Configure Maximum Color Depth for a Remote Session

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

You can specify the maximum color resolution (color depth) for a remote session. Limiting the color depth can improve connection performance, particularly over slow links, and reduce server load.

The actual color depth for the connection is determined by the color support available on the client computer. The user can also specify a color depth for the connection on the Display tab under Colors in Remote Desktop Connection, but the specified color depth cannot exceed the value configured on the RD Session Host server.

Use the following procedure to specify the maximum color depth for a remote session.

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

To specify the maximum color depth for a remote session
  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. Under Connections, right-click the name of the connection, and then click Properties.

  3. In the Properties dialog box for the connection, on the Client Settings tab, select the Limit Maximum Color Depth check box, and then select the appropriate value for your environment.

    The default value is 32 bpp. A color depth of 24 bpp is only supported on Windows XP Professional and Windows Server 2003.

  4. 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 for a remote session 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 the 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 (

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