Linux Remote Desktop Rdesktop Command Tutorial with Examples

I need some time to connect the windows systems. I have used Remmina which is capable of VNC, SSH, RDP, etc. But all just need RDP. Remmina is a very talented application but I do not need so much talent. I just need RDP and I want to use my screen very efficiently. Remmina shows menus I don’t use and get space from my screen. I decided to used rdesktop which have a lot of option about RDP protocol. But it does not have extra protocols like VNC,  SSH, etc. But it does not need them for rdesktop I have other practical solutions for them. Now speaking is enough for now, let’s go to the usage of rdesktop.

Install Rdesktop

Install For Ubuntu, Debian, Mint, and Kali

$ sudo apt install rdesktop
Install Rdesktop
Install Rdesktop

Install For Fedora, CentOS, and RedHat

$ sudo yum install rdesktop


$ sudodnf install rdesktop

Rdesktop Syntax

The syntax of the rdesktop is like below.

  • `OPTIONS` are provided to set the configuration of the remote desktop.
  • `SERVER` is the remote RDP server IP address or hostname with the port number if it is different from default RDP port.

Rdesktop Help Information

Help information about the rdesktop can be displayed without providing any option to the rdesktop command like below.

$ rdesktop
Rdesktop Help Information
Rdesktop Help Information

Connect RDP Server Specifying Username

We will start with a simple example where we will provide the username for the RDP connection. We do not provide any password or option. Of course, we have to provide the RDP server IP address or hostname too.

$ rdesktop -u ismail

Connect Remote Desktop with Password

We will start with a simple and basic example. We will provide the remote system IP address and password. Password will be provided with the -p option.

$ rdesktop -p myPass123.,)

Set bit depth: with -a which supports 16,24,32

The connection to the remote system will show us the remote console. This console will have some image quality which can be set during connection with the -a parameter. We can specify different quality where 16 is faster but show less quality. Other levels are 24 and 32 where 32 is the highest quality.

$ rdesktop -a 16

Disable Encryption

By default, the remote connection is encrypted for security reasons. We can disable encryption if we do not require it. We will use -E option to disable transmission encryption.

$ rdesktop -E

Cache Connection For Speed and Efficiency

During connection, some parts of the console graphics are cached for performance reasons. We can enable this cache with the -P option which will make our remote desktop usage faster and responsive.

$ rdesktop -P

Compress Transmission

During data transmission, we can enable compression which will save network usage a little bit.

$ rdesktop -z

Set Screen Resolution

The remote desktop connection will have some screen resolution where we can also set it during the initial connection. We can use the -g option where we can provide local resolution with a percentage like %100 which means full screen. Or we can provide a pixel count resolution like 1200x800

$ rdesktop -g 100%

Set Keyboardmap or Input Language

The remote desktop connection will redirect our keystrokes to the remote desktop. Remote system default keyboard map may different than ours. We can explicitly specify the keymap we want to use during connection with the -k option. In this example, we will use tr keyboard which is Turkish.

$ rdesktop -k tr 192.168.10

Set Window Caption Test

The remote desktop connection windows will generally have some name that describes the connection. We can set window caption with the -T option and providing some test which is win8in this case.

$ rdesktop -T win8 192.168.10

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