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How to connect to VNC servers on a Chromebook

VNC is useful for remote access to Linux servers and Desktops. VNC is also great on Windows, as an alternative to RDP. However, there isn’t a native VNC client on Chrome OS. Thankfully, Chrome OS can run Linux apps. Here’s how to get a VNC app working on your Chromebook.

Enable Linux support on your Chromebook

Linux support is required to install a VNC client on your Chromebook. To enable Chrome OS Linux support, do the following. First,  click on the calendar in the dash. Then, click on the gear icon to launch the Chrome OS settings area.

Inside of the Chrome OS settings area, find the “Advanced” section, and click on the arrow next to it. After selecting the arrow next to “Advanced,” locate the “Developers” section.

In the “Developers” section, find the “Linux developer environment” area. Then, click on the “Turn on” button. When you select this button with the mouse, Chrome OS will begin downloading and installing a Debian LXC container on your system. It’ll also download a terminal application and launch it.

In the terminal application, find the “Penguin” section, and click on it with the mouse. When you select “Penguin,” it’ll load up the Linux container terminal interface on your Chromebook.

Inside the Chrome OS terminal, use the apt update command. This command will check for updates available in the Linux container. Checking for updates is critical, as it’s important to keep the container up to date.

sudo apt update

Following checking for updates in the container, you’ll need to install them using the apt update command. This command will take a few minutes at most and install all patches required for the container.

sudo apt upgrade

Once everything is up to date, you’ll be ready to use some Linux apps on your Chromebook or Chrome OS desktop.

How to install the Connections VNC client

One of the best VNC clients in all of Linux is Gnome Connections. It has a very simple-to-use UI and allows for managing multiple VNC server connections easily. To install this program on your Chromebook, you must first set up Flatpak.

Installing Flatpak starts by launching the Chrome OS Terminal app. Once the terminal app is open, find the “Penguin” option, and click on it to launch the command interface. Then, use the apt install command to install the “flatpak” package.

sudo apt install flatpak

Once you have installed the Flatpak package on your Chromebook, you’ll need to enable the Flathub app store. This app store makes it possible to install the Gnome Connections application on your Chrome OS app.

flatpak --user remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

With the Flathub app store enabled, you’ll be able to install the Gnome Connections VNC client on your Chromebook or Chrome OS device. Using the flatpak install command, download and install the Gnome Connections app to your Chromebook. It could take a few minutes.

flatpak install flathub org.gnome.Connections

Once you install the Gnome Connections application on your system, you can launch it via the “Linux apps” area of the Chrome OS menu.

How to connect to VNC servers on Chrome OS

To connect to VNC servers on your Chromebook, start by launching the Connections application. You can launch it by selecting it in the “Linux apps” folder in the Chrome OS app menu.

Once the Connections app is open, find the “+” button in the top-left corner and click on it to create a new connection. After selecting this button, you’ll be presented with two options: RDP and VNC. Select “VNC.”

After choosing the connection type, enter the VNC address. The address should be typed out like the example below. If you do not know your VNC port, you’ll need to check your server’s networking configuration.


Alternatively, you can use the server’s hostname and port. For example:


With the IP (or hostname) entered into Connections, the app will automatically attempt to connect to your VNC server. If your VNC server required a password to access it, you’ll see a password box.

Once connected, you’ll be free to use your remove VNC machine on your Chromebook using Gnome Connections. It’ll remember your connection for later use. To close the VNC connection, simply close the app.

VNC connection properties

If you wish to change your VNC connection’s properties, do the following. First, open Connections on your Chromebook. Then, right-click on a VNC connection, and select “Properties.”

After selecting “Properties,” you’ll be able to change any settings for your VNC connection in the Gnome Connections app. It will automatically save settings changes.

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