How to hide the RealVNC Tray Icon.

10 08 2008
RealVNC No Tray Icon

RealVNC No Tray Icon

RealVNC has become popular not only for its appealing user interface, but also because of its faultless, swift and fast connection between the host and the client. There are notable contenders boasting the same powerful features and some of such software are UltraVNC, TightVNC, TridiaVNC, just to name a few. However, in my humble opinion, RealVNC seems to be most popular. I am still perplexed and confused how people tend to think that paid software is best. RealVNC is not free (at least, the Enterprise version), while the other software stated above are.

I would appreciate if you could post, as a comment below, why you prefer RealVNC to other free software.

I remained loyal to RealVNC because it was the first Virtual Network Computing tool I tried. I got so used to its interface that using another brand would be like starting to left-hand drive when you are used to right-hand driving. Nevertheless, the major reason unlies the interface. RealVNC has basic and advanced interfaces which greatly boost your speed at handling commands. Meddle with the software a little, and you will realise how swift you can be at switching into view mode (no inputs) to ‘admin mode’ (with full inputs).

Now, coming to the crux of this article, how do you hide the tray icon. I understand that all the people viewing this piece of text use RealVNC to monitor other people. Lets be realist. If it were for you own purpose, a tray icon would not bother you at all, just like the time and the audio icon do not.

RealVNC 3 has a parameter, from the registry, that could hide its trayicon. This feature was discontinued in RealVNC 4 because the developers realised that people purchased (?) their software for ulterior motives other than remote support. I personally consider RealVNC the most stable vnc tool, which can be easily deployed, twisted and modified to be stealth, except for one stumble block – the mouse flickering.

This is a nuisance – and the RealVNC developers say that they introduced the mouse flickering to notify people that their computers were being monitored. I haven’t yet delved into that problem, but I believe there is a way to prevent the mouse from flickering by changing some offset bytes in the binary file. Definitely, there are many ways and I would leave that hack for the diligent people who have a lot of time to reverse engineer this software. I could,  but I don’t have much time to do all this.

I have provided a modified RealVNC Enterprise 4.4.2 server executable that you will need to overwrite in your RealVNC setup folder.

Link: http://rapidshare.com/files/136219294/realvnc_4.4.2_No_trayicon.rar

The archive contains the winvnc4.exe server file and the standalone realvnc viewer, which is useful to carry around without having to perform a setup.

Step1:

Shut down RealVNC completely by right-clicking on the trayicon and choosing Stop server. Then ensure winvnc4.exe is not running from the task manager (alt-ctrl-delete).

Step 2:

Overwrite the original executable with mine.

Step3:

Issue start>run> services.msc

This will load all the services running on your computer. Scroll down to ‘VNC Server Version 4′. Right-Click>Properties>Startup Type:Automatic > Service Status:Started.

Step4:

You should be done right now. Restart your computer and RealVNC will run in stealth mode – except for the mouse flickering. I use the old realVNC 3 just because of this problem. I have hacked the core completely and made the version 3 totally stealth, and use the viewer from version RealVNC 4, which is standalone.

Any questions?

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35 responses

11 08 2008
Dilraj Mathoora

Hi Shailen.

I was using RealVNC a few years ago. But then one day I started having problems with the latest versions of this server software. It always said “license expired”. I therefore switched to TightVNC server and client. And I’m a happy guy with it. It’s free. Nothing to worry about.

Cheers :)

24 02 2010
savageloki

Thanks a lot for this!
It works perfectly and the mouse flickering is not a problem when you don’t want to spy on the remote user.
It’s exactly what you need if you just want to prevent users to close the tray icon.

Good job!

11 08 2008
Shailen Sobhee

Hi Dilraj,

I understand your problem you encountered with RealVNC. This is because you did not apply an important security update, which is however not released by the realvnc company.

I have tried TightVNC. It has a pretty fair and simple user interface, but I suppose you cannot setup a server without password. This is quite a problem, when you have to connect often to a computer in your local network and you have this nasty little screen bugging you, asking for the password ‘a’.

However, I recognise it is possible to create direct shortcuts to the machine, by essentially creating .vnc files that contain all the connection parameters and the password.

In RealVNC, when you save a connection, it gets stored in:
C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\RealVNC\VNC Address Book

All you have to do, is save the files in a more accessible folder and simply double click on the .vnc files for a quick connect.

Kind regards,

Shailen Sobhee.

15 08 2008
Raymond

Hi Shailen,

Just wondering if you could release a version for realvnc 64bit

thanks

26 08 2008
Andy

Is there any resource editor available, capable of editing 64bit applications? Reshack doesn’t seem to support this format.

However, thanks for this very useful information.

Best regards,

Andy

28 08 2008
popo

hey there…would you please email me the link or attachment for realvnc version 3 installer?which doesnt show tray icon…please..:)

18 09 2008
Paul

Hey, you said that RealVNC 3 is completely stealth and that it doesnt have mouse flickering, but till wich version exactly? Also it would be great if you could if a link to that last working RealVNC 3 version and your exe for it. :) Thanks in advance.

18 09 2008
Paul

Ok, i have got a RealVNC3-Installer now, its exact version is v3.3.7. Does it have mouse flickering? You say “RealVNC 3 has a parameter, from the registry, that could hide its trayicon.” but wich parameter? greets

18 09 2008
Paul

ok, i got RealVNC 3.3.7 running, it is stealth. I will put together a tut for you all and blog author should publish it.

10 10 2008
Bigpiggy

I would also like a copy of the modified vnc3 installer.
If you could email it to me, that we be great. thank you.

13 10 2008
mantoi

can u make a patch for realvnc free edition 4.1.2 plz..

11 11 2008
David

I would like to have a vnc3 with a totally stealth server please. You could email it to me

17 11 2008
Jam

Can you do it so the server does not have to accept the connection??

17 11 2008
Jam

Can you make it so the server does not have to accept the connection??

17 11 2008
James

The server will not automatically accept connections. Is there anyway around this because i have unchecked the box in settings, prompt local user to accept connections so it should do it automatically. Any ideas?

It was very useful information.

Cheers James

19 11 2008
Sintral

How about one that works with a free edition install? Steps above work just fine, except I’m prompted when trying to connect to the “stealth” server by VNC to update my expired license.

31 01 2009
Shailen Sobhee

Dear Sintral,

Unfortunately, the modified executable belongs to the RealVNC Enterprise version. Indubitably, when you overwrite the free version of the executable, you will be asked for a license. My advice is to google for a free license if you see what I mean.

Nevertheless, you may wish to download and install the files below which include a fully functional RealVNC Enterprise package with the hidden tray icon (version 4.4.0):
http://rapidshare.com/files/118078312/RealVNC_Enterprise_4.4.0.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/116301731/RealVNC_4.4.0_NoTrayIcon.rar

Best regards,

Shailen Sobhee.

31 03 2009
craft

Many thanks Shailen!
Works just fine (4.4.2)
Peace!

11 04 2009
Fatman

Since i dont trust you :).. can u make some snapshot on how to modify the original binary with i suppose an hexeditor.. ?
ThankYou

21 05 2009
Ultra VNC vs Real VNC

[...] Think this is the one I used when we did ours: How to hide the RealVNC Tray Icon. Shailen Sobhee : Blog [...]

29 07 2009
Gene

Hi Paul,

Could I also have a copy of the RealVNC V3.3.7? I’m really into that stealth-mode thing.

Thanks in advance.

Gene

4 08 2009
Dylan

Hi Shailen,

I have used your hack before on my realvnc, and it worked perfectly. But the other day, I had to reinstall vista, and now its not working.

I put all your files over to the realvnc directory, and it works fine on the server computer. But when I try to connect to the server from a viewer on my other computer it says that the server license key is missing, invalid, or expaired.

Any help is really appreciated.
Thanks

6 08 2009
greg

I’m loyal, using VNC for years and only recently started installing uVNC but now back to VNC (real) because it works consistently (for me)

8 08 2009
Hip

I bumped into your site while looking for a tweak on hiding vnc tray icons. I was hoping if you could a crack for version 4.5.1. This one i believe is better than the other version with IP filter and stuff added. hope you could make one. Thanks and keep up the good work.

10 08 2009
ToLomia

I found your site when i was looking for a way to hide tray icons on VNC. I was hoping if you could do the same for v.4.5.1. This version has a IP filter function that is an added security feature for vnc. I really hope you could crack this one and make a No Tray Icon patch. Thanks and more power. Keep up the good work

22 11 2009
Jim

>>> I understand that all the people viewing this piece of text use RealVNC to monitor other people. Lets be realist. If it were for you own purpose, a tray icon would not bother you at all, just like the time and the audio icon do not.

I suppose this is true, however wouldn’t it be beneficial to have it running in stealth on a notebook computer? I came hear looking for a way to monitor my notebook in the event that it was stolen. I thought (perhaps naively) that if someone bought it from a crook that I might be able to startup notepad and communicate with the alledge new owner or at the very least ping the IP address in an attempt to locate and recover it.

Jim

29 01 2010
Sia

Hello Can you send me the files please:)
Thank you

25 02 2010
stevland

Hey, thanks so much for sharing your work on this.

I have to disagree with one thing you said…

“I understand that all the people viewing this piece of text use RealVNC to monitor other people. Lets be realist.”

In my case, I’ve found that RealVNC is the best way to control my media center PC from my laptop and iPhone.

I also use the method you describe of saving the connection to the address book, and shortcutting to it.

I’ve been looking for a method of suppressing RealVNC’s tray messages for one reason… when I’m streaming video using DivX Web Player and connect with VNC to pause/resume/adjust volume/etc., the tray message causes the player to freeze and then crashes Firefox.

Thus, I’d really love a way to suppress those messages!

Which isn’t to say that I haven’t used remote admin software in the past to monitor people. ;)

Anyhow, I’m using the 64-bit Enterprise version, so unless you have a hacked 64-bit version to offer, I’m afraid my quest shall remain ongoing.

Thanks again.

25 02 2010
stevland

Okay, I’ve given this a whirl, and here are my results…

First, I had to find the older RealVNC version 4.4.0, which can’t be found on RealVNC’s web site. I found it here though:

http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4180855/realVNC_enterprise_E4.4.0

I uninstalled my existing version and installed the above version. I then installed Shailen’s version on top.

I can confirm that this works on my 64-bit version of Windows 7 Ultimate.

Also, I can confirm that the tray messages are suppressed!

The one glitch that I’m facing is that it is extremely slow to negotiate the connection. It used to connect in 1 second. Now it takes 20+ seconds.

I just tested connecting from my iPhone, and after over a minute attempting to connect it ended with the error, “Host has closed the connection.”

So, I guess I’ll have to play with the settings on the server, or go back to my old configuration. But enough for tonight.

Thanks, Shailen.

20 04 2010
dammy

a little problem when i would like to change the password error when i run the program to change the password settings. any idea on how properly configure on changing the password?

29 06 2010
jann

Hi, thanks for sharing this…while i will share something back to ya to solve the mouse flickering prob…UserCaptureBit set to FALSE at EXPERT tab :)

can u send me the realvnc noTrayIcon.exe? i prefer this bcoz of the licensing prob..thx..

17 07 2010
Nascondere l’icona di VNC dalla TrayBar

[...] Se volete adoperare questa procedura su ogni computer potreste voler utilizzare il la versione modificata del server creata da un utente su internet. [...]

19 04 2012
Nig

It would be nice to have RealVNC Enterprise 4.6.3 without tray icon :) Could you explain how you are doing this, maybe in a couple of words (short tutorial)?

1 04 2013
blogger

Thanks for providing this awesome blog… I find your posts to always be incredibly helpful. Can you please provide the batch files so that we can modify future versions of vnc ourselves?

7 10 2013
Bill Gates

I have no mouse flicker problem, but I want to hide the “client connected” tray icon so I can check what my employees are doing, without them knowing about it.

Enterprise version 4.6.1

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