Help With VNC Please.

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Squire, Jan 25, 2004.

  1. Squire macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2003
    Okay. I'm trying to connect to another Mac via VNC and I'm completely lost. I've installed OSXvnc and Chicken of the VNC. I tried connecting with the computer name and also with the IP.

    Can anyone give me detailed instructions on how to do this in the simplest language possible?

    Thanks a million.

  2. toughboy macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2003
    Izmir, Turkey
    well... what is VNC? surely it is an abbr. but what is the long vers?
  3. Apple //e macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2003
    Re: Help With VNC Please.

    you have to have the client running on the remote computer and run the viewer from the computer you want to remote from.

    configure the client first (password, number)

    from the viewer either type the name of the computer or the ip address. enter the password and your good to go
  4. Squire thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2003
    Virtual Network Computing

    It's supposed to be similar to Apple's Remote Desktop program...I think.

  5. Squire thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2003
    Re: Re: Help With VNC Please.

    client=Chicken of the VNC



    I thought I tried that. Hmm...what about the "port" and "display" settings? Important or just leave 'em alone?

    Thanks, by the way.

  6. mkubal macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2002
    You need to set a port number on VNC and use that as the port number in Chicken of the VNC. As I remember, the default port on the VNC client was four digits, but Chicken of the VNC only allowed up to three digits for whatever reason. So you'll probably need to change that. Also If you aren't accessing it from the same network you might need to port forward to the client computer if it is in a network of computers under the same IP address.

  7. Simon Liquid macrumors regular

    Jul 4, 2001
    It's like that, but better in that it's crossplatform, can work between Max and Linux/Unix Machines and even windows. It's useful for headless servers if you don't want to just ssh in and do everything on the command line.

    The compatibility comes with a price- it isn't very fast. Still good for a lot of things though.
  8. mproud macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2003
    A rundown on VNC

    What is VNC?

    VNC allows you to work remotely. It takes in your keyboard input and mouse movements and sends back images of the screen. It is a convenient application that can allow you to gain access to your computer and anything on it. It is also an incredible teaching tool and allows people to work on computers without actually being there. And you can really give someone a scare, if they happen to be using the same computer!

    VNC works over the Internet, and also wonderfully across a local area network. It is cross-platform and thus OS-independent. Did I mention it's an awesome way to run a headless computer?

    What do I need?

    OSXvnc is the server. This is what you run from the computer you will later connect to - in other words, your home computer. OSXvnc is by far the best option for serving your computer.

    Chicken of the VNC is one of many clients (also known as viewers). A client is simply the application that talks to the server. VNCThing is another client (works with OS 9) but Chicken is probably the best (despite some funny quirks). There may exist other flavors of VNC clients, so see what works best for you.

    There are even clients you can use on pre-PowerMac machines and in OS 8.1! I have successfully connected to a Centris 610 (that's an '030, by the way) so it can be done (albeit slowly).

    Setting up the server

    To start VNC-ing, open the OSXvnc program on the serving computer. (If you plan on using OSXvnc quite a bit, you may wish to set it as a Login Item at startup.)

    Make a note of your IP address (from System Preferences -> Network) and the port/display number (5900 as default) that is displayed in the application.

    Make sure you set a password - or anyone could gain access to your computer! Also, you may want to prevent your computer from sleeping - VNC will otherwise have a very hard time working (the OSXvnc application may have this as a check box option - but better safe than sorry - manage your Energy Saver preferences wisely).

    (Make sure OSXvnc is set to automatically start when launched and to restart the server when the connection is lost - I believe they're on by default.)

    Connecting from the client

    So you're at the computer lab, at work, at school, at your friend's house... whatever. You realize you need that e-mail message that's only on your computer... or whatever the reason.


    Open a VNC client (like Chicken, or, if you're using Windows, Linux, or another system, they have clients too - and they all work together).

    In the VNC Login window, type in your IP address. In some clients, you'll include a colon at the end, followed by the port/display number. In Chicken, however, you'll enter this in the Display text box. Don't forget to enter your password, and then you're set to go.

    If Chicken is taking a long time to connect, it usually means you messed up. You'll eventually be given an error dialog. Check the port/display number is correct (the text box is funny in particular) and make sure the host is also correct. (See advanced for info on how to startup OSXvnc remotely if you had forgotten to run it beforehand.)

    If everything goes smoothly, you'll be presented with a screen that looks oddly familiar!

    You can set Chicken to fullscreen (as well as most other clients nowadays). OSXvnc also allows resolution switching on the server computer - this is a pretty cool feature that has finally matured!

    (Chicken should take most keystrokes you type. So typing "command+q" will not close Chicken; instead, it will close the program you're running virtually in the client. Some won't - command+tab will probably not work within the client. The option key may have trouble - I still have not come up with an acceptable workaround to this - though experts may be able to map keys or find different programs that do this better. The Keyboard Viewer/Key Caps program is thus invaluable for those hard-to-get at characters :))

    Advanced notes

    Some extra goodies to consider:

    Manual IP Address

    Since IP numbers often change from time to time, if you're on a LAN, you may opt to configure your IP manually. All networks are different, so it might take some fiddling to do. My IP address was when I got to campus - I had to leave the first two sets the same, so I changed it to - now THAT's easy to remember!

    Connecting via the IP name may or may not work. Since it can be unreliable, I highly recommend you always know your IP address. You can try to trace your IP as wellif you know how (Network Utility does that, but ping and trace and allthose goodies work in terminal and are universally accessible across working environments.)

    Setting VNC server remotely

    If you forget to set your vnc server, you can still connect if you have ssh or similar access to your computer.

    To connect, you need a UNIX shell program (some programs exist on the PC - my college uses Reflection X). If you run Linux, it's built in. In Mac OS X, will do just fine.

    Connect to your comptuer by typing

    ssh username@your.ip.address.number

    You will need access to the currently running user or root access with ssh enabled in System Preferences. Make sure if your user name contains non alphanumeric characters (especially, a space) to put the user name in quotes (i.e. "John Smith"@

    Once you enter in your password, you'll get "Welcome to Darwin!" and a prompt. Now you can run programs remotely!

    To see if you left OSXvnc running, type


    This will return all of the active processes. Since vnc constantly updates with information, it'll be right at the top of the list (under top, of course - the command you've just entered). There should be two programs - OSXvnc and OSXvnc-server. If they are not there, you forgot to open it. If there is OSXvnc but no OSXvnc-server, you'll need to kill the OSXvnc process (in which case, get the pid - or process id - of that process) - sometimes the case is the application is running but the server somehow crashed or refused to restart.

    Press 'q' to leave top. Then, if you need to kill OSXvnc, type

    kill #

    where # is the pid number.

    To open OSXvnc, you're going to have to remember where you put it. For this reason, I like putting it in my home folder, as you won't ave to change directories. Otherwise, change directories ('cd ..' to move up, 'cd name' to move to a folder 'name') and type ls (short for list) to see the contents of a directory.

    Once you find it, type


    (Note you can open any application in a similar fashion through an ssh connection - open, etc.)

    If all goes well, you'll see the prompt with no error messages. All set up! Exit your ssh connection and you can connect via a client.

    Chaining VNC

    In some network environments, you may not have full access to IPs outside of your subnet. If this is the case, you may still be able to connect, if there is a common server that can connect the two computers with.

    For example, at my college, there exists a math/CS server which has both vncserver and vncviewer (if these do not exist for you, talk to your network administrator). For me, it is easy as running the vncserver, running the vncviewer to the computer running osxvnc, and then Chicken to connect to the math server.

    VNC over ssh

    For those who neeed the utmost security, you can restrict vnc to ssh only. This is an option in OSXvnc server. I haven't presonally used it, but I don't think it's much different, except it may only work through IPs in the same domain (i.e. LAN). If you require some additional security, you may try this.

    I hope this was helpful! :)

    For more information, I'd visit
  9. Thirteenva macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2002
    Re: Help With VNC Please.

    Ok, more info needed here. Are the computers on the same network. If your trying to connect over the internet, you'll need to check firewall settings at each end. VNC operates on ports 5900 to 5903.

    I use OSXvnc and 'Chicken' to connect to my G5 at work with my powerbook.

    By default OSXvnc starts up on port 5900 and has no password.
  10. Squire thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2003
    Thanks, everyone, for the help- especially mproud for the lengthy and detailed response.

    Thirteenva: I'm in Korea and my parents are in Canada. I want to connect to (and subsequently, control) their Mac from mine. I also have a buddy across town I want to connect with just to see how it works. (He's a little more computer literate than my folks are.)

    Well it sounds a lot like Internet gaming. Maybe my friend didn't punch in the port number.

    Again, thanks heaps.

  11. Thirteenva macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2002
    I connect to my brothers powerbook this way also for tech support. He needed to forward the vnc ports on his router to his locally assigned network address.

Share This Page