Troubleshooting pi-top[4] VNC Connection

A few tips and tricks to get VNC working when you need it.

First of all, make sure that you have carefully followed all of the steps provided at https://pi-top.com/start. If you are still experiencing issues, then please continue with the steps below.


When connecting to your pi-top [4] via the display cable, the connection may take a few seconds to establish - after each troubleshooting step, try waiting for up to a minute to see if this helps.

If you're unable to connect with VNC the first time, then try disconnecting then reconnecting the Display Cable from the computer for it to start working

Has the pi-top stopped working?

Check that you can navigate the pi-top [4] mini screen menu by using the buttons. The Raspberry Pi may have stopped responding to all inputs, not just an attempt to connect via VNC.

Is VNC enabled?

Use the pi-top [4] mini screen to access the Settings menu (press the circle button twice and scroll up/down), and make sure the checkbox next to the VNC logo is checked:

Screenshot 2019-12-20 at 14.40.43

Is the pi-top Display Cable connection working?

Use the pi-top [4] mini screen to access the VNC status page. If the logo has a cross on it, and shows no further information, the network is disconnected. In this case, double check the connection of the cable between the pi-top [4] and your other computer.

VNC network connection not available:

VNC network connection not available
VNC network connection now available - wait for details:
VNC network connection now available - wait for details

VNC network connection details:

VNC network connection details

Sometimes restoring the connection can take a few minutes, so be patient. The VNC status page scrolls to reveal the IP address you can use to connect (e.g. 192.168.64.1) when a connection is established.

If this does not happen, try a different USB port.

If possible, test the connection with a different computer. In some rare cases the computer connecting to the pi-top [4] may have some network configuration that can block the connection.

If you have a monitor available, try connecting using the HDMI connection on your display cable, to verify that the cable works at all - note that getting a display to work is no guarantee that the cable is in fully working order, as the USB adapter uses different connections in the cable itself.

If you are unable to get a display to appear using the pi-top Display Cable, it is possible that the cable is damaged, or that the OS is not working correctly. Try again with a new OS, or test getting a display connection with a micro HDMI cable to the other display port. Note that the display needs to be connected from the moment that the pi-top powers on.

Althought the Display Cable looks like a USB-C port, it does not follow the same protocol. If you try connecting the Display Cable to a computer without using the regular USB Adapter then you're computer won't be able to connect.

The VNC page shows an IP address, but I still can't connect

Double check that you've entered the correct IP address, username and password into the VNC client on your other computer, and reboot the pi-top to try again.

You can also check the connection on the device that you are using to connect to the pi-top by checking how to review the network configuration of your particular device’s operating system (e.g. Windows 10, OSX, Linux, Chromebook, etc.)

Do you have the correct drivers installed for Windows?

If you're using a Windows PC then the drivers are usually installed automatically when you connect your pi-top with the Display Cable. For older machines, this may not always be the case in which case you need to install the drivers yourself. It's a straightforward process and takes a few minutes.

  1. Download the drivers from this link: RNDIS Ethernet Gadget Driver. Then extract all files
  2. Go into the Windows Device Manager and connect your pi-top to your PC using the Display Cable and the USB Adapter. You should see it appear under the ports. Raspberry Pi Zero W Headless setup - Windows 10 RNDIS Driver issue resolved FactoryForward
  3. Right-click on the device and click "Update Driver Software..."Raspberry Pi Zero W Headless setup - Windows 10 RNDIS Driver issue resolved FactoryForward
  4. Select ‘Browse my computer for driver software’. Raspberry Pi Zero W Headless setup - Windows 10 RNDIS Driver issue resolved FactoryForward

  5. And select the extracted folder to install the files.Raspberry Pi Zero W Headless setup - Windows 10 RNDIS Driver issue resolved FactoryForward
  6. Once you've done that, you'll see the device installed.

Tried everything else?

If you’ve followed all the above steps and still cannot connect, see Contacting pi-top Support.