VNC connection remote desktop error: cannot currently show the desktop, I have enabled VNC and boot desktop automatic login option when booting, but still can't connect to the desktop, what other options do I need to set?

Attached: SSH everything is normal

error message

4 Answers 4


Yes, in addition to the above two operations must also set the resolution, the specific location in Advanced Options > Resolution, select the appropriate resolution.

  1. first step
  2. Second step
  3. third step
  • This is not working for me. :( Dec 24, 2019 at 23:33
  • not working for me, raspbian lite version Mar 18, 2020 at 22:38

I installed on the smart card the Debian VERSION="10 (buster)". There is no Display connected to the Raspberry. I'm connected it only through it's Ethernet (UTP-cable), and the wifi module is disabled. I edited as sudo the /boot/config.txt file to disabble the wifi loading on boot.

# wifi off / dissable
# change on 10-08-2019

I gave a try to connect on it with VNC from another Rpi, and I got the same Message:
Cannot currently show the desktop

I logged through ssh on that computer and started the desktop:

ssh user@ipadress
# where the user is
echo $USER
# where the ipadress is
ip a | grep -o "[1-9].*/24" | sed 's/\/.*//g'

after I logged in into that remote computer

sudo startx

And it worked!

The remote desktop voila!

  • 2
    Most of this is irrelevant! Obviously, if you don't have a desktop, VNC can't display it.
    – Milliways
    Jan 19, 2020 at 23:02

Disable the GL Experimental Desktop - I also then set the screen resolution in raspi-config. I tried everything else and this was the only thing that worked for me.

  • This worked for me also - without disabling the GL desktop it was stuck in a low-res 4:3 mode Oct 27, 2020 at 15:40

Your pi seems not running a graphical desktop. Since remote access with SSH is working, an alternative solution is to create a virtual desktop using the VNC Server and connect to it afterwards.

The raspberrypi.org provides a doc for such connection: with SSH, run vncserver and make note of the IP address/display number. Then you can use it for the VNC connection.

With my headless pi as an example:enter image description here

The IP address/display number for the VNC connection is in the Connectivity section. BTW I hide the Security information.

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