I would like to share a Mac mini (currently running Mac OS X Server 10.6.8) allowing coworkers running Windows XP on their boxes to perform a remote login using their username/password. They should each get a session of their own in which they can use MacOS without interfering with other users.

As far as I know the usual remote desktop sharing mechanisms like VNC only share the desktop of the user that is currently logged in.

Is that scenario possible?

Thanks for your help!

2 Answers 2


With Lion this is possible, but I think there is a limit of 2 sessions, and you don't need to be running the server tools. When you screen share a Mac that has it enabled, you can choose to either just take over the screen as per the scenario you are used to, or move to the "virtual display", where you can log in as a 2nd user.

Many (particularly PC/Windows) VNC clients are getting tripped up by this new behaviour and do not connect at at all at present, so you might need to careful with your choice of client.

Edit: I think the 2 session limit is to provide the ability to allow an administrator to login on the 2nd session to work without interupting the normal user, I would test whether more than 2 sessions are available, but I can only get it to work from a Mac client using screen share via the finder rather than a specific VNC client app, and I only have 2 Macs...

  • 1
    I should add, that the purpose to allowing this isn't to let people use a cheap PC laptop as a dumb terminal to share out sessions, and there are no quota systems in place to prevent a user from taking up excessive CPU or memory etc.
    – stuffe
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 16:57

As far as I know, this isn't currently possible. It sounds like you're after a 'Citrix-like' solution for OSX - which doesn't exist.

You could do this with SSH, and remote X11 sessions for command line apps and X11 applications respectively. But no full terminal-server client style experience.

You may want to look into virtualisation solutions.

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