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As an alternative to the Web UI, a regular VNC client can be used to access to the PiKVM. The main advantage of VNC over the browser is the ability to expand the image to the full screen, as well as complete interception of all keyboard shortcuts. In some cases, VNC will be more responsive than the browser, especially on weak client computers.


Don't use VNC without X.509 or TLS encryption on untrusted networks! Otherwise your password will be transmitted over the network in plain text. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the VNC protocol.


The performance of VNC on PiKVM does not make sense to compare with regular VNC servers or a similar remote access tool at the OS level. PiKVM will run a little slower due to the fact that access is done at the hardware level.

A typical video processing chain looks like this:

  • Regular VNC/RDP/TeamViewer/Etc: OS -> Remote access server -> Network -> Client.
  • PiKVM: OS -> Video card -> PiKVM video capture -> PiKVM server -> Network -> Client.

Enabling VNC on the PiKVM side

  1. The recommended client is TigerVNC.

  2. Switch the PiKVM filesystem to read-write mode using command rw.

  3. Optional for non-TigerVNC clients: Change the keybobard layout for non-US keyboard

    This step is nessessory if you're using a client that does not support the direct keyboard access.

    In this case you can force the client layout in /etc/kvmd/override.yaml:

        keymap: /usr/share/kvmd/keymaps/ru

    All available keymaps are located in /usr/share/kvmd/keymaps:

  4. Optional for non-TigerVNC and NOT RECOMMENDED: Enable VNCAuth method

    This step is nessessory if you're using a client that does not support the user/password auth method like TightVNC (don't confuse it with TigerVNC).

    In this case you can enable VNCAuth passphrases mode in /etc/kvmd/override.yaml:

                enabled: true

    To set passphrases edit the file /etc/kvmd/vncpasswd.

    But once again: THIS IS AN UNSAFE AUTHORIZATION METHOD and it is better to use TigerVNC.

  5. Enable kvmd-vnc daemon. VNC will be available on the port 5900: systemctl enable --now kvmd-vnc.

  6. Switch filesystem back to read-only: ro.


With enabled 2FA, you will need to append the one-time code to the password without spaces. That is, if the password is foobar and the code is 123456, then the string foobar123456 should be used as a password.

Also note that vncauth (step 3) will not work with 2FA.

Configuring the client

We recommend TigerVNC for a better experience on a desktop.

If you're using PiKVM V3+ or DIY based on CSI bridge, you can try the latest version (>= 1.13.0) of TigerVNC with H.264 support. It will improve performance and save traffic.

H.264 video mode is available in binary builds for Windows, for other OS it needs to be compiled manually (ffmpeg libraries required to build).

Here are our recommended settings for TigerVNC:

Compression tab Security tab
If your client does not support H.264, choose Tight

For iOS and Android the recommended application is bVNC:

Unsupported clients

  • RealVNC - Does not support most widely used open VNC protocol extensions.
  • Remmina - Slightly imperfect algorithms for matching settings with the server, we are working on it.
  • Guacamole - Incorrectly implements vencrypt, no JPEG compression.
  • Vinagre - Incorrectly implements vencrypt, dead.