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Configure Audio and Video Playback on an RD Session Host Server

Published: May 26, 2010

Updated: February 16, 2011

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

Audio and video playback allows users to redirect the remote computer’s audio in a remote session, and provides an improved experience for video playback in remote sessions. By default, audio and video playback is not allowed when connecting to a computer running Windows Server 2008 R2.

noteNote
Users can specify where to play the remote computer’s audio output by configuring the remote audio settings on the Local Resources tab in Remote Desktop Connection (RDC). Video playback can be configured by using the videoplayback setting in a Remote Desktop Protocol (.rdp) file. By default, video playback is enabled.

To manually configure audio and video playback on a Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) server, you need to do the following:

  • Install the Desktop Experience feature.

  • Start the Windows Audio service.

  • Enable the Allow audio and video playback redirection Group Policy setting.

  • Set the maximum color depth to 32 bits per pixel.

Use the following procedure to start the Windows Audio service on the RD Session Host server.

Membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, on the RD Session Host server that you plan to configure, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at Local and Domain Default Groups (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=83477).

  1. On the RD Session Host server, open the Services snap-in. To open the Services snap-in, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Services.

  2. If the User Account Control dialog box appears, confirm that the action it displays is what you want, and then click Continue.

  3. In the Services pane, right-click Windows Audio, and then click Properties.

  4. On the General tab, in the Startup type box, select Automatic, and then click Apply.

  5. Under Service status, click Start.

  6. Click OK to close the Windows Audio Properties dialog box.

  7. Confirm that the Status column for the Windows Audio service displays Started.

To allow audio and video playback when connecting to a computer running Windows Server 2008 R2, you must enable the Allow audio and video playback redirection Group Policy setting. The Allow audio and video playback redirection Group Policy setting is located in Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Device and Resource Redirection and can be configured by using either Local Group Policy Editor or the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC).

For more information about Group Policy settings for Remote Desktop Services, see the Remote Desktop Services Technical Reference (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=138134).

Use the following procedure to set the maximum color depth to 32 bits per pixel on the RD Session Host server.

Membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, on the RD Session Host server that you plan to configure, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at Local and Domain Default Groups (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=83477).

  1. On the RD Session Host server, open Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration. To open Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, point to Remote Desktop Services, and then click Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration.

  2. If the User Account Control dialog box appears, confirm that the action it displays is what you want, and then click Continue.

  3. Under Connections, right-click the name of the connection that you want to configure (for example, RDP-Tcp), and then click Properties.

  4. On the Client Settings tab, in the Limit Maximum Color Depth box, select 32 bits per pixel.

  5. Click OK. Changes to color depth settings are not applied to sessions that are connected when the change is made. The changes will take effect the next time the user establishes a new connection to the RD Session Host server.

You can also set the maximum color depth by applying the Limit maximum color depth Group Policy setting. This Group Policy setting is located in Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment and can be configured by using either Local Group Policy Editor or the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC). Note that the Group Policy setting will take precedence over the setting configured in Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration.

For more information about Group Policy settings for Remote Desktop Services, see the Remote Desktop Services Technical Reference (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=138134).

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