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Remote Session Environment

Updated: February 8, 2011

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1

Policy settings in this node control configuration of the user interface in Remote Desktop Services sessions.

The full path of this node in the Group Policy Management Console is Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment.

noteNote
If you are using the Local Group Policy Editor, Policies is not part of the node path.

 

Name Explanation Requirements

Limit maximum color depth

This policy setting allows you to specify the maximum color resolution (color depth) for Remote Desktop Services connections.

You can use this policy setting to set a limit on the color depth of any connection using RDP. Limiting the color depth can improve connection performance, particularly over slow links, and reduce server load.

If you enable this policy setting, the color depth that you specify is the maximum color depth allowed for a user's connection over RDP. The actual color depth for the connection is determined by the color support available on the client computer. If you select Client Compatible, the highest color depth supported by the client will be used.

noteNote
A color depth of 24 bit is only supported on Windows XP Professional and Windows Server 2003.

If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, the color depth for connections is determined by the Limit Maximum Color Depth setting on the Client Settings tab in the Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration tool, unless a lower level is specified by the user at the time of connection.

At least Windows XP Professional or Windows Server 2003 family

Enforce removal of Remote Desktop wallpaper

Specifies whether desktop wallpaper is displayed to remote clients connecting via Remote Desktop Services.

You can use this setting to enforce the removal of wallpaper during a Remote Desktop Services session. By default, Windows XP Professional displays wallpaper to remote clients connecting through Remote Desktop, depending on the client configuration (see the Experience tab in the Remote Desktop Connection options for more information). Servers running Windows Server 2003 do not display wallpaper by default to Remote Desktop Services sessions.

If the status is set to Enabled, wallpaper never appears in a Remote Desktop Services session.

If the status is set to Disabled, wallpaper might appear in a Remote Desktop Services session, depending on the client configuration.

If the status is set to Not Configured, the default behavior applies.

At least Windows XP Professional or Windows Server 2003 family

Configure RemoteFX

This policy setting allows you to control the availability of RemoteFX on both a Remote Desktop Virtualization Host (RD Virtualization Host) server and a Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) server.

When deployed on an RD Virtualization Host server, RemoteFX delivers a rich user experience by rendering content on the server by using graphics processing units (GPUs) or hardware. By default, RemoteFX for RD Virtualization Host uses server-side GPUs or hardware to deliver a rich user experience over LAN connections and RDP 7.1.

When deployed on an RD Session Host server, RemoteFX delivers a rich user experience by using a hardware-assisted compression scheme.

If you enable this policy setting, RemoteFX will be used to deliver a rich user experience over LAN connections and RDP 7.1.

If you disable this policy setting, RemoteFX will be disabled.

If you do not configure this policy setting, the default behavior will be used. By default, RemoteFX for RD Virtualization Host is enabled and RemoteFX for RD Session Host is disabled.

At least Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1

Limit maximum display resolution

This policy setting allows you to specify the maximum display resolution that can be used by each monitor used to display a Remote Desktop Services session. Limiting the resolution used to display a remote session can improve connection performance, particularly over slow links, and reduce server load.

If you enable this policy setting, you must specify a resolution width and height. The resolution specified will be the maximum resolution that can be used by each monitor used to display a Remote Desktop Services session.

If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, the maximum resolution that can be used by each monitor to display a Remote Desktop Services session will be determined by the values specified on the Display Settings tab in the Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration tool.

At least Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2

Limit maximum number of monitors

This policy setting allows you to limit the number of monitors that a user can use to display a Remote Desktop Services session. Limiting the number of monitors to display a Remote Desktop Services session can improve connection performance, particularly over slow links, and reduce server load.

If you enable this policy setting, you can specify the number of monitors that can be used to display a Remote Desktop Services session. You can specify a number from 1 to 10.

If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, the number of monitors that can be used to display a Remote Desktop Services session is determined by the value specified in the Maximum number of monitors per session box on the Display Settings tab in the Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration tool.

At least Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2

Remove “Disconnect” option from Shut Down dialog

This policy setting allows you to remove the Disconnect option from the Shut Down Windows dialog box in Remote Desktop Services sessions.

You can use this policy setting to prevent users from using this familiar method to disconnect their client from an RD Session Host server.

If you enable this policy setting, Disconnect does not appear as an option in the drop-down list in the Shut Down Windows dialog box.

If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, Disconnect is not removed from the list in the Shut Down Windows dialog box.

noteNote
This policy setting affects only the Shut Down Windows dialog box. It does not prevent users from using other methods to disconnect from a Remote Desktop Services session. This policy setting also does not prevent disconnected sessions at the server. You can control how long a disconnected session remains active on the server by configuring the Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\RD Session Host\Session Time Limits\Set time limit for disconnected sessions policy setting.

At least Microsoft Windows 2000 Terminal Services

Remove Windows security item from Start menu

Specifies whether to remove the Windows Security item from the Settings menu on Remote Desktop clients. You can use this setting to prevent inexperienced users from logging off from Remote Desktop Services inadvertently.

If the status is set to Enabled, Windows Security does not appear in Settings on the Start menu. As a result, users must type a security attention sequence, such as CTRL+ALT+END, to open the Windows Security dialog box on the client computer.

If the status is set to Disabled or Not Configured, Windows Security remains in the Settings menu.

At least Microsoft Windows 2000 Terminal Services

Optimize visual experience when using RemoteFX

This policy setting allows you to specify the visual experience that remote users will have in Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) connections that use RemoteFX. You can use this policy to balance the network bandwidth usage with the type of graphics experience that is delivered.

Depending on the requirements of your users, you can reduce network bandwidth usage by reducing the screen capture rate. You can also reduce network bandwidth usage by reducing the image quality (increasing the amount of image compression that is preformed).

If you have a higher than average bandwidth network, you can maximize the utilization of bandwidth by selecting the highest setting for screen capture rate and the highest setting for image quality.

By default, Remote Desktop Connection sessions that use RemoteFX are optimized for a balanced experience over LAN conditions. If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, Remote Desktop Connection sessions that use RemoteFX will be the same as if the medium screen capture rate and the medium image compression settings were selected (the default behavior).

At least Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1

Set compression algorithm for RDP data

This policy setting allows you to specify which Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) compression algorithm to use.

By default, servers use an RDP compression algorithm that is based on the server's hardware configuration.

If you enable this policy setting, you can specify which RDP compression algorithm to use. If you select the algorithm that is optimized to use less memory, this option is less memory-intensive, but uses more network bandwidth. If you select the algorithm that is optimized to use less network bandwidth, this option uses less network bandwidth, but is more memory-intensive. Additionally, a third option is available that balances memory usage and network bandwidth.

You can also choose not to use an RDP compression algorithm. Choosing not to use an RDP compression algorithm will use more network bandwidth and is only recommended if you are using a hardware device that is designed to optimize network traffic. Even if you choose not to use an RDP compression algorithm, some graphics data will still be compressed.

If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, the default RDP compression algorithm will be used.

At least Windows Vista with Service Pack 1

Optimize visual experience for Remote Desktop Services sessions

This policy setting allows you to specify the visual experience that remote users receive in Remote Desktop Services sessions. Remote sessions on the remote computer are then optimized to support this visual experience.

By default, Remote Desktop Services sessions are optimized for rich multimedia, such as applications that use Silverlight or Windows Presentation Foundation.

If you enable this policy setting, you must select the visual experience for which you want to optimize Remote Desktop Services sessions. You can select either Rich multimedia or Text.

If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, Remote Desktop Services sessions are optimized for rich multimedia.

At least Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2

Start a program on connection

Configures Remote Desktop Services to run a specified program automatically upon connection.

You can use this setting to specify a program to run automatically when a user logs on to a remote computer.

By default, Remote Desktop Services sessions provide access to the full Windows desktop, unless otherwise specified with this setting, by the server administrator, or by the user in configuring the client connection. Enabling this setting overrides the Start Program settings set by the server administrator or user. The Start menu and Windows Desktop are not displayed, and when the user exits the program the session is automatically logged off.

To use this setting, in Program path and file name, type the fully qualified path and file name of the executable file to be run when the user logs on. If necessary, in Working Directory, type the fully qualified path to the starting directory for the program. If you leave Working Directory blank, the program runs with its default working directory. If the specified program path, file name, or working directory is not the name of a valid directory, the RD Session Host server connection fails with an error message.

If the status is set to Enabled, Remote Desktop Services sessions automatically run the specified program and use the specified Working Directory (or the program default directory, if Working Directory is not specified) as the working directory for the program.

If the status is set to Disabled or Not Configured, Remote Desktop Services sessions start with the full desktop, unless the server administrator or user specify otherwise. (See Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Logon\Run these programs at user logon setting.)

noteNote
This setting appears in both Computer Configuration and User Configuration. If both settings are configured, the Computer Configuration setting overrides.

At least Windows Server 2003

Always show desktop on connection

This policy setting determines whether the desktop is always displayed after a client connects to a remote computer or an initial program can run. It can be used to require that the desktop be displayed after a client connects to a remote computer, even if an initial program is already specified in the default user profile, Remote Desktop Connection, Remote Desktop Services client, or through Group Policy.

If you enable this policy setting, the desktop is always displayed when a client connects to a remote computer. This policy setting overrides any initial program policy settings.

If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, an initial program can be specified that runs on the remote computer after the client connects to the remote computer. If an initial program is not specified, the desktop is always displayed on the remote computer after the client connects to the remote computer.

noteNote
If this policy setting is enabled, then the Start a program on connection policy setting is ignored.

At least Windows Server 2003 with SP1

Allow desktop composition for remote desktop sessions

This policy setting allows you to specify whether desktop composition is allowed for remote desktop sessions. This policy setting does not apply to RemoteApp sessions.

Desktop composition provides the user interface elements of Windows Aero, such as translucent windows, for remote desktop sessions. Because Windows Aero requires additional system and bandwidth resources, allowing desktop composition for remote desktop sessions can reduce connection performance, particularly over slow links, and increase the load on the remote computer.

If you enable this policy setting, desktop composition will be allowed for remote desktop sessions. On the client computer, you can configure desktop composition on the Experience tab in Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) or by using the allow desktop composition setting in a Remote Desktop Protocol (.rdp) file. In addition, the client computer must have the necessary hardware to support Windows Aero features.

noteNote
Additional configuration might be necessary on the remote computer to make Windows Aero features available for remote desktop sessions. For example, the Desktop Experience feature must be installed on the remote computer, and the maximum color depth on the remote computer must be set to 32 bits per pixel. Also, the Themes service must be started on the remote computer.

If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, desktop composition is not allowed for remote desktop sessions, even if desktop composition is enabled in RDC or in the .rdp file.

At least Windows Server 2008 R2

Do not allow font smoothing

This policy setting allows you to specify whether font smoothing is allowed for remote connections.

Font smoothing provides ClearType functionality for a remote connection. ClearType is a technology for displaying computer fonts so that they appear clear and smooth, especially when you are using an LCD monitor. Because font smoothing requires additional bandwidth resources, not allowing font smoothing for remote connections can improve connection performance, particularly over slow links.

By default, font smoothing is allowed for remote connections. You can configure font smoothing on the Experience tab in Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) or by using the allow font smoothing setting in a Remote Desktop Protocol (.rdp) file.

If you enable this policy setting, font smoothing will not be allowed for remote connections, even if font smoothing is enabled in RDC or in the .rdp file.

If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, font smoothing is allowed for remote connections.

At least Windows Server 2008 R2

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