “VNC Server” items under the Options menu are useless:

  • “vncserver-x11 -showstatus” starts up a NEW VNC server that comes up with a port 5900 conflict with the already-started one; even if you change the port and run a secondary VNC server, it doesn’t survive a reboot and is useless for headless Pi-Top operation.

  • “vncserver-x11 -virtual -showexistingstatus” tries and fails to connect, because the existing VNC server is a service, not whatever a “virtual mode” VNC server is…

What’s NEEDed is “sudo vncserver-x11 -service -showexistingstatus” to successfully connect to and edit the options of the VNC server started on boot-up.

To satisfy the needs of the iPad’s “Jump” VNC client, I needed to change Encryption to “Prefer Off” and change to VNC Password authentication instead of Unix authentication, and “sudo vncserver-x11 -service -showexistingstatus” from the command line is the only way I could could connect to the VNC server and make those changes.

Hopefully, Pi-Top will remove those misleading VNC Server menu options at some point, and give us the CORRECT one for configuring the VNC server!

@stant nice work figuring out the problem!

BOTH the “VNC Server” items under the Options menu

Which options are you referring to? I only ask so that we can work on updating it if it’s something we developed and have the ability to change.

Also, where did you find those terminal commands to reconfigure it?

I found the two “VNC Server” menu options under Options when I used the Preferences/Menu Editor for the first time. Those menu options were present but disabled by default (the only exposed “Options” item was the on-screen keyboard). Although neither of those two (formerly hidden) menu option command lines were appropriate (the reason that they were left hidden?), they did lead me to the correct command line to manage the VNC server’s settings, so there’s that…

BTW: Maybe this warrant a separate posting but… is the Menu Editor something of Pi-Top’s creation or a standard part of LXDE? It really kinda sucks - you can’t drag/move menu options or copy&paste options to arrange things, and it’s not responsive to resizing the properties window so you can only ever see the first 15 or so characters of any command line. I’d rather just go edit the menu config by hand, assuming it’s directory and text-based? Where does this config live? Thx!

hi @stant!

about the VNC server, it’s the same one used in Raspberry Pi OS, so any guide to configure VNC on that OS should work on pi-topOS (e.g.: , section " Authenticating to VNC Server") .

I can see your point though: when using the pi-top connected directly to a display, you won’t see the VNC Icon in the start menu that @duwudi is showing you in the picture he included. And without that icon, it’s hard & not evident how to configure the server to do what you’re trying to do… I think the assumption made here is that you will always use VNC with the default settings to connect to the pi-top, but that’s not always the case! We’ll look into this, thanks for letting us know.

About the menu editor… that’s part of LXDE, so there’s nothing we can really do about it. If you want to learn more about LXDE, you can start with their wiki. LXDE is lightweight, fast and simple, and can be easily modified if you put some time into it, or even use existing themes.