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Fixing RDP Blank Screen and Abort Issue on Ubuntu with xrdp

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In this article, we will explore how to fix the blank screen and abort issue often encountered when using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) on Ubuntu with xrdp. This problem typically arises when trying to connect from a Windows 10 PC to an Ubuntu machine running xrdp.

Quick Answer

To fix the RDP blank screen and abort issue on Ubuntu with xrdp, you can try several solutions. These include using the mate-session command, modifying the Xwrapper.config file, using the Parallels client as an alternative, or switching to a different desktop environment like KDE. However, the effectiveness of these solutions may vary depending on your specific configuration and setup.

Understanding the Problem

When using RDP to connect to an Ubuntu machine, you may encounter a blank screen or abrupt disconnection. This is often due to a compatibility issue between the xrdp server and the Ubuntu desktop environment. The server may fail to correctly interpret the desktop environment leading to these issues.

Solution 1: Using mate-session

The first solution involves using the mate-session command. This command starts a new MATE session, which is a simple, flexible, and effective desktop environment. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the terminal on your Ubuntu machine.
  2. Enter the command echo mate-session > ~/.xsession and press Enter. This command creates a file named .xsession in your home directory and writes mate-session into it. The .xsession file is used to launch your desktop environment.
  3. If the above command doesn’t work, try running sudo apt-get install mate-core before running the previous command. This command installs the MATE core files, which may be necessary for the mate-session command to work.
  4. Avoid using the root account to access the PC via RDP. Instead, create a new account and use it to call mate-session.

Solution 2: Modifying Xwrapper.config

The second solution involves modifying the Xwrapper.config file. This file controls how the X server (the graphical subsystem in Ubuntu) is allowed to start:

  1. Open the terminal on your Ubuntu machine.
  2. Enter the command sudo sed -i 's/allowed_users=console/allowed_users=anybody/' /etc/X11/Xwrapper.config and press Enter. This command replaces the line allowed_users=console with allowed_users=anybody in the Xwrapper.config file. This allows any user, not just the console user, to start the X server.

Solution 3: Using Parallels Client

If the above solutions do not work, you can try using the Parallels client as an alternative to xrdp. The Parallels client provides a more stable connection and is compatible with a wide range of desktop environments. Follow the instructions provided in the Parallels Client Installation Guide to obtain and install the Parallels client.

Solution 4: Switching to a Different Desktop Environment

If none of the above solutions work, you can try using a different desktop environment such as KDE instead of GNOME. KDE is known to work well with xrdp and may resolve the blank screen and abort issue. You can install KDE and set it as the default desktop environment with the following commands:

  1. sudo apt-get install kde-plasma-desktop – This command installs the KDE Plasma desktop environment.
  2. sudo update-alternatives --config x-session-manager – This command allows you to choose KDE as the default desktop environment.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve explored several solutions to the RDP blank screen and abort issue on Ubuntu with xrdp. It’s important to remember that the effectiveness of these solutions may vary depending on your specific configuration and setup. Always ensure to back up important data before making significant changes to your system.

If you continue to experience issues, it’s recommended to check the syslog output for any error messages related to xrdp. You can access the syslog at /var/log/syslog. Additionally, ensure that port forwarding is correctly set up if you need access from outside your local network.

Why am I getting a blank screen when using RDP on Ubuntu with xrdp?

The blank screen issue often occurs due to a compatibility problem between the xrdp server and the Ubuntu desktop environment. The server may not interpret the desktop environment correctly, resulting in a blank screen.

How can I fix the blank screen issue when using RDP on Ubuntu with xrdp?

One solution is to use the mate-session command to start a MATE session. Open the terminal and enter the command echo mate-session > ~/.xsession. If that doesn’t work, try installing the MATE core files with sudo apt-get install mate-core before running the previous command. Another solution is to modify the Xwrapper.config file by replacing allowed_users=console with allowed_users=anybody using the command sudo sed -i 's/allowed_users=console/allowed_users=anybody/' /etc/X11/Xwrapper.config.

What is the Parallels client and how can it help with the RDP issue?

The Parallels client is an alternative to xrdp that provides a more stable connection and is compatible with various desktop environments. You can obtain and install the Parallels client by following the instructions provided in the Parallels Client Installation Guide.

Can switching to a different desktop environment resolve the RDP blank screen issue?

Yes, switching to a different desktop environment such as KDE instead of GNOME can help resolve the blank screen issue. You can install KDE and set it as the default desktop environment by running sudo apt-get install kde-plasma-desktop to install KDE Plasma and sudo update-alternatives --config x-session-manager to choose KDE as the default desktop environment.

What should I do if none of the above solutions work?

If none of the above solutions work, it is recommended to check the syslog output for any error messages related to xrdp. You can access the syslog at /var/log/syslog. Additionally, ensure that port forwarding is correctly set up if you need access from outside your local network.

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