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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  • Here's a Vista feature I didn't know about. RDC in Windows Vista supports spanning multiple monitors.

  • So does that mean that if I maximize something in the remote session, it'll maximize to both monitors?

    I guess it's better than nothing, but for me that'd be a show stopper for running in "multi-monitor" mode.

  • You can try a utility Acer GridVista to try and bring some sanity back to the maximize controls.

  • If you use "/span" and the client is stretched across multiple monitors, then maximizing an application in the remote session will cause it to maximize across both monitors. To be clear, this feature does not provide true multimon support, but is a step forward in that direction. Internally we refer to it as the "continuous resolution" feature because it provides you with the ability to link your monitors together into one continuous display surface for the remote session.

  • does anyone know if vista will support clone screens with different resolutions.  i.e. one monitor at 800x480 and another at 1920x1080 both with the same image?  i see this more for media center so you can use a touchscreen to play music without turning on your TV

  • The Vista TS client does support custom resolutions, so you can say something like: "mstsc /w:1920 /h:1080". With remote desktop a session is not "shared", but rather the graphics are "redirected" to another machine. The scenario you are referring to sounds more like desktop sharing (which is accomplished with Windows Meeting Spaces - this uses RDP as well).

  • When will the Vista RDP client be available for download to be used on Windows XP computers?  We have a huge need for multiple monitor spanning over 800 x 1600 within our organization.

  • Hello,

     vista RDP client is already available for windows xp....  and i was successfull in connecting to a windows 2003 server... from windows xp over multiple monitors.....  using the above instructions... and using the RDP client for windows xp from

    Kind Regards,


  • How do I enable this feature through the active x control?

  • SplitView - - effectively sub-divides the RDP continuous resolution/seamless desktop back into two sub-displays, one for each monitor. When windows are maximized, they get maximized to either the left or the right monitor, and not across both monitors. The Go Left and Go Right buttons make it simple to move windows from one screen or the other.

    Dialog boxes and windows are automatically repositioned to appear on the correct display and not in the center of the two monitors, half here and half there.

  • Back in October, I wrote about how excited I was to learn that the new Remote Desktop (RDP) client that

  • I'm running a 3 monitor system, all 1280 x 1024.  If I /span to another machine the remote desktop occupies all 3 displays.  What I really would like to do is have the /span work across 2 displays, leaving the 3rd monitor displaying windows from the host machine (email, IM, etc).

    Was able to simulate this by disabling the 3rd monitor, starting mstsc /span, and then re-enabling the 3rd monitor.  Works great, but its a pain to setup each time.  

    Does anyone know a way to have mstsc span a limited number of monitors?  Using /w and /h work OK, but then I don't get the nice little title bar like you do with the /span.

    All in all though, the /span is a significant improvment over previous releases.

  • I also have 3 monitors and would love to span and full screen two of them but I think we are out of luck--at least without some additional software???

    I do this and then drag it to full size as it seems to want to initially start on my main monitor. Just found that 200 was about right as 2048 stretched just a bit too far for some reason. 680 keeps it above my taskbar (I have a double row task bar on my main monitor.)

    mstsc /w:2000 /h:680 /v:machine

    BTW-I am evaluating splitview on my remote machine and it works great. Otherthan not getting full height on my RDP session, it is as good as having a two monitor session on my remote machine.


  • Blah...

    TightVNC has been able to do this for a while and it doesn't require a logical rectangle. It renders one, but you can still have a 640x480 up next to a 1900x1440 and get the whole desktop displayed.

  • Oh... and that's version 1.3.8

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Multi Monitor support in the Vista TS Client.