I’m trying to figure out a way to run a raspberry pi as a very basic desktop using linux, but with the ability to “run” a program stored on a Windows 10 Pro-N “server” in the house. Basically (and using this as an example), I want to run the Microsoft Office Suite on/from the Windows 10 machine but see it on the Pi, so the W10 machine does all the work, the processing, etc, and the Pi is ALMOST like a thin client.....but I want the pi to function otherwise ( like using chromium) without the W10 machine being on. The only purpose of the W10 machine is to run a select few Windows programs.

*I do not want to remote into the W10 Machine as one would with a program like teamviewer.

**Citrix XenApp allows you to "publish applications that users can remotely connect to" which is, I guess, what I want to do, but without the cost of a Citrix subscription because this is for home use.

Edit: I want Application Virtualization! That's the word! Ideas?


  • 1
    rdesktop? ... – Arkadiusz Drabczyk Mar 14 at 23:53
  • 2
    This question should NOT have been migrated to raspberrypi.stackexchange - it is mostly about Windows – Milliways Mar 15 at 0:24
  • I don't want to remote desktop into the Windows machine, I want the windows machine to run the program and handle the processing, but I want the Pi to show me the application itself...I'm blanking on it but when a server runs something like AutoCad or BlackMagic's video editing but you're using a client to view the program's GUI. – sassriverrat Mar 15 at 2:47

Just to be clear you can't run Windows programs on the Pi.

You can use a program like VNC to let the Pi act as display/keyboard for the Windows machine.

Raspbian includes RealVNC although you would have to install the realvnc-vnc-viewer on the Pi (it is not installed by default AFAIK).

You would need to install VNC Server on the Windows machine. There may be other remote desktop software on Windows (but you should ask on a site which supports Windows).

NOTE rdesktop and similar are INCOMPATIBLE with RealVNC.

You can see available protocols with apt-cache search rdp - again the Windows side support is off-topic.

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  • So I don't think I was as clear as I had hoped. I don't really want to remote desktop into the Windows machine. Ideally, I'd like to remotely run a program on the Windows machine, if that makes sense. Effectively, clicking the shortcut within the Raspberry Pi's linux OS starts the program on the Windows machine (which handles the processing and such of it) but is used on the Pi.... – sassriverrat Mar 15 at 2:45
  • Your comment is unclear - you can use Remote Desktop (VNC) or ssh to run programs – Milliways Mar 15 at 2:58
  • hmmm. I thought remote desktop would act the same as, say, teamviewer...? Or I can I do it for just programs and not the whole desktop? – sassriverrat Mar 15 at 3:05
  • DO NOT add detail in Comments - edit your question. This seems to have little to do with the Pi – Milliways Mar 15 at 3:29
  • Question edited- but that really doesn't answer the question above, does it? – sassriverrat Mar 15 at 3:34

Here are some thoughts about what is possible in conjunction with your idea. You want to run a program on a remote device and show its output on the RasPi and also accept its input (keyboard, mouse) also on the RasPi. Because the program is running on the remote device it can only use its resources: managing input/output (except the human interface), memory, storage, interfaces etc. It is not possible to run the program on the remote machine but use the resources on the RasPi (you always have to redirect it from remote to RasPi).

So in general you only redirect the human interface, e.g. text console, graphical (windowed) output, keyboard and mouse input. There are several programs that can do it and most of them are used as remote connections. For a text console you can use ssh, for a graphical interface you can use VNC, rdesktop and TeamViewer. But as you wrote you do not want to use a remote desktop. Then on a Linux system you can use the X Window system. It splits the execution and human interface into a X Window Server and a X Window Client with a well defined API/connection between them so it doesn't matter where the X Window Client is running. Usually both are running on the same machine so that it feels like a normal windowed desktop. But it is no problem to run the X Window Client on another machine and have the connection to the X Window Server over the network. So the windows of the remote running application are shown on the RasPi. And that is not the whole remote desktop, only the windows from the application are shown on the desktop of the RasPi.

The problem is that Microsoft Windows does not support a X Window Server. Maybe there are third party projects that have this made available?

Update: Thanks to @MichaelHarvey. As pointed in his comment there is at least one project at Windows X-server based on the xorg git sources.

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  • "Windows X-server based on the xorg git sources" - sourceforge.net/projects/vcxsrv – Michael Harvey Mar 15 at 14:34
  • @MichaelHarvey I was quite sure that there are third party projects. Thanks for the pointer :-) I will add it to the answer. – Ingo Mar 15 at 14:38
  • Excellent. This sounds to be exactly what I’m looking for. I’ll hit the link and go see! Glad someone understood my garbled intentions. – sassriverrat Mar 15 at 15:07
  • I guess my main fear of Remote Desktop with the Pi is just speed across the network and not being sure how much it would pull the windows machine down. – sassriverrat Mar 16 at 2:52

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