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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 user's local machine.

There are many free VNC clients, or viewers, some of which are mentioned in the next section.

This page contains:

Download and Install the VNC Viewer

You either can install the VNC Viewer for your operating system, install the appropriate Enterprise Edition VNC Viewer for your operation system, or use the built-in Java VNC Viewer.

  • To download the VNC Viewer for your operating system:
    1. Go to the download link for your operating system.

      Operating System

      Download link


      If in doubt, download the 32-bit version

      Mac OSX




      iOS (iPad, iPhone, etc.)


      Android (phone or tablet)


    2. Install the Viewer.
  • To install the Enterprise Edition VNC Viewer:
    1. Go to
    2. Download the appropriate Enterprise Edition VNC Viewer for your operating system.
      (click to enlarge):
    3. Install the Viewer.
  • To use the built-in Java VNC Viewer:
    1. In a web browser, open the URL http://A.B.C.D:5801 for your instance (received in the email that your instance is running), where A.B.C.D is the IP address of your instance.
      Example: In, the assigned IP address is

Connect to a VNC Session

You can connect individually to a VNC session or share a session with another user. For VM images that are installed with VNC, the VNC viewer is automatically launched when the instance is created.

Connecting (individual session)

  1. Launch the VNC Viewer application.
    (click to enlarge):
  2. Enter the IP address of your server, usually called Server:1. (Note: If you modified settings in your VM, the server name may be Server:2 or Server:3.)
  3. Click Connect.
  4. Enter your password and click OK.
    (click to enlarge):

Sharing a VNC Session


Sharing a VNC session grants access to another person via VNC. Only give access to trusted people.
When you grant access to another person via VNC, the two of you not only share the same user session and login, but all of your user account privileges are shared as well. Although you each can control what is done in the session, each person in the shared session sees the actions performed by the others who are sharing the same session.

  1. Click 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.

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