I'm using vnc viewer for my pi 4 and it says 'cannot currently show desktop', because, from what I assume, is the fact that if it doesn't have an HDMI connection when it boots, it won't show the desktop. Is there a way to make it show the desktop on boot whether or not there's an HDMI cable? Thanks in advance!

  • 3
    You shouldn't have to have an HDMI cable connected. What are your hdmi settings in /boot/config.txt ?
    – John S
    Aug 12, 2020 at 23:53
  • 2
    and if you connect an HDMI cable the issue doesn't present itself?
    Aug 13, 2020 at 12:54

1 Answer 1


You should be able to use VNC without a display. Make sure you've followed all the steps properly. If it still doesn't work try changing the resolution of your screen to 1280 x 720 or 1920 x 1080 by typing sudo raspi-config in the terminal.

  • Thanks, that was very helpful. For some reason the default resolution would show the desktop!
    – user123730
    Aug 22, 2020 at 16:18

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