Mint tightvncserver and the blank screen

I want to document any fixes I find to get a correctly running vnc session of Mint running on Win7 – that currently has issues – lots on the web about this.

I have never had any problems with tightVNC in the past with any version of Win or linux, and it has always been slick and really fast compared to windows RDTop, so this seems to be an Ubuntu/Mint issue alone, with the way newer desktop layers are rendered?

As an aside, if you want to view remote Win desktops without closing the MSWindow to the login screen AT the remote Win PC, use rdesktop on your linux PC. It works far better than Win RDT and allows the user to see your actions – good for remote teaching/tech support etc.

apt-get install rdesktop

then just call the remote win pc by name or IP address from the linux graphic desktop using the Run box. This uses MS RDT port 3389 so make sure the Win PC has firewall and Allow Remote Access box ticked in System Properties.












If you have never done this, then install with

apt-get install tightvncserver

Start the vnc server with:


New 'X' desktop is MinteSystem:1

Starting applications specified in /root/.vnc/xstartup
Log file is /root/.vnc/MinteSystem:1.log

To kill it use:

tightvncserver -kill :1

Killing Xtightvnc process ID 5277

You may want to research having it start at boot up – hint /etc/rc.d levels, S and K numbers etc.

So, with it running, you can connect with the viewer running on Windows:





Then, you normally get a perfect desktop, scaled correctly in the window, but in Mint, you get a black screen and no mouse movement on the remote Mint PC, whether the tightvnc session is started as root or user:


From googling, the only thing I found was that pressing D, gets a reluctant part of the screen, but with slow interactions like clicking.


You can open your files and browse from here, but as you can see, not everything is seen or works well and only with trial and error pressing Enter and D again, I got an open window that also responds to clicks and Return:


That's as far as I got at the mo – it's enough to see Net shares from Mint's side to know Samba works. Also, the open window responds to the up/down arrows, and positions itself in the centre, top/bottom half, or corners of the screen.

I'll add more to this problem when/if I find it…

30/6/15 using Debian 8 – same tighvnc blank screen issue.

An option is to install x11vnc instead of using tightvncserver, following this:

e.g: via an SSH session already open and logged in as root, use your login account name:

x11vnc -auth /home/stevee/.Xauthority -display :0

or try the auth suggestion shown during the attempt:

dell531 stevee # x11vnc -findauth

then substitute that auth instead of the username auth section above:

dell531 stevee # x11vnc -auth /var/lib/mdm/:0.Xauth -display :0

This connects to the users X server, via ssh, so then open the tightvnc client on Windows and use port 5900 to connect:






The VNC desktop is: dell531:0


or just "dell531" as the default is screen 0 anyway.


The beauty of this is that you get the same desktop as the one the remote machine is logged into, which is what I always want as the remote PC is attached to a stereo, so means I can listen to music and video, being controlled from my laptop, as I used to be able to before this problem arose in these later implementations. It does tie up one more ssh session, but that's no biggy. Sorted.

Also, if you haven't logged in locally yet, you can use:

x11vnc -auth guess -display :0

remotely to get to the null user login box:


then use the above "user based auth" line all over again once the SSH connection drops from GDM/KDE or whatever X manager was used, to SHH access the X server, then use VNC again to access as that user.

In summary; for Mint to Mint access I use x11vnc at the server:

stevee@T3400Quad ~ $ nbtscan T3400QUAD <server> T3400QUAD 00:00:00:00:00:00 HPMINT <server> HPMINT 00:00:00:00:00:00


stevee@hpmint ~ $ sudo apt-get install x11vnc

stevee@hpmint ~ $ x11vnc -auth guess

the VNC desktop is: hpmint:0

Leaving that session running, open a 2nd terminal on the client:

stevee@T3400Quad ~ $ xtightvncviewer HPMINT

This gets the remote server Desktop without having to log in if you have ssh-keys set and copied for remote auth.

vncviewer also works to connect to x11vnc.