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Remote Desktop Connection Display

Updated: July 7, 2008

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) 6.0 and RDC 6.1 add support for using higher-resolution desktops and spanning multiple monitors horizontally to form a single large desktop. Also, the Desktop Experience feature and the display data prioritization settings are designed to enhance the end-user experience when connecting remotely to a Windows Server 2008 terminal server.

Custom display resolution provides support for additional display resolution ratios, such as 16:9 or 16:10. For example, newer monitors with resolutions of 1680 x 1050 or 1920 x 1200 are now supported. The maximum resolution supported is 4096 x 2048.

noteNote
Previously, only 4:3 display resolution ratios were supported, and the maximum resolution supported was 1600 x 1200.

You can set a custom display resolution in an .rdp file or from a command prompt.

  • Open the .rdp file in a text editor. Add or change the following settings:

    desktopwidth:i:< value >

    desktopheight:i:< value >

    where <value> is the resolution, such as 1680 or 1050.

For more information about .rdp file settings, see article 885187 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=66168).

  • At a command prompt, use the mstsc.exe command with the following syntax, and then press ENTER.

    mstsc.exe /w:<width> /h:<height>

Monitor spanning allows you to display your remote desktop session across multiple monitors.

The monitors used for monitor spanning must meet the following requirements:

  • All monitors must use the same resolution. For example, two monitors using 1024 x 768 resolution can be spanned. But one monitor at 1024 x 768 and one monitor at 800 x 600 cannot be spanned.

  • All monitors must be aligned horizontally (that is, side by side). There is currently no support for spanning multiple monitors vertically on the client system.

  • The total resolution across all monitors cannot exceed 4096 x 2048.

You can enable monitor spanning in an .rdp file or from a command prompt.

  • Open the .rdp file in a text editor. Add or change the following setting:

    Span:i:< value >

    • If <value> = 0, monitor spanning is disabled.

    • If <value> = 1, monitor spanning is enabled.

For more information about .rdp file settings, see article 885187 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=66168).

  • At a command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER.

    mstsc.exe /span

Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) 6.0 and RDC 6.1 reproduce the desktop that exists on the remote computer on the user’s client computer. To make the remote computer look and feel more like the user's local Windows Vista desktop experience, you can install the Desktop Experience feature on your Windows Server 2008 terminal server. Desktop Experience installs features of Windows Vista, such as Windows Media® Player 11, desktop themes, and photo management.

  1. Open Server Manager. Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Server Manager.

  2. Under Features Summary, click Add features.

  3. On the Select Features page, select the Desktop Experience check box, and then click Next.

  4. On the Confirm Installation Selections page, verify that the Desktop Experience feature will be installed, and then click Install.

  5. On the Installation Results page, you are prompted to restart the server to finish the installation process. Click Close, and then click Yes to restart the server.

  6. After the server restarts, confirm that Desktop Experience is installed.

    1. Start Server Manager.

    2. Under Features Summary, confirm that Desktop Experience is listed as installed.

Windows Server 2008 supports ClearType®, which is a technology for displaying computer fonts so that they appear clear and smooth, especially when you are using an LCD monitor.

A Windows Server 2008 terminal server can be configured to provide ClearType functionality when a client computer connects to the Windows Server 2008 terminal server by using Remote Desktop Connection. This functionality is referred to as font smoothing. Font smoothing is available if the client computer is running any of the following:

  • Windows Vista

  • Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3)

  • Windows Server 2003 with SP1 or SP2 and the Remote Desktop Connection 6.0 software

  • Windows XP with SP2 and the Remote Desktop Connection 6.0 software

By default, ClearType is enabled on Windows Server 2008. To ensure that ClearType is enabled on the Windows Server 2008 terminal server, follow this procedure.

  1. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Appearance and Personalization.

  2. Click Personalization, and then click Window Color and Appearance.

  3. On the Appearance tab, click Effects. Select the Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts check box, select ClearType, and then click OK.

To make font smoothing available for a remote desktop connection, follow this procedure on the client computer.

  1. Open Remote Desktop Connection. To open Remote Desktop Connection on Windows Vista, click Start, point to All Programs, click Accessories, and then click Remote Desktop Connection.

  2. In the Remote Desktop Connection dialog box, click Options.

  3. On the Experience tab, select the Font smoothing check box.

  4. Configure any remaining connection settings, and then click Connect.

When you allow font smoothing, you are specifying that the local settings on the client computer will help determine the user experience in the remote desktop connection. Note that by allowing font smoothing, you are not changing the settings on the Windows Server 2008 terminal server.

Using font smoothing in a remote desktop connection will increase the amount of bandwidth used between the client computer and the Windows Server 2008 terminal server.

Display data prioritization automatically controls virtual channel traffic so that display, keyboard, and mouse data is given a higher priority over other virtual channel traffic, such as printing or file transfers. This prioritization is designed to ensure that your screen performance is not adversely affected by bandwidth intensive actions, such as large print jobs.

The default bandwidth ratio is 70:30. Display and input data will be allocated 70 percent of the bandwidth, and all other traffic, such as clipboard, file transfers, or print jobs, will be allocated 30 percent of the bandwidth.

You can adjust the display data prioritization settings by making changes to the registry of the terminal server. You can change the value of the following entries under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\TermDD subkey:

  • FlowControlDisable

  • FlowControlDisplayBandwidth

  • FlowControlChannelBandwidth

  • FlowControlChargePostCompression

If these entries do not appear, you can add them. To do this, right-click TermDD, point to New, and then click DWORD (32-bit) Value.

You can disable display data prioritization by setting the value of FlowControlDisable to 1. If display data prioritization is disabled, all requests are handled on a first-in-first-out basis. The default value for FlowControlDisable is 0.

You can set the relative bandwidth priority for display (and input data) by setting the FlowControlDisplayBandwidth value. The default value is 70; the maximum value allowed is 255.

You can set the relative bandwidth priority for other virtual channels (such as clipboard, file transfers, or print jobs) by setting the FlowControlChannelBandwidth value. The default value is 30; the maximum value allowed is 255.

The bandwidth ratio for display data prioritization is based on the values of FlowControlDisplayBandwidth and FlowControlChannelBandwidth. For example, if FlowControlDisplayBandwidth is set to 150 and FlowControlChannelBandwidth is set to 50, the ratio is 150:50, so display and input data will be allocated 75 percent of the bandwidth.

The FlowControlChargePostCompression value determines if flow control will calculate the bandwidth allocation based on pre-compression or post-compression bytes. The default value is 0, which means that the calculation will be made on pre-compression bytes.

If you make any changes to the registry values, you need to restart the terminal server for the changes to take effect.

For information about other new features in Terminal Services, see What's New in Terminal Services for Windows Server 2008.

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