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.

Leave a Comment
  • Please add 4 and 5 and type the answer here:
  • Post
  • In my own tests the max resolution with RDP I ever got was 4096x2048 with 24bit color depth.

    This was done on a Windows2003 Server pre SP2.

    ServicePack2 kept this max resolution limit, but limited the color depth to 8bit in all resolutions greater than 2400x1200 (afaik) and 16bit greater than 1600x1200 (afaik).

    Don't know the exact numbers anymore, but it was around these sizes.

    Though, I'll wait for a fix since almost the first day SP2 came out...but nothing happened.

    Back then I also had short conversation with an MS employee in the microsoft terminal server newsgroup.  (

  • Hi, i have a setup where-in i need to connect to remotely from a client(longhorn)to a target server(longhorn)through a Gateway server(longhorn).I am able to connect using mstsc,but i am not gettng the TSGU packets over netmon 3.1.Can anyone help in this regard?

  • Anyone have good experiences with vista multi monitor support?

  • I have a dual-monitor setup on my machine and I want to remote into a server and have the remote session only display as a single monitor machine.

    I don't want the remote machine to span the length of my two monitors. This is very annoying for me, because I want to do other work on my other monitor and not have to minimize my remote session and scroll like mad. Is there a way to solve this problem?

  • Trevor,

    Are you starting Remote Desktop Connection with /span?  If you don't specify /span, by default your remote session should not span both monitors, and maximizing the session will only make it full screen on one monitor.  Is this what you wanted?


  • Eric, I believe what you described is what I want. Currently the desktop of my remote session spans the length of two monitors when I want it to only span the length of one, despite the fact that I have two monitors on my client machine.

    I do not have the span attribute present....In fact I should probably clarify that I am using Windows XP with the new remote desktop functionality. I'm assuming this may make a difference. Thanks for the help.

  • Actually, upon further review I think that my problem is due to the setup I have with my Nvidia card. I have my taskbar spanning the entirety of my two monitors. I think that is somehow messing with my remote desktop sessions. I haven't figured out a way to stop that from happening. I guess I can live with it though.

  • Trevor:

    If you taskbar is spanning both monitors in your local session, most likely Windows is not aware of the two monitors.  This may be a setting in the Nvidia drivers to simply merge the two displays rather than using Windows XP's multi-monitor support.  This is probably why your remote desktop session is spanning both monitors.  You could try to use Windows' multi-monitor support directly, and that should fix your problem.


  • Thanks Eric, that's exactly what my problem was.

  • Does anybody know where to get the full list of command line switches??

  • Hi willyfoo,

     If you click on Start | Run and type

     mstsc /?

     It will launch a window will all the command line switches with a small description of each...

  • I have 2 different size monitors (one is a 20" widescreen and the other is a 19") and I want to use both screens while connected to the terminal server. I have added the " /span" command and when I connect I can only see the image on one monitor - the image is "chopped off" in the centre.  I can get it to work if I set both monitor resolutions to the same (ie 1280 x 1024) but the image on my widescreen is stretched because of it! The other way I can sort of get it to work is by restoring down the terminal server session window and resizing it to fit on both screens - prob is I have to use the scroll bars to see the top and bottom of my screen. My question - is there anyway I can get it to span over both monitors while keeping each monitors maximum resolution?

  • I found a workable solution - as long as the h resolution is the same on both monitors it WILL allow me to span across both of them - not the best outcome because the resolution is lower.

  • Gah, I've just found this for the first time.

    It's like going back to the bad old days of the first few (spanning) multi-monitor drivers for Win2k, only there aren't features built into the Terminal Services virtual driver to manage windows on a per-screen basis. At least nvidia and had nView. SplitView appears to be  a potential solution, but it galls to have to pay to get back features you thought you already had.

    It will be of limited usefulness until it works more like the (excellent) multi-monitor support that modern XP and graphics driver combinations possess.

  • Check out iShadow's VDM (Virtual Display Manager) for advanced multi-monitor support over RDP, ICA or VNC.

Page 4 of 7 (92 items) «23456»