Multi Monitor support in the Vista TS Client.

  • Comments 92

One of the new features of the Terminal Server/Remote Desktop Client in Windows Vista is the support for multiple monitors.  If the machine running the TS-Client has a multi-monitor configuration that creates one logical rectangle, then the TS-Client can span over all the monitors, creating one virtual desktop of the combined size.

For example, this configuration is suitable for multimon spanning:

 (-1024,0)         |
  --+--------------+------------------> x
    |              |              |
    |              |              |
    |              |              |
    |              |              |
    +--------------+--------------+ (1024,768)
                   | y

While this configuration is not suitable for multimon spanning:

  --+--------------+--------------+---> x
    |              |              |
    |              |              |
    |              |              |
    |              |              |
    +--------------+ (1024,768)   |
    |              |              |
    | y            +--------------+ (2304,1024)

You can access the functionality using commandline options, in one of two ways:
If you know the rectangle dimensions of your virtual desktop:

mstsc /w:2048 /h:768 /v:<servername>

or if you want mstsc.exe to figure-out the dimensions:

mstsc /span /v:<servername>

There are a few limitations of multi-monitor spanning:
* The maximum dimensions of the virtual desktop in a TS-Session is hard-coded to 4096x2048, regardless of the color-depth and the available resources on the remote machine.
* The remote session will see your virtual desktop as one giant display.This reduces the complexity of the multi-display implementation in the remote session, while still allowing the windowed mode of the TS-Client to
be functional and viable.

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  • Please add 6 and 1 and type the answer here:
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  • Sorry, didn't realize where I was. Please pay my comments no mind.

  • I have 2 monitors: 1280x1024 and 1920x1200.  I'd love to see the complete solution: (1) be able to support multiple monitors with different resolutions, (2) be able to designate the "primary monitor", (3) be able to adjust the layout of the monitors, and (4) be able to support window functions such as maximize, minimize, normalize, etc. and have them behave properly.

    In short, everything that one can do with "Display Properties > Settings" should be something that one can do with TS.

  • With last version, I was able to open in full screen mode a terminal session in my secondary monitor, now I can't.

    The new version go to full screen only in the main monitor...

    Any one know a workaround for this?, I have three monitors, 1280, 1440, 1280. After two years of open remotes in the Secondary ones, I'm going crazy!!

  • What if the remote computer has dual monitors?  How can you get the content from the second monitor to show up in your local screens.  I have two monitors at home and two at work.  I'd like to be able to exactly what see when I log in directly to the machine vs. remotely.

    That is what people are asking for... or at least give us the option to right-click the properties for the second monitor and deactivate it remotely.

  • There are a few limitations of multi-monitor spanning:

    * The maximum dimensions of the virtual desktop in a TS-Session is hard-coded to 4096x2048, ...

    This causes problem to pepole with three or more 20“ screens:

    3x 20" Displays @ 1600x1200 have a total resolution of 4800 x 1200 or 3600 x 1600 in vertical mode. Vista does not support switching monitors from horizontal to vertical without special vendor drivers , right?

    I don´t have a suitable vendor driver for Vista (Matrox G450 MMS 4x). Is there any possible work arround to get the 3 displays completly filled in horizontal mode?

  • It looks like we may have found a bug in the monitor spanning.

    Client is XP SP2 w/ the Vista TS client.  Server is Server 2003 Enterprise.

    Open PowerPoint 2003, insert a chart, click off (i.e. deselect) the chart, font compresses horizontally.

    With the same client and server, this behavior only shows up with /span.


  • I can't get SplitView to work with Vista, the s/w is supposed to be multi-monitor aware but is not seeing the 2nd monitor.

    Anyone had the same problem?


  • I am using the new Remote Desktop client on Windows XP (11/07/2006 04:06 AM 600,576) to connect a dual screen (1600x1200 each) box to a Windows 2003 EE Server machine over a LAN.  

    I specify the "/span" option on the command line. On the Display panel the "Colors" is set to "High Color (16 bit)". On the "Experience" panel, I have selected "LAN".

    When I connect to the EE Server, I get the single 3200x1200 screen resolution I expected, but the Color Depth is scaled back to 8 bit.  This makes for a terrible user experience, and many applications are pretty much unusable.

    I realize that Remote Desktop is doing this because of bandwidth considerations, but this is a Gigabit Ethernet LAN and I'm pretty confident that it can handle the traffic.

    Is there a configuration setting in Terminal Services which will instruct Remote Desktop to honor the user's color setting?


  • Brad,

    Have you updated your server to WS2003 SP2? if not, what is your server version right now with the issue you reported?  



  • Yes, I have updated the server to SP2.  Here is its build information:

    Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition

    Build 3790 (Service Pack 2)

  • It is what i expected. WS2K3 SP2 has this issue. Thanks for your report, currently we do not have workaround, only to drop your resolution.

    We are working with Sustain engineering team to fix this problem.



  • Is there any estimate for when the problem might be resolved on WS2K3 SP2?

    Would it be different if the Remote Desktop host was Windows XP or Windows Vista instead of WS2K3?

    I have some flexibility regarding which OS is installed on the box, and the color palette is a very important issue for me.  I will install XP or Vista if it increases the color palette to 16 bit.


  • I use three monitors. (20", 23", 20")

    The following switches work great from one vista machine to another.

    mstsc /w:5120 /h:1200 /v:

    Is it possible to have a span session via our pocket pc windows mobile 5 devic? (the built in pocketpc TS client)?  The only way I've seen spanned screens on a windows mobile device was via GoToMyPc (Citrix) app.  While it is very quick, scrolls around smooth, It's too expensive though.  I'd rather use the built in MS method if available.  VNC is another option, but no Vista support yet.

  • how to upgrade rdp 5.2 to rdp 6.0.. in windows 2003 server R2

  • So, seeming how I always complain about the lack of multimonitor support in everything everywhere, you

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Multi Monitor support in the Vista TS Client.