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Installing from unpackaged binaries

You can install unpackaged binaries using a vncinstall script on any Linux computer. You might do this if:

  • You want to configure where binaries or man pages are installed (examine vncinstall for default locations).
  • You do not have administrative privileges.


If you have an Enterprise subscription for VNC Connect, you can follow the instructions below to license VNC Server at the same time; a license KEY is available from the Deployment page of your RealVNC account. If you have a Home or Professional subscription, just omit these steps license VNC Server post-install instead.

Installing to non-default locations

  1. Run the following command to specify a custom location for binaries, man pages, or both:

    ./vncinstall [<binary-dir>] [<doc-dir>]

  2. Run the following command to license VNC Server:

    <binary-dir>/vnclicense -add KEY

  3. If you intend to run VNC Server in Service Mode (vncserver-x11-serviced) or the Virtual Mode daemon (vncserver-virtuald), perform the following operations:

    System Mode File Do this
    init Service Mode /etc/init.d/vncserver-x11-serviced Add <binary-dir> to PATH.
    Virtual Mode daemon /etc/init.d/vncserver-virtuald
    systemd Service Mode /usr/lib/systemd/system/vncserver-x11-serviced.service Edit ExecStart to include <binary-dir> and then reload systemd using systemctl daemon-reload.
    Virtual Mode daemon /usr/lib/systemd/system/vncserver-virtuald.service

Installing without administrative privileges

You can install without administrative privileges but please note not all programs or features will be available:

  • Available programs: VNC Server in User Mode (vncserver-x11), Virtual Mode (vncserver-virtual), and VNC Viewer.
  • Unavailable programs: VNC Server in Service Mode (vncserver-x11-serviced) and the Virtual Mode daemon (vncserver-virtuald).
  • Unavailable features: Printing and the single sign-on (SSO) authentication scheme.
  • Restricted features: The system authentication scheme is available, but connecting users must supply the credentials of the process owner (that is, the user starting VNC Server) in order to connect. The credentials of other system users added to the VNC Server Permissions parameter are ignored.

To do this:

  1. Unpack the tarball into a directory you can write to, for example:

    tar -xvf <tarball> -C /home/user/VNC --strip-components=1

  2. Navigate to this directory and license VNC Server, for example:

    cd /home/user/VNC
    ./vnclicense -LicenseDir=. -add KEY

  3. Create a /<your-home-dir>/.vnc/config file containing a font path for virtual desktops:

    ETCVNCDIR=<your-home-dir>/.vnc ./vncinitconfig -config

  4. Create a /<your-home-dir>/.vnc/xstartup file containing sensible environment defaults for virtual desktops:

    ETCVNCDIR=<your-home-dir>/.vnc ./vncinitconfig -xstartup

Setting up the environment

The following notes apply whichever procedure you have followed above.

VNC Server in Virtual Mode

For best results with modern desktop environments and applications on Red Hat-compatible computers, run VNC Server in conjunction with the system Xorg server, rather than the outdated version built-in to Xvnc.

For Ubuntu, you may need to change the desktop environment.


vncinstall automatically registers policy modules for RHEL/CentOS 5+ and Fedora distributions if SELinux is enabled on the system. If SELinux is disabled, or for any other distribution, you must subsequently run vncinitconfig -register-SELinux. Consult the tarball README for further information.