Windows 7 Home Premium Remote Desktop: The Missing Link

The tiny Lenovo Q150 has become the dedicated Windows box for running TurboTax this season. In earlier years, I used the Token Windows Laptop through a remote desktop session that appears on a Xubuntu desktop, but the Q150 runs rings around the old laptop.

This time, no matter what I tried, I couldn’t connect to the Windows 7 desktop on the Q150 from my Xubuntu desktop. The usual search results suggested Windows configuration settings that didn’t quite match what the Q150 provided; a bit more searching revealed that Windows 7 Home flavors of the OS (this one isĀ Home Premium) lack the Remote Desktop Protocol server required to export the desktop. The Q150 could act as a client that controlled another machine’s desktop server, but not the other way around.

The suggested solutions required applying patches, in the form of EXE files downloaded from sketchy websites, or dropping in replacement DLLs obtained from similar sites. All that seems like Bad Practice, particularly for a Windows box used to prepare our taxes, and I was unwilling to proceed along those lines.

Instead, I fetched UltraVNC, installed it on the Q150, and it works perfectly. Remmina occasionally requires a resize-window-to-match-server at startup and then it’s all good.

From what I hear, Windows 7 doesn’t display the classic Blue Screen of Death nearly so often as before, although I did manage to lock it up during the course of this adventure. That’s OK, I can still use my favorite Windows wallpaper image:

Windows 7 Home - UltraVNC via Remmina

Windows 7 Home – UltraVNC via Remmina

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  1. #1 by Red County Pete on 2013-01-18 - 11:14

    I’ve been using a Windows 7 box since June. Similar experiences with reliability. Firefox has freeze-died, though this seems to have something to do with Adobe installation result pages. Methinks it’s something about Flash and maybe my script blocker.

    I have noticed a few things in the service setup pages where MS encourages you to give them remote desktop access, so some of that functionality must be buried in the OS. I declined the offer.

    Our satellite receiver has a pink screen of death…

    • #2 by Ed on 2013-01-18 - 11:56

      something about Flash

      It seems you just can’t go wrong blaming Flash… maybe Linux is better off without it?

      But the videos! The kittens! The videos of kittens! [sigh]

      • #3 by Red County Pete on 2013-01-18 - 12:56

        The frustrating thing is the occasional website that requires Flash. When it’s for a business I need to deal with (I’m looking a you, Dish), it’s annoying. For everything else, I use a script blocker on the desk and laptop, and also an adblocker on the dialup machines. That minimizes Flash [ab]use a fair amount.