How do I license and configure VNC Server on a Windows computer over RDP?


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;
  • (Subscriptions that include offline licensing) Apply your offline license (located under the "Deployment" section of your RealVNC account) for direct connectivity.

Configuring VNC Server

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.

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.

A note if using VNC Server on Windows 7

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:


You can then re-run the installer after connecting with VNC Viewer to install just the VNC Mirror Driver component, which will greatly enhance performance.

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