Remotely controlling Mac OS X using VNC

This content is 18 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

I frequently control my Windows computers remotely from other Windows, Linux or Mac OS X computers using a remote desktop protocol (RDP) client; however there is no RDP server built into Mac OS X (not surprisingly, as RDP is a Microsoft protocol) and Apple’s remote control product (Apple Remote Desktop) is a little pricey for a network with only one Mac!

All is not lost though, as I’ve found that I can use VNC Viewer (Free Edition 4.1.1 for X) on my Linux (Fedora core 5) box to remotely control my Mac (OS X 10.4.8) – I could probably use a Windows VNC client too but I haven’t tried yet.

All that is required on the Mac side is to enable Apple Remote Desktop in the System Preferences (Sharing, Access Privileges, VNC viewers may control screen with password) and to set an appropriate password but, initially, I was having problems whereby the VNC Viewer refused to connect and returned the following error:

Unknown message type

It seems that the solution is to set the colour level connection option to use full colour (all available colours) – once this was set I was able to connect to the Mac and control it remotely.

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