Remote Desktop: /span across multiple monitors

Remote Desktop: /span across multiple monitors

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I spent some time searching the web about Remote Desktop, fullscreen and multiple monitors, so I decided to write down my findings to avoid having to search for them again.

/span for multiple monitors

If you pass /span to mstsc.exe, the target session’s desktop will become a huge rectangle that equals to the summary area of your physical monitors. This way the remote desktop window will fill all of your screens. The downside of this approach is that both screens are part of one desktop on the remote machine, so if you maximize a window there, it will span all of your monitors. Also, a dialog that is centered, will show up right on the border between your monitors. There is software on the web to workaround that but I’m fine with keeping my windows restored and sizing them myself. Also Tile Vertically works just fine in this case.

Saving the /span option in the .rdp file

There is a hidden option that isn’t mentioned in the description of the .rdp format:

span monitors:i:1

Just add it at the bottom of the file.

Saving the /f (fullscreen) option in the .rdp file

screen mode id:i:2

(By default it’s screen mode id:i:1, which is windowed).


  • Using SplitView in this case is highly recommended.

    When remote desktop with span, Windows think you have one large desktop, makes maximizing windows a real pain.

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  • Does not work for me.  I have XP prof ver 2002 SP3 and MSTSC.exe version 6.0.6001.18000.  I am connecting to my PC at work that has two monitors.  I have not seen a way to scroll or switch between monitors.

  • Hi Kirill,

    Thanks for posting span monitors:i:1.

    I was trying to use span:i:1 and getting a bit frustrated. You saved the day!

  • A year and a half later and your post is still saving the day... or at the very least making it more bearable.  Thanks

  • If you connnect to a Windows 7 machine you get real multi-monitor support

  • @Alex - that is not entirely true.  multi-monitor support is really only for Ultimate (or Enterprise or 2008-server).  Check the microsoft FAQ on the topic: (you have to expand the section "Which editions of Windows 7 include multiple-monitor support for Remote Desktop Connection?")

    I am VERY disappointed by this!

  • The only thing you haven't mentioned is how to add these setting to the file.

  • Chris - open the file in notepad and edit manually.

  • 3,5 years after posting... still saved the day. Thanks!

  • /span does not work for me when I'm using windows 8 pro cp and windows 7 pro to connect to windows 7 PC.

    both the target and the source have dual monitors.

    the result is a single monitor display on the source

  • dont see this mentioned anywhere here, so I'll add that /span only works if both your target monitors are exactly the same geometry as each other

  • The /span option only works with XP and Server 2003. With Server 2008 / vista and later, RDP uses multimon, which is in the Display options of the RD Connection. In order for multiple monitors to work with XP, Server 2003, you must have RDP 6.0 or above and Server 2003 has a Windows Hotfix and/or a registry key to add.

  • not true. works just fine on win7 and multimon does nothing.

  • This needs to be updated as "/multimon" is much better and depreciated SplitView. mstsc /multimon allows multiple monitors with no windows re sizing issues. Monitors and windows are laid out just like they are in a mutliple monitor desktop using remote desktop.

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