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Old 12-20-2015, 12:36 PM   #1
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Registered: Dec 2015
Location: California
Distribution: Debian 8
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remote access for complete newbie on Debian

I admit I am a complete newbie on Linux. Build my own Windows machines, so not a newbie for Windows and hardware.

Recently built my own Linux box to be used as a file server at home. Linux Debian 8, using RAID card with a pair of 3TB HDD in RAID 1 mirror. Can add HDD as needed in future, up to 10 HDD, so happy with box and basic Linux install. Have successfully had Windows laptop backed up to server using CrashPlan. May change backup config later.

What I am asking for is probably on this forum, but I may not be using the correct search terms. I need a tutorial (very basic) on how to connect my Windows machine to my Linux server. I have done it with command line, but would like to do it with GUI and full server screen on my Windows client. Right now I am connecting keyboard, mouse, and monitor to my Linux server to do anything on it. I would prefer to connect to my Linux server using my Windows machine (desktop and/or laptop) so I can make my Linux machine truly headless. I would like to set it up so that whatever is needed on the Linux side automatically boots at startup, so all I need to do is type in user/pass to access from my Windows client any time. After that, more advanced, I'd like to have remote access securely over any web connection, but priority is to get that over my home network to make the server headless. I know this is a complete noob basic question, but I am having difficulty connecting.

Online things I have found so far are using RedHat or other distro that does not match what I have with Debian. Have perused "Linux Server Step-by-Step Configuration Guide" by Don Crawley, but that mostly uses CentOS. Also have "Using Samba" published by O'Reilly, but just started reading it.

With time, I am sure I will learn this and learn it well, but I am experiencing a steep learning curve at the moment.

Tutorial here or elsewhere with BASIC steps for noob to make Debian headless with Windows access? What search terms do I need?

Old 12-21-2015, 09:18 AM   #2
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Registered: Nov 2013
Location: Tokyo
Distribution: Redhat/Centos, Ubuntu, Raspbian, Fedora, Alpine, Cirros, OpenSuse/SLES
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I believe what you want is VNC "virtual network computing". It displays an X11 windows environment running on your Linux server on any computer that runs a VNC client, also known as VNC viewer. There are other protocols for this; I believe VNC is the most popular one (and the only one I know).

At home I use tightvnc server. Displays nicely on the Real VNC viewer on Windows.

Start here or here.

Last edited by berndbausch; 12-21-2015 at 09:19 AM.
Old 12-21-2015, 09:47 AM   #3
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Registered: Apr 2001
Location: Plymouth, England.
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If the Debian server to which you want to connect is going to be truly headless, and isn't going to be running and graphical applications, then you don't really need to be running X11 at all (so there wouldn't be anything for VNC to connect to).

What it sounds like you're after is SSH.

On the server, open a command line and run this:
sudo apt-get install ssh

This will install both the SSH server and client, so you will be able to log in remotely.
There are many tutorials around on making your SSH more secure (using keys instead of passwords, etc), but this will get you up and running.

Of course, that is only the server side of things. You will need to connect TO your server from something... PuTTY is a very common and highly recommended SSH client for Windows users.

With these two, you will be able to use your server's command line from the comfort of your Windows machine.


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