Accessing the Pi GUI using SSH and X11 forwarding


A Raspberry Pi desktop running in a window

I am building a Pi based robot, the Pi will sit in the robot and I have been looking at various ways to interact with the Pi whilst it is attached to the robot.  In simple terms the goal is to have the Raspberry Pi desktop displaying in a window on my PC or laptop and use the keyboard and mouse I already have to access the Pi as shown in the image above.  In the image you can see I have made the Pi desktop display in a tall window which is useful for coding.

Usually I avoid carrying around a monitor, keyboard and mouse when I visit the makerspace with my Pi. Even though we have a few spare monitors it has always seemed easier to access the Pi using my laptop using a combination of SSH and VNC.  This process is well described here.


It works fine but VNC requires the VNC server to be installed and running before you can connect to it using the VNC viewer. When connecting in via WiFi I have found VNC to be a little slow and laggy to use, especially when  you are running a larger resolution desktop.

An alternative that I have been using is X11 forwarding.  The key advantages are a faster response and no need to install and run any additional software on the Pi.


The instructions I followed to get this working are here.

The parameters mentioned to reduce the desktop size didn’t work for me, these are the parameters I use:

“C:\Program Files (x86)\Xming\Xming.exe” :0 -clipboard -screen 0 1024×1600+100+100@1

These give a large 1024 x 1600 pixel desktop for the Pi which is ideal for programming, alter these numbers to suit your monitor size.






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