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Using VNC to Connect to an Atmosphere VM

Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a way to share a graphical desktop environment. The underlying protocol works across operating systems and platforms and allows a remote user or users to access, use, and share a computer system. In our case, VNC enables one or many Atmosphere users to access an image that is being run on iPlant resources from the users' local machine.

There are many free VNC clients, or viewers, some of which are mentioned below.

Download and Install VNC Viewer

You can download the VNC Viewer here:

Windows: 32-bit 64-bit (note: if in doubt, download the 32-bit|note: if in doubt, download the 32-bit)
MacOSX: click here
Linux: 32-bit 64-bit
IOS (iPad, iPhone, etc.): click here
Android (phone or tablet): click here

You can also use the built in Java VNC viewer by going the IP address for your instance using a web browser
by opening the url http://A.B.C.D:5800 in your web browser, where A.B.C.D is the IP address of your instance--e.g. where is the IP address assigned.

Alternatively, you can download and install the appropriate Enterprise Edition VNC Viewer for your operating system from

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Connecting to a VNC Session

For VM images that are installed with VNC, the VNC viewer is automatically launched when the instance is created.

  1. Launch the VNC Viewer application.
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  2. Enter the IP address of your server, usually called Server:1 (unless you have modified settings in your VM in which case, it might be Server:2 or Server:3) and click Connect. You will be prompted to enter your password; type your password and click OK.
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Sharing a VNC Session


When you grant access to another person via VNC, the two of you will share the same log in and the same user session. All of your user account privileges will be shared. You will each have the ability to control what is done in the session and you will each be able to watch the other doing things in the session. Only give access to trusted people.

  1. Single click on the VNC icon (VNC Server) on the upper right hand corner of the VNC Viewer window.

    If the VNC icon has disappeared for some reason, you can also go to Applications menu (in upper left of desktop), select the Internet menu, and click on the "VNC Server" menu item.

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  2. Click on the Options button in the pop-up window.
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  3. Choose the Allow VNC Viewers to connect to VNC Server option; this will enable the Configure button. Click on the Configure button.
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  4. Click the Add User button. Optional: Click Full Access if you want to grant other user(s) the ability to control the screen.
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  5. Enter the iPlant user name of the User to whom you want to grant access. Click OK.
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  6. Click the Apply button in the Options window.
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