How to diagnose xrdp blank or black screen?

  • Dale E. Moore

    Dale E. Moore - 2011-12-13

    I've got 3 different Ubuntu machines I'd like to rdp into. Each of them appear to be setup correctly except that when I initiate an rdp session I get a blank or black screen. On each server there is ssh task activity, but; no matter how long I wait there's never any display.

    I apt-get install xrdp and apt-get install tightvncserver. (I install tightvncserver because some here report that fixed their blank screen problem.) But tightvncserver installation did nothing to help.

    Neither /var/log/xrdp-sesman.log nor /var/log/sesman.log show any activity.

    /etc/xrdp/sesman.ini include


    How do you diagnose xrdp and determine what piece is broken?

  • LawrenceK

    LawrenceK - 2011-12-14

    i) We have had issues with the bit depth of the client, try setting the rdp client to 16 bits before connecting.

    ii) try running xrdp manually
    i.e. sudo /etc/init.d/xrdp stop
    sudo xrdp
    you may need to enter a path for xrdp, cannot remember where installed by Ubuntu I suspect /sbin

  • Dale E. Moore

    Dale E. Moore - 2011-12-22

    Thanks Lawrence!

    256, 15-bit, 16-bit and 24-bit all go to black screen.

    root@Crackers:~# /etc/init.d/xrdp stop
    * Stopping RDP Session manager
    root@Crackers:~# which xrdp
    root@Crackers:~# xrdp
    root@Crackers:~# cat /etc/lsb-release
    DISTRIB_DESCRIPTION="Ubuntu 11.10"
    still goes to black screen.

    top shows nothing happening.

    root@Crackers:/var/log# ll -tr

    -rw----- 1 root              root    4852 2011-12-21 22:43 xrdp-sesman.log
    -rw-r--- 1 syslog            adm    22890 2011-12-21 22:45 syslog
    -rw-r--- 1 syslog            adm   750662 2011-12-21 22:50 auth.log

    auth.log shows the ssh login and exit.
    syslog shows nothing recognizable

    root@Crackers:/var/log# tail xrdp-sesman.log

      shutting down sesman 1

    Is there any way I can get more detail out of what's hanging and why? Can I expand the verbosity of the logging? Can I look in other log files?

    I appreciate your help,

  • Dale E. Moore

    Dale E. Moore - 2012-01-06

    Does anyone have any suggestions about how to diagnose this problem?

  • david marron

    david marron - 2012-02-23

    I didn't write this, but changed it a bit-it worked for me

    at first boot, login as root
    aptitude install tightvncserver
    aptitude install xrdp
    reboot computer
    aptitude install xorg
    aptitude install nano
    reboot computer

    attempt remote login to desktop using the Windoze Remote Desktop & the remote computer's ip address (not the computer name)
    script for finding your ip address: ifconfig
    If you cannot login remotely at this point, then login locally.
    Again try the Remote Desktop. If you cannot get in remotely at this point-

    You might try editing the following:

    Editing of xrdp.ini (optional)

    sudo nano /etc/xrdp/xrdp.ini

    Edit xrdp.ini to read:



    Reboot & try remote login again. If you still cannot login remotely, then do this:
    Create a new user on the machine. Make this user "auto login" so that the machine boots directly to his Desktop. Change his desktop settings so that he goes to screensaver in one minute.

    Reboot the machine.
    You should now be able to use another computer to access your desktop on this machine. If not, I do not know what is wrong.

    To setup for a headless operation:
    Create the xorg.conf in /etc/X11

    Create the xorg.conf file by in this manner:
    In Root Terminal
    sudo nano /etc/X11/Xwrapper.config
    Use "File/ Save As" and name the new file xorg.conf
    Delete all that is inside the new xorg.conf file.
    Copy & pasted the following into the empty xorg.conf file:

    Section "Device"
    Identifier "VNC Device"
    Driver "vesa"

    Section "Screen"
    Identifier "VNC Screen"
    Device "VNC Device"
    Monitor "VNC Monitor"
    SubSection "Display"
    Modes "1024x768"

    Section "Monitor"
    Identifier "VNC Monitor"
    HorizSync 30-70
    VertRefresh 50-75

    Save & Close.

    Ready to Reboot Headless & without a monitor!

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous - 2012-05-29

    I had the same issue. For me it was because I was passing in the domain to logon to. Removing that fixed the issue!

  • hank roberts

    hank roberts - 2012-09-28

    >  it was because I was passing in the domain

    Thank you Josh, removing the Domain fixed the black screen for me also

  • Florian Wagner

    Florian Wagner - 2013-04-30

    Hey Josh,

    can you specify what you removed from which file?

    Thanks a lot!

  • Jackson

    Jackson - 2013-12-05


    Saving the domain in the form of "mydomain\username" in your client login details causes the black screen.
    If I don't save the domain portion and type it in to the username field manually, it works fine.

    My linux machines authenticate against our AD server, therefore I am required to enter the domain in the username field.

    Does anyone know a way of saving the credentials with the domain, without causing the black screen?



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