ED 290: Chrome Desktop on a Cloud Linux Server (10 pts extra)

What You Need


To get a graphical desktop on a headless Linux cloud server so you can use graphical apps like Wireshark and Firefox.

Installing Chrome Remote Desktop on the VM instance

On your Google Cloud Linux server, in an SSH window, execute these commands:
sudo apt update
sudo apt install wget -y
wget https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/chrome-remote-desktop_current_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg --install chrome-remote-desktop_current_amd64.deb
sudo apt install --assume-yes --fix-broken

Installing the Xfce Desktop Environment

On your Google Cloud Linux server, in an SSH window, execute these commands:
sudo DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive apt install --assume-yes xfce4 desktop-base
sudo bash -c 'echo "exec /etc/X11/Xsession /usr/bin/xfce4-session" > /etc/chrome-remote-desktop-session'
sudo apt install --assume-yes xscreensaver
sudo systemctl disable lightdm.service

Installing Firefox

On your Google Cloud Linux server, in an SSH window, execute this command:
sudo apt install firefox-esr -y

Configuring an Authorization Key

On your local computer, in Chrome, go to: https://remotedesktop.google.com/headless

If you're not already signed in, sign in with a Google Account. This is the account that will be used for authorizing remote access.

On the Set up another computer page, click Begin.

On the Download and install Chrome Remote Desktop page, click Next.

Click Authorize.

A new window pops up. Click your Gmail address.

Click Allow.

A "Set up another computer" page appears, with commands to execute for Windows and Linux, as shown below.

Copy the Linux command and execute it on your Linux cloud server.

You'll be prompted to enter a computer name and a PIN, as shown below.

Connecting to the VM instance

On your local computer, in Chrome, go to


At the top right, click "REMOTE ACCESS", as shown below.

Click your computer name.

Enter your PIN.

You see a Linux desktop, as shown below.

In the Panel box, click "Use default config".

Opening Firefox

On your Linux desktop, right-click and click Applications, Internet, "Firefox ESR", as shown below.

Flag ED 290.1: User-Agent (10 pts extra)

In Firefox, go to


The flag appears, covered by a green rectangle in the image below.


Setting up Chrome Remote Desktop on Compute Engine

Posted 11-21-19
adduse command corrected 11-23-19
Snap replaced by firefox-esr 1-30-2020
Updated and simplified 6-13-2020