Can I install VNC Server on a Windows computer over RDP?


As of version 6.7.0 of VNC Server you will now be prompted to license VNC Server after the install finishes. You will then need to disconnect from your RDP session and connect via VNC Viewer.


For Windows 8 and later, please skip to the Licensing section below.


Mirror Driver

If installing on Windows 7 or earlier you must first turn off the VNC Mirror Driver component or VNC Server will fail to install. You can do this in the installer:



Licensing VNC Server

Once VNC Server has successfully installed, you need to manually open the licensing wizard - you can do this by navigating to the installation directory of RealVNC (C:\Program Files\RealVNC\VNC Server by default) and then locate and double-click vnclicensewiz.exe.

Once the licensing wizard is open, you can either:

  • (All subscriptions) Sign in to your RealVNC account to enable cloud connectivity, or;
  • (Enterprise only) Apply your license key (located under the "Deployment" section of your RealVNC account) for direct connectivity.


Configuring VNC Server

As soon as you’ve installed and licensed VNC Server, we recommend disconnecting your RDP session and connecting using VNC Viewer instead. You will then be able to access the VNC Server UI and tray icon.

For Windows 7, you can then re-run the installer in-session to install just the VNC Mirror Driver component, which will greatly enhance performance.

N.B. When connected by RDP, you will not have access to the VNC Server icon. This is because RDP doesn't actually show the console session (the screen you'd see if you were sitting in front of the computer). It creates its own virtual session, meaning that VNC Server is in fact running correctly in the background, but the system tray icon will be showing on the console session, not within your virtual user session.

 Version 5.x 

Version 5 of VNC Server can also be installed over RDP in the same manner as VNC Connect.  The license wizard will need to be ran from: 

C:\Program Files\RealVNC\VNC Server\vnclicensewiz.exe 

The disconnect from the RDP session and connect in with the IP address and VNC Server's user interface will show. 

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