NoMachine Client Installation and Configuration

NoMachine

Running the ps command on a computer running Xvnc.

In the previous article, we covered installation of the NoMachine server under Linux Mint. In this article, we will cover installing and running the NoMachine client under Windows.

First, we have to make sure vncviewer is running on the computer running the NoMachine server. This can be done by typing vncserver in a terminal window. You can also specify several options. For example:

vncserver -geometry 800×600

would create a VNC desktop 800 pixels wide and 600 pixels deep. The following command:

vncserver :1

would create a VNC desktop with a display number of 1 (omitting this parameter causes VNC to use the next available display number). This command:

vncserver -depth 24

creates a VNC desktop with a pixel depth of 24 (true color). Other permissible values are 8, 16 and 15. Consult the vncserver man page for other options.

Once you have started vncserver, you probably want to check to make sure it is running. To do so, you can type:

ps -eaf | grep Xvnc

If XVnc is running, you should see a line similar to the one in the screenshot shown at the beginning of this article.

Downloading and Installing the NoMachine Client in Windows

NoMachine

The NoMachine setup wizard.

Now we need to install the NoMachine client in Windows. First, we download the client at the NoMachine web site. Then run the NoMachine executable, either by selecting Run from the Start menu and selecting the executable, or by clicking on the executable in Windows in windows Explorer.

You will be presented with the NoMachine Setup Wizard dialog box. Click on “Next” to continue installation. The next dialog box contains the End-User License Agreement (EULA); if you agree with the terms, click on the “I accept the agreement” radio button and click “Next“. The next dialog box allows you to change the installation path; if you want to install the NoMachine client into a different directory, change it here and click “Next“. The software will install now. You may see dialog boxes which read “The software you are installing has not passed Windows Logo testing”; if so, click on “Continue Anyway” to continue. Once installation has completed, a dialog box will appear to inform you so; click on “Finish“.


From the Start menu, navigate to Programs -> NoMachine -> NoMachine to start the NoMachine client. If this is the first time you are running the program, the first window will show you how to use the program. Click on “Continue” to advance to the next screen.

If this is the first time you have run the NoMachine client, the next screen will be the “Create New Connection” wizard. Here you can enter the IP address of the computer to which you want to connect. Once you have set up the remote computer, double-click on it to connect to the computer.

After a few seconds, the NoMachine client will prompt you for login credentials. Enter your username and password; if you want NoMachine to save the password, check the “Save the password in the connection file” check box. Once you are done, click “OK“. After another few seconds, you should be connected to the remote computer. If this is the first time you have run NoMachine, there will be two screens with instructions on how to use the interface. After that, You will see a screen that gives you the following choices: [1] Display the menu panel covering all screen (the default), or [2] Display the menu panel as a window. Choose the way you want the menu panel displayed and click “OK“.

The next screen controls the option for audio streaming. Audio is forwarded to the client, but you can control whether audio is played on the remote server. Check the “Mute audio on the server while I’m connected” to mute the audio, and click on “OK“. The next screen controls the option for display resolution. If the remote machine has a different resolution than the client, you can check the “Change the server resolution to match the client when I connect” check box to make sure the resolution matches. Click the “OK” button when you are done choosing this option.

Now you should be connected to the remote desktop. If you want to change the settings for the client, hover your mouse over the upper right corner; when the page-turning icon appears, click on it and the settings will appear. There are seven options here: “Input“, “Devices“, “Display“, “Audio“, “Mic in“, “Recording“, and “Connection“. Click the icon for the settings you want to change. You can now change settings; click on “Done” when you are finished and click “Done” again to exit out of the settings screen and return to the remote desktop.


External Links:

The official NoMachine web site

Remote Access Options

remote accessSooner or later, odds are good that you will either want or need the ability to work remotely. Providing remote access must be undertaken very cautiously, because as soon as you allow an employee to connect to the corporate network, you have to some degree extended your network boundary to their workstation. This means your network’s security is now only as good as the security of the remote user’s system or network. In some cases, this borders on no security at all. This is why remote access must only be granted after careful consideration and planning. While the different types of remote access have different levels of security risk, all types of remote access have some common planning and configuration steps.

Remote Access: VPNs

The first step is to determine what type of remote access is appropriate. A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public network, such as the Internet. It enables a computer to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if it were directly connected to the private network, while benefiting from the functionality, security, and management policies of the private network. This generally provides the greatest level of functionality, but also poses the greatest risk. If the remote system is compromised, an attacker is effectively inside your corporate network. While there are steps you can take to mitigate these risks, they may be time-intensive and effort-intensive. To plan, configure and properly secure a VPN solution is the most involved choice of the various remote access solutions you could provide.

Remote Access: Remote Desktop Software

Another option is to provide remote desktop functionality. This would allow a remote user to see and use the desktop of a system at work. A remote desktop acts as if the user is at work, while a VPN acts as if the user’s computer is at work. This type of solution is slightly easier to implement, because you can typically isolate the traffic that needs to be permitted through the firewall to a single TCP port. Many of the same risks exist, however, in that if an attacker manages to gain access to an internal desktop remotely, it is usually easy for them to move information out of the network or otherwise cause mischief. Another key consideration with this type of solution is that you need to have a computer at home and a computer at work. With the VPN option, youonly need to use one system, so if the user has a laptop, it can be used while they work remotely. There are several options for remote desktop functionality: LogMeIn (which is no longer free), TeamViewer (free for home users), and Symantec’s PcAnywhere, to name but a few.


Remote Access: Remote Shell

The last and least functional option is that of a remote shell. Because most users do not operate extensively (or even at all) in a console environment, this type of remote access is generally most suitable for network administration personnel. While it may be impossible for typical users to operate their systems without a GUI, many network tasks and most firewall administration tasks can be permormed with only terminal access. Because the widely-used Telnet protocol sends all data unencrypted, any sensitive tasks should only be performed using a secured protocol such as secure shell (SSH), or Telnet over a Secure Internet Protocol (IPsec) tunnel.

External Links:

VPN at Wikipedia

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