Got a Linux PC you need to access remotely from a Windows desktop? Forget setting up a VNC server. Instead, Check out Splashtop! What is Splashtop? It’s a simple app that can easily stream Ubuntu to Windows, or literally stream your screen between any PC operating system (securely) over a network (including the internet) for remote access. You can also use Splashtop to control your PC from an Android device.
Note: in this guide, we focus on Ubuntu Linux as the remote PC. However, the source code for Splashtop Streamer is available for all Linux distributions here.
Using Splashtop on newer versions of Ubuntu is difficult, as the developers don’t have any new versions of the software available for the most recent Ubuntu version. The latest Splashtop releases is for Ubuntu 14.04. Downloading the package as is and installing it in the newest version of Ubuntu 18.04 will fail, as the dependencies are not there.
To solve this problem, you’ll need to add an old Ubuntu 14.04 software repository. Adding this repository will allow the old Splashtop package to gather the dependencies it needs to work correctly.
In the terminal, edit your /etc/apt/sources.list file with the Nano text editor.
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
Paste the following code into Nano:
# Ubuntu 14.04 Repo for Splashtop
deb https://cz.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu trusty main universe
Save Nano with the Ctrl + O keyboard combination, and exit it with Ctrl + X.
After exiting Nano, refresh Ubuntu’s software sources with the update command.
sudo apt update
Once up to date, it’s time to install any software updates that appear.
sudo apt upgrade
While running the update and upgrade command, you may notice an error with the 14.04 software repository. This error appears because the repository doesn’t have the correct GPG key. Thankfully, fixing this issue is easy:
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 40976EAF437D05B5
Running the apt-key command will fix any GPG key issues that the Ubuntu 14.04 software source runs into. From here, re-run the update command to finalize it.
sudo apt update
With the GPG working, Splashtop will now be installable on Ubuntu 18.04!
Install Splashtop Streamer
Now that the Ubuntu 14.04 dependency software repository is working in Ubuntu 18.04, downloading the old Splashtop Linux package from the website will work flawlessly. To start off, grab the package with wget.
Using the dpkg command, install the package.
sudo dpkg -i Splashtop_Streamer_Ubuntu_14.04_v188.8.131.52-4_amd64.deb
Installing Splashtop on Ubuntu has some problems, as the package doesn’t automatically install dependencies. To solve this, you’ll need to force Ubuntu to install them manually, with the apt install command:
sudo apt install -f
Disable Ubuntu 14.04 Repo
Enabling the 14.04 software source allows Splashtop to install on newer versions of Ubuntu however, due to its age, we should disable it. Don’t worry! Splashtop won’t break! All this does is disable any future updates through this software source.
To disable, open up nano and add a # in front of the 14.04 software repo. It should look like this:
## Ubuntu 14.04 Repo for Splashtop
#deb https://cz.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu trusty main universe
With the repo off, run the update command to finish up:
sudo apt update
Set Up Splashtop Streamer
As you open Splashtop for the first time, the UI will prompt you to accept the “User Agreement”. Click on through to accept it to start the program.
Once open, Splashtop will let you know that the app is not to be used without an account. Click the “create one” button to make a new Splashtop account.
Sign in to your new Splashtop account and let the app run. As long as the Streamer app is running, your Ubuntu PC will be accessible with Splashtop Personal.
Access Ubuntu Remotely
Splashtop Streamer is successfully broadcasting your Ubuntu Linux PC to the internet. Now, it’s time to access it. Go to another PC (running Windows) and visit this website. Scroll down and download the latest version of Splashtop Personal for Windows.
Note: Splashtop also works on Mac and Mobile.
Launch the installation app and get it working on the remote PC. When it’s installed, you’ll need to log in to your Splashtop account. Keep in mind that in order for you to access your remote Ubuntu Linux PC that is streaming with Splashtop, you’ll need to use the same account.
Once logged in, allow the app to load and detect all PCs running the streamer. Then, look through and locate the Ubuntu PC. Right-click on the Ubuntu PC and select “wake up this PC” to ensure that the PC is awake and accessible remotely.
After the remote PC wakes up, double-click on it to start a remote connection.
Disconnecting from remote sessions in Splashtop is as easy as connecting in. To exit the remote Ubuntu session, close the Splashtop Personal window by pressing the X button. Upon closing the window, Splashtop will automatically disconnect from the remote Ubuntu session.