What is a virtual desktop / Virtual Mode?

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If you have a subscription that includes access to Virtual Mode and are using Linux, you can run RealVNC Server in Virtual Mode to create a virtual desktop. This is not the actual desktop you see when you log on to your account desk-side on that computer, but rather one that exists in memory only and is visible just to you as a connected RealVNC Viewer user.

RealVNC Server can be run in Virtual Mode as many times as you have available computers in your subscription's capacity, to create as many virtual desktops as you need. See a picture here for an overview of the different modes available in RealVNC Server.

A virtual desktop provides a private workspace in which a connected RealVNC Viewer user can run programs without affecting either the actual desktop of the currently logged-in user or the virtual desktops of other connected RealVNC Viewer users.

A virtual desktop is tied to your user account on the remote computer but can run a different desktop environment to your actual desktop if you wish, and the two are independent in other ways; if you log out of your actual desktop, your virtual desktop persists, and you can continue connecting to it until it is explicitly destroyed.

Our customers use RealVNC Server in Virtual Mode in the following ways:

  • Providing independent desktops for users on a single, high powered, computer to make the best use of that computer, while consuming only a fraction of the resources required by an equivalent number of virtual machines.
  • Enabling multiple users of a centralized application to run that application simultaneously, yet separately, on the same computer.
  • Providing graphical remote access to a headless server.

You can run RealVNC Server in Virtual Mode standalone or alternatively as a service (daemon), to create virtual desktops on demand.

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