Using Terminal Services RemoteApp™ programs on multi-monitor client computers

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One of the new feature additions to Terminal Services RemoteApp (TS RemoteApp) in Windows Server® Code Name "Longhorn" Beta 3 is multi-monitor support - the ability for a remote program to be dragged between primary and secondary monitors, to be maximized on any monitor and have it stick correctly to that monitor, etc. In other words, RemoteApp programs work just like local programs do in multi-monitor setups. Here is an FAQ of what TS RemoteApp multi-monitor support constitutes.

  1. What kind of multi-monitor configurations are supported?

    Just like the requirements for usage of the /span switch in normal remote desktop (described in an earlier blog post here), TS RemoteApp also requires the following specifications for the multi-monitor setup:
    • Equal resolution monitors
    • Total resolution of all monitors not exceeding 4096 x 2048
    • Top-left monitor being the primary

      Any other kinds of multi-monitor configurations are not supported with TS RemoteApp. Here are a few examples of multi-monitor setups that are unsupported:
    • L-shaped multi-monitor configuration
    • Unequal number of monitors on the top and bottom row (if there is a two row multi-monitor setup)
    • Center or right monitor being the primary
  2. What do I need to do in order to enable multi-monitor support in TS RemoteApp?

    As the administrator, nothing, as long as the client computers are all in the supported multi-monitor configuration. By default, in Windows Server "Longhorn" Beta 3, the RDP or MSI files that are generated by using the RemoteApp Wizard allow multi-monitor usage of RemoteApp programs because the span monitors:i:1 entry is present in the RDP file.

    As the end user, you just need to launch the remote program just like you would do normally.
  3. Can bad things happen if a TS RemoteApp multi-monitor enabled RDP file is used from a single monitor client computer?

    No. The span monitors:i:1 option is ignored when the client is not multi-monitor. Hence, there are no side effects of any kind when using these RemoteApp RDP files from single monitor clients.
  4. Will RemoteApp programs launched from a Terminal Services Web Access (TS Web Access) portal on a multi-monitor client also have this support?

    In Windows Server "Longhorn" Beta 3, RemoteApp programs launched from a TS Web Access portal do not work across multiple client monitors even in the supported configuration described in FAQ #1. This will be addressed in the next interim milestone release of Windows Server "Longhorn".
  5. How do I turn off TS RemoteApp multi-monitor support for a particular multi-monitor client computer?
    • If the administrator has already generated the RDP file(s) by using the RemoteApp Wizard and pushed them on to the client computer, she will have to manually edit the RDP file(s) on that client computer to set the span monitors field to 0, i.e. it should read span monitors:i:0.
    • If the administrator has already generated the RDP file(s) by using the RemoteApp Wizard and the user is launching the RemoteApp program through a TS Web Access portal, there is no way for her to turn this functionality off for a particular client computer.
    • If the administrator is in the process of generating the RDP or MSI file(s) by using the RemoteApp Wizard and decides that for a particular client computer she does not want to provide TS RemoteApp multi-monitor support, she can use the "Custom RDP Settings" tab in the TS RemoteApp Manager tool for this. All she needs to do is to put "span monitors:i:0" in the text field on that tab and the generated RDP or MSI file(s) will have the functionality turned off. Then, she needs to push this particular set of RDP or MSI file(s) to the target client computer.
  6. What client operating system do I need to test this feature?

    As of now (7 May 2007), this feature can be tested only with Windows Server "Longhorn" Beta 3 being the client operating system, i.e. both the client computer and the remote server must be running Windows Server "Longhorn" Beta 3.
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  • I have dual monitors at work (same size/res) and when I RDP from home (single monitor), the taskbar is resized (down from 2 line to 1) in spite of being "locked". Is there a config settings I can use to prevent this?

  • Please help us with the following:

    • The exact monitor resolutions for the three monitor involved in the repro (1 at  home and 2 in office).

    • The relative position of primary vs. secondary monitor in his office.

    • Location of Taskbar: in the primary or secondary monitor in his office.

    • Is this a consistent repro?

  • 1. All 3 are 19" set at 1280x1024

    2. Office monitors are primary on right, seconary on the left.

    3. Taskbar is on the primary (right) monitor

    4. This is a 100% repro

    I also noticed that it pulls off the styling on the toolbar as well. Not sure if that's helpful but I figured I'd mention it.

  • Could you verify that you RDP to the same console session as you think it should be?

  • I learned more useful infos from your site. Thanks much!

  • Yes, it is the correct session (all my desktop, running apps and quicklaunch icons are the same).

  • If you change your office machine to single-mon, does it still repro?

  • I'm having some trouble getting Session Broker Load Balancing to work. Here's what I did so far:

    1. Install the session broker on a DC

    2. Add two other Terminal Servers to the Session Broker Computers Group

    3. Configure all the correct TS Broker settings on tsconfig.msc (GPO doesn't seem to work)

    4. Added two DNS records: ts-farm with the IP address of server1 and  another ts-farm with the IP address of server2.

    5. I fire up mstsc on one of my Longhorn servers (does the Vista mstsc also do the trick?) and connect to the DNS name ts-farm.

    Now here's the weird part: I can not authenticate to that "server" no matter what credentials I use. If I connect to any one of those Terminal Server directly, these credentials work fine.

    Any ideas?

  • Does the taskbar issue repro with Session Broker Load Balancing? Does it repro without it?

  • M.Roth:

    To answer one of your questions, any RDP 5.2 or later client should work with Session Broker, so Vista, or even the XP client should be fine.

    I am curious to learn more about your deployment so I can help troubleshoot the issue you are experiencing.  From your description, it sounds like you have things set up correctly.  Do you have an email address that I can use to start a correspondence?

  • Hi Dave Dopson,

    Thanks for your response. Please reach me at

    mrdizzz -at-

  • David,

    We are unable to reproduce the issue you are seeing on our end. Is there an e-mail ID we can communicate with you on to get more details?


  • I have the same problem as davidmohara.  Everytime I run Remote Desktop, it resizes my taskbar, and I have to manually resize it.

  • Dean

    Thanks for the report. Please help with the same details we requested from David.

    • The exact monitor resolutions for the three monitor involved in the repro (1 at  home and 2 in office).

    • The relative position of primary vs. secondary monitor in your office.

    • Location of Taskbar: in the primary or secondary monitor in your office.



  • I've set up a Server 2008 Beta 3 machine and configured a few RemoteApp programs. I'm connecting to it from a dual-monitor (primary on left, both 1280x1024) Vista Enterprise client. When I connect using span monitors:i:1, all dialogs appear in the middle of the two screens, the same annoying behavior as when I use full Remote Desktop with the /span switch. RemoteApp seems like it will be a good solution to many problems, but ff these dialogs continue to pop up in the middle, just behind the seam of the two monitors, this annoyance will limit it's practicality. The best implementation of dual monitor support on a remote machine is with VMWare Workstation 6.0. Whenever RDP can do it like that, I'll be ditching the majority of my local apps in favor of running them on a terminal server. Until then, I just like having multiple monitors too much to give one up.

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Using Terminal Services RemoteApp™ programs on multi-monitor client computers