« Back to FAQ

What is a ‘virtual desktop’?

If you have an Enterprise subscription, you can run VNC Server in Virtual Mode on Linux platforms, to create a virtual desktop. This is not the actual desktop you see when you log on to your account desk-side on that computer, but rather one that exists in memory only and is visible just to you as a connected VNC Viewer user. VNC Server can be run in Virtual Mode as many times as you have available computers in your tier, to create as many virtual desktops as you need. See a picture.

A virtual desktop provides a private workspace in which a connected VNC Viewer user can run programs without affecting either the actual desktop of the currently-logged in user, nor the virtual desktops of other connected VNC Viewer users. A virtual desktop is tied to your user account on the remote computer but can run a different desktop environment to your actual desktop if you wish, and the two are independent in other ways; if you log out of your actual desktop, your virtual desktop persists, and you can continue connecting to it until it is explicitly destroyed.

Our customers use VNC Server in Virtual Mode in the following ways:

  • Providing independent desktops for users on a single computer to make best use of that (perhaps rented) asset, while consuming only a fraction of the resources required by an equivalent number of virtual machines.
  • Enabling multiple users of a centralized application to run that application simultaneously, yet separately, on the same computer.
  • Providing ‘visual’ remote access to a headless server.

You can run VNC Server in Virtual Mode standalone or alternatively as a service (daemon), to create virtual desktops on demand.