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This bug tracker and wiki are being discontinued
please use https://github.com/Xpra-org/xpra instead.

We have moved

This page has been moved to https://github.com/Xpra-org/xpra/blob/master/docs/Usage/Shadow-Server.md

Archived copy:


Shadow Server


This feature refers to the ability of using an existing display server (an existing session, usually connected to a real physical display) and use xpra to access it remotely.

It is supported on all platforms including MS Windows and Mac OS X, but it is not optimized on all platforms and will cause high CPU load on both the server and the client in some cases.

SSH Usage Example

If you have SSH access to the machine whose X11 display you wish to access remotely, simply run from your client:

xpra shadow ssh://HOST:DISPLAY/

This will connect over SSH, start and xpra shadow server and connect to it. The shadow server will be stopped once you disconnect.

The xpra shadow server will be accessible like any other xpra server through its unix domain socket (ie: xpra info ssh:HOST:DISPLAY), and it will show a system tray menu whilst active, and a different icon when a client is connected:
example of the shadow tray menu shown on win32

All Platforms

If remote start is not supported as above (as is the case on MS Windows and Mac OS X), or simply if you want to start the shadow server manually (and potentially configure more options).

To expose your existing main display session (usually found at :0 on *nix) using a TCP server on port 10000:

xpra shadow :0 --bind-tcp=


  • this does not cover wiki/Authentication or wiki/Encryption
  • MS Windows and Mac OS X do not have X11 display names (:0 in the example above), you can simply omit the display argument.

Relevant Tickets

  • #899 generic shadow improvements
  • #389 ms windows shadow server improvements
  • #558 nvenc support for shadowing on win32
  • #390 damage events for the posix shadow server
  • #391 osx shadow server improvements: mdns, keyboard support, etc
  • #530 allow client side shadow windows to be resized
  • #972 fullscreen mode in xpra client
  • #1099 Keyboard Layout issue with Windows Shadow Server
  • #1150 named pipes for win32
  • #1321 scrolling with the osx shadow server
  • #1322 resize osx shadow screen
Last modified 17 months ago Last modified on 02/06/21 13:51:42

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