I have TightVNC Server (v. 2.7.10) running on my computer (Windows 8.1 Professional). When I am physically at the computer, others can see my screen using a VNC client. However, when I RDP into my computer, other users cannot view my session; they only see the Windows lock screen.

How can I enable other users to see my current RDP session using TightVNC?

  • you use windows or linux? because at an old fedora I remember there where a screen saver and lock screen option Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 19:11
  • @QuijoteShin Would I be seeing the Windows lock screen on Linux? :) Updated.
    – Zev Spitz
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 19:14
  • @QuijoteShin Users are running Windows, if that matters.
    – Zev Spitz
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 19:28

4 Answers 4


VNC and RDP are different protocols. VNC is screen sharing, with the option of using a client's input (i.e. mouse, keyboard, etc) on the server's screen, with the server's controls still active. Remote Desktop was made for administering the computer, which started out with NT4's Terminal Services. It was part of what made Windows a multi-user environment, as each user has their own session.

When you RDP, it locks out the console on Consumer versions of Windows. For the Server editions, it does not kick off whoever is at the "console". You can over ride this by using the /admin (used to be /console) command when running mstsc.exe.

If you are using VNC, you are seeing the console's screen. If you are using RDP, you are connecting to a session. In the case of Windows Professional editions (not the servers!), you are only allowed one concurrent connection, so it locks the console's session when someone connects. There is no way around it.

  • Am I correct in assuming that even using the Server edition, I would still not be able to connect to a running RDP session via a VNC server running in that session, as VNC only exposes the console? (I know I can connect to an existing session on the Server editions using RDP.)
    – Zev Spitz
    Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 21:11
  • You are correct. They connect differently, in the rdp brings a session to you, while vnc shares the current active screen Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 22:34

There are solutions... but each of them has limitations:

  1. You have to launch VNC Server on the remote session as "application" instead of "service". In this way, you can see the RDP session but you can't interact with its UAC.

  2. Another solution is to launch the VNC server on the computer from which you start the RDP connection to the remote computer, in this way the remote user can see the client's RDP window and use it.

  3. Added 2021: TightVNC Server from the version 2.8.53 support connection to an active RDP Session. (but you have to disable query to "accept/reject") source


Im not sure if it will work, but try to run the TightVNC standalone server from your RDP, don't run the TightVNC service (I'm guessing, that with the default install, you chose to have the service running).


(voice-over) 10 years later:

Enable Connect to RDP session option in server settings. Works flawlessly at least in non-server versions of windows while allowing tightVNC to run as a service.

TightVNC Service Configuration

  • This option doesn't work for me on Windows Server 2012, it just keep flickering in the vnc viewer Commented May 19 at 5:05

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