So I've installed Raspbian (from the image file found on the website) onto an SD Card and plugged this into my Raspberry Pi --- it works. I used my TV to display the output and everything worked fine.

Now I'm trying to use my laptop screen/keyboard/touchpad with the Raspberry Pi, and came across this: http://pihw.wordpress.com/guides/direct-network-connection/.

I've followed the instructions, and I've added ip= (both my IPv4 and IPv6 settings are set to Automatically Obtain an IP Address) to the end of my boot/cmdline.txt. After adding this, I tried again with my TV and everything went smoothly. I saw it wait the 120 seconds (because it could not find the network, which was expected), and so it recognized my addition.

However, when I plug the Pi into my laptop with a standard network cable and start the Pi up, nothing happens. It turns on and the appropriate lights turn on, but it does not display on my laptop.

I think I am missing something on actually displaying the Pi on my laptop, so how do I do this? Thanks in advance :).

4 Answers 4


You will need some form of desktop screen sharing software installed on both your PI and your desktop.

Your options include:

X Windows

X Windows is the default graphical environment in Linux. It supports network-y stuff by default but the set up is a little involved. Basically The PI already has an X server on it, so you will require a client on your PC (if Linux then you most likely have one, if Windows then Cygwin). The process is described nicely in this tutorial.


This is screen sharing software that runs on top of X. It is a little easier to work with and involves installing an VNC server for X on the PI and a small client side application on your desktop. The process is described in this tutorial.

Remote Desktop (RDP)

RDP is the default used by Windows. You likely have the client installed in your laptop (assuming Microsoft Windows). If you are using Windows on the laptop this is likely the simplest to get working. On your laptop you want to start Remote Desktop Connection and on the PI simply execute:

sudo apt-get install xrdp

And it is all described in this tutorial.

The tutorial you linked too using X Windows solution. If you are using a windows based laptop I'd use XRDP.

What step of the process did you get stuck on? Can you SSH to the PI from windows?


The article you referenced fails to mention the need to allocate a static IP to the laptop (as mentioned by @kimmax).

It also claims some (undefined) benefit for direct connection. There is NO advantage in direct connection. You can achieve the same by connecting both laptop and Pi to a router, and then both will also have internet access.


I'm using the same configuration as you do. I had to setup my Ethernet Ipv4 address to match the one of my Pi (See here for tutorial).

After this try to ping your Pi or try to directly connect via SSH. You need to install some sort of desktop sharing application on your Pi. I'm using as @mlk suggest the xrdp package, because the client is install on almost all windows machines. When you're done (Link to the tutorial again here) you can simply connect to your Pi by starting the RDP client on your computer (Just type "remote" in the windows search and the RDP Client should appear) and type in the IP of the Pi ( in your case) in the address field and press connect

. Now you should see the desktop of the Pi and you're done (You may need to login while connecting)


From a terminal on a Linux machine, you can simply use ssh command to tunnel the X Window GUI from the RPi to the laptop.

[you@laptop] ~$ ssh -X pi@

pi@'s password:

[pi@] ~$ startx

I haven't tested this exact method on my Rpi but I will get back you tonight with the result, unless you beat me to it.

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