Thursday, October 05, 2017

Remote Ubuntu desktop on Azure


For the past many months I have moved to have my dev boxes on the cloud. I am happily using a monster Windows VM and an utility Ubuntu desktop in the cloud. I realized after talking to a few people that they don’t realize how easy it is to setup Linux remote desktop in Azure cloud. Here goes the steps.

For VM configuration I needed a small sized VM with large enough network bandwidth to support remoting. Unfortunately on Azure you cannot choose networking bandwidth but rather all the VMs in a box gets networking bandwidth proportional to the number of cores they have. So I just created a VM based on the “Standard DS4 v2 Promo (8 vcpus, 28 GB memory)” and connected it to Microsoft ExpressRoute. If you are ok with public IP you skip setting the express route and ensure your VM has a public IP.

Then went to the Portal and enabled RDP. For that in the portal choose VM –> Networking and add rule to enable RDP.


Finally I sshed into my VM with

c:\bin\putty.exe abhinaba@AbhiUbuntu

Time to now install a bunch of tools

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xrdp
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
sudo apt-get install xfce4
sudo apt-get update

Setup xsession

echo xfce4-session > ~/.xsession

Open the following file

sudo gvim /etc/xrdp/

Set the content to


if [ -r /etc/default/locale ]; then
    . /etc/default/locale
    export LANG LANGUAGE


start the xrdp service

sudo /etc/init.d/xrdp start

And then from my windows machine mstsc /v:machine_ip. I am presented with the login screen


then I have full Ubuntu desktop on Azure :)


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