Multi Monitor support in the Vista TS Client.

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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  • When I try to span on resolution higher than (/w:2812 /h:1024) or (/w:1404 /h: 2048) when connecting to Windows 2003 R2 SP2 I get only 8 bit color. How can I get 16 bit color?



  • Unfortunately the only option to get back your color depth to 16 bpp ot higher is to decrease the resolution of your session.



  • Nelly,

      You stated in an earlier post that "We are working with Sustain engineering team to fix this problem".

      Can you give a rough estimate (days, weeks, months, years) as to when a fix might be available?  Is there a specific web site we can monitor to watch for the availability of a HotFix?

    It appears that the current threshold for the throttling back from 16 bit to 8 bit color occurs around 2.88 million pixels.  I get 16bit color at 2400x1200, and 8bit color at 2410x1200.

  • I've been using RDP6 from XP to W2k3 in 3840x1024x24bit for a while. Since I deployed W2k3 SP2, no more than 8 bit color is possible (=eye-cancer). When a fix for this problem is available, will it be announced on this page? I'm watching the RSS anyway...

  • One of the new feature additions to Terminal Services RemoteApp (TS RemoteApp) in Windows Server® Code

  • Is there any property exposed by mstscax.dll to use this feature?

  • I just want to add a "me2" to the question from sankarp:

    "Is there any property exposed by mstscax.dll to use this feature?"

  • Hi,

    I have just purchased three DELL 30"(2560x1600) so they make up to 7680x1600)

    I plan to buy 2 HD2900XT for those 3 but not sure if they works.

    I want to setup 1 monitor in the center for web surfing, the right for email and the left for emule.

    Not sure how to set up so that i can drag any thing to the right and the left from the center display?

    Anyone know that VISTA will support those resolution and the split into center screen and left and right like that?

    Is there any software available for those issues?


  • This is great stuff, but it looks like we're still years behind Dameware.  I have dual monitors both at home and at work - using Dameware teleworking looks just like being at the office, same rez and same color, maximize buttons behave normally.  If I try to get to an old 2K or NT machine, Dameware will go there too.

    Dameware is a tiny company, a fraction of the size of Microsoft.  And Microsoft can't catch up to them?

  • Using the software downloaded from the link in this discussion, if you attempt to use the /span switch, it gives you instructions on the valid arguments, none of which is /span.

  • Waouh... 8 bit color only at 2560*1600 resolution.

    This kind of stuff makes me sick.. always a patch, always something that goes wrong..

    Seriously, you need to proactively limit the bandwith to have that result. why has this been done ?

  • I concur with nicolas ... WTF!? In my case there is no real bandwidth consideration, as I am connecting to the same machine. Why are there arbitrary limits that aren't configurable? How do I get 16bit color on a 1900x2400 display?

    sick sick sick WTF WTF WTF

    Also, why can't I specify a particular session on a remote machine using mstsc? I often want to run apps in a particular session that have to do with a particular project? Currently I have to connect and then switch to the session of choice by using tscon. This often creates yet another session before I switch to the session I wanted.

    Also, why can't I start a program from session A and have it run in session B? This would be somewhat like setting the DISPLAY environment variable in X11.

    Also, why is my linux desktop from 6 years ago more configurable than the latest crap from redmond? I am hating working on windows every time I must use it.

  • Me3!

    "Is there any property exposed by mstscax.dll to use this feature?"

    Would be tres nice to add the span option to this homegrown beasty we have here...

  • Has anyone found a resolution to the 8 bit color limitation at 2560*1600 resolution?  This hit me square between the eyes with SP2 and left me scratching my head as to why anyone would do this... Just when I was so happy RDP 6.0 let me even get my resolution this big now it looks like crap.  Help!!!!!

  • I was restricted to 8 bit color using 3200x1200.  The RDP Server I was using was Windows 2003, with Service Pack 2 installed.  I backed up to Service Pack 1, and the 8 bit color limitation disappeared.  

    I can now connect a Windows XP RDP 6.0 client to a Windows 2003 SP1 Server, and I get 3200x1200, with 16 bit color.  8 bit problem solved!

    Then earlier this week, I connected a third monitor to my XP client, for a total resolution of 4800x1200.  When I use mstsc to connect to the server, my resolution is throttled back to 4096x1200, with 16 bit color.  This seems like an arbitrary limitation to me, given that RDP claims a max resolution of 4096x2048, for a total of over 8 million pixels, and 4800x1200 is fewer than 6 million pixels.

    So my question is whether there is a way to get RDP to support 4800x1200.  Earlier in this blog, there is a post (April 24) claiming 5120x1200 between 2 Vista machines.  Is there a way to get a Windows 2003 EE server to support this resolution?


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