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VNC Into Remote Server Without Typing a Password

vnc without typing a password

I have a simple setup where one of my Ubuntu boxes is hooked up to the old Mitsubishi 50” TV via s-video. The box is hidden behind the TV, and is, of course, online. It has Mythbuntu installed, and functions as a full blown multi media center.

Besides all other goodies that are installed on the box, I recently installed rtGui (A web based front-end for rTorrent) on it. Hence anywhere I go, I can connect to it over the web, and throw a torrent link that will start the download right away – convenient. ( here is how to “install rtGui on Ubuntu” )

Currently, I control my media box the most straightforward way – from my laptop. There are many other options available: Gyration Remote (In-air cursor control using Patented Gyroscopic Motion-Sensing technology – 2.4GHz RF technology for up to 100 ft), mini wireless keyboard, and many others, but I don’t mind a semi-manual way to control the box by using my laptop. There is one little problem though – every time I am VNCing to the box, I have to enter a password – not convenient…

First thing I tried to find a “no typing password” solution was:

$ vncviewer remotehost.com -p dummypasswd
VNC server supports protocol version 3.8 (viewer 3.3)
Cannot read valid password from file "dummypasswd"

Here I just wanted to see what the error message would pop up, to get more clues on where to look. Now I’ve got the clue: “there should be a valid password file”. Next thing to do is to read about “vncviewer”:

$ man vncviewer
       -passwd passwd-file
              File from which to get the password (as generated by the vncpasswd(1) program).

Excellent – now it is official, just need to use “vncpasswd”:

$ vncpasswd
The program 'vncpasswd' can be found in the following packages:
 * tightvncserver
 * vnc4-common
Try: sudo apt-get install
<selected package>
bash: vncpasswd: command not found

Seems like its not installed, which is an easy problem to solve…

Step 1. Install “tightvncserver”.

$ sudo apt-get install tightvncserver

Check that “vncpasswd” is installed:

$ vnc [TAB][TAB]
vncconnect  vncpasswd   vncserver   vncviewer

Step 2. Create a vnc password file with “vncpassword”.

$ vncpasswd
Using password file /home/user/.vnc/passwd
VNC directory /home/user/.vnc does not exist, creating.
Would you like to enter a view-only password (y/n)? n

Step 3. VNC into the remote system without typing the password.

$ vncviewer remotehost.com -p /home/user/.vnc/passwd

As you see the only thing I need to provide now is the password file – no need to type the password every time I need to watch a movie. And to make it even more convenient, I can now create a launcher that will launch “vncviewer remotehost.com -p /home/user/.vnc/passwd” on a simple mouse click:

media center launcher

Want to do something else simple and convenient? Try to “run commands remotely via SSH with no password“.

VNC away!