Utilizing these instructions for tightvncserver for Jessie Lite. I have a tightvncserver running on startup using this as my ~/.vnc/xstartup file:


xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
xsetroot -solid grey -cursor_name left_ptr
x-terminal-emulator -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" &
x-window-manager &
# Fix to make GNOME work
lxterminal &
/usr/bin/lxsession -s LXDE &

When I check

netstat -lnt

I get

tcp        0      0  *               LISTEN

Is this correct? Because when I run

open vnc://

or using VncViewer, I get a grey box with this

Xsession: unable to start X session --- no "/home/pi/.xsession" file, no "/home/pi/.Xsession" file, no session managers, no window managers, and no terminal emulators found; aborting.

Obviously I'm missing the .xsession file. So I create it but can't seem to find what belongs in the file anywhere. Can someone help me with the details I'm missing?

  • Did you run manually (as user pi) BEFORE trying autostart? As per your earlier post your problems may be due to trying to run as root
    – Milliways
    Jan 12, 2016 at 22:12
  • Unfortunately I have tried so many ways so it's quite possible. This has been way more difficult than I thought it was going to be. Do you have an session file @Milliways?
    – Architek1
    Jan 13, 2016 at 4:21
  • The content of my ~/.vnc/xstartup is #!/bin/sh xrdb $HOME/.Xresources xsetroot -solid grey -cursor_name left_ptr #x-terminal-emulator -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" & #x-window-manager & # Fix to make GNOME work export XKL_XMODMAP_DISABLE=1 /etc/X11/Xsession
    – Milliways
    Jan 13, 2016 at 6:51
  • I don't claim to understand all of the config file, but it looks to me like yours contains artefacts of your earlier attempts. Note I have been using tightvncserver for 2 years, with only a minor change in Jessie (due to changed cursor). For most of this time I never bothered with the startup script. I just sshed into the Pi and ran tightvncserver. The systemd script works reliably on my system.
    – Milliways
    Jan 13, 2016 at 7:05

4 Answers 4


The problem is you running Jessie-Lite. it similar to Jessie(full) but without a window manager, X-server and its components. Those are mandatory for VNC to run :)

Believe me, try same VNC setup on Jessie(full) and it will work nicely :)

  • 1
    You can easily install a window manager, X server, etc., on jessie-lite. It uses the exact same repos as the "full" version, it just starts out lighter. This is my preferred method for setting up a GUI, but if you just want the standard default desktop then you might as well start with the full version. If you don't have previous linux experience, that is the way to go.
    – goldilocks
    Jun 20, 2016 at 11:40

Man this seems more complicated than necessary. I followed these instructions from the Raspberry Pi foundation's website and have no problems. I can hit all of my RPi2B's (Jessie Lite) with TightVNC viewer on Windows.

  • I have no doubt that it's working I was informed per this previous post raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/40894/… the ~/etc/init.d/tightvncserver was no longer the way to do it starting with Jessie. I was pointed to the link above.
    – Architek1
    Jan 13, 2016 at 4:14
  • That script is quite old, and is a SysV script. In Jessie systemd should start legacy init.d services, but others have experienced problems with this. The systemd service referred to is more complex than it needs to be (because it does more - allowing multiple sessions) but is a pretty straightforward systemd script and is actually simpler than init.d scripts.
    – Milliways
    Jan 13, 2016 at 7:04

Missing X environment components and install all of them:

sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-core xserver-xorg-input-all \
xserver-xorg-video-fbdev libx11-6 x11-common \
x11-utils x11-xkb-utils x11-xserver-utils xterm lightdm openbox

Jessielite does not support tightvncserver.


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