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Definition: VNC is a technology for remote desktop sharing. VNC enables the desktop display of one computer to be remotely viewed and controlled over a network connection. This technology is useful on home computers, allowing someone to access their desktops from another part of the house or while traveling. It is also useful for network administrators in business environments.

VNC was created as an open source research project in the late 1990s. Since that time, several mainstream remote desktop solutions have been created based on VNC. The original development team produces the RealVNC package (see sidebar). Other popular derivatives include UltraVNC and TightVNC.

VNC works similarly to the Remote Desktop appplication built into newer versions of Microsoft Windows. Unlike Windows Remote Desktop, VNC runs on older Windows computers, Linux/Unix and other non-Windows operating systems. VNC applications, however, are generally regarded as slower and offering fewer features and security options than Windows Remote Desktop.

Also Known As: Virtual Network Computing
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