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

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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  • Please add 2 and 3 and type the answer here:
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  • RDP does not use lossy compression.

    Rob [MSFT]

  • RDP not 100% transfer video, picture can be different, so RDP does use lossy compression somethimes :)

  • Is there a way to force the use of something like LZW instead, so that video transfer are perfect ?

  • Here is an example of lossy result from remoteApp

  • Dear Mr Rob

    What do you think of my flikr picture ?

    Is there a way to avoid this ?


  • Remote Desktop Protocol uses various compression algorithms to compress the image streams. By default, these algorithms are lossy. One way to improve quality (at the cost of bandwidth) is to go in Group Policy Editor (run gpedit.msc) and go to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Remote Desktop Services -> Remote Desktop Session Host -> Remote Session Environment.

    Choose “Optimize visual experience for Remote Desktop Services sessions” policy, set it to “Enabled” and choose “Text”.

    This setting will give you a much better noise to signal ratio, although the connection will still be lossy.

    Note this only applies to 32 bpp connections and Win7 or above.

  • We are testing out Windows 7 and are having issues extending or moving the application to an extended monitor.  span monitors:i:1 is set in the RDP file when opened with notepad.  

    When trying to move the file it stops at the edge of the monitor and nothing displays on the second monitor.

    We have tried to setup the secondary monitor on the left or the right and it doesn't make any difference.

  • I will not run "remote app" on my windows 2008 enterprise. It will have 15 rdp users and only share applications thru "remote desktop" and only in "Multi monitor support". Not SPANNING, where you have an ugly login in the center of the spanned monitors. (one login window). Now my question is, Do I need a second video card on the server to enable this feature? (where applcation like word and browser if maximized will stay on one screen instead of spanned)


  • @Tik:  Multimon does not require any extra video cards on the server.

  • Thanks termserv.

    The reason I asked is I called Dell Enterprise support and they told me that I am going to need a second card for it to work. Just like Windows 7 workstation where you have a dual DVI card.

    It works on my Windows 7 Ultimate(as RDP host) but not on windows 2008 Ent (config for RDS)

  • HELP. I don't want a "continuous resolution" feature where two monitors are

    link together into one continuous display  for a single remote RDP session

    Should I go to regedit and start changing the configuration on my Windows 2008 R2/Ent just to enable "multimonitor" support for my TS clients?

    \HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\Winstations\RDP-Tcp

    \HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\Winstations\EH-Tcp


  • Will there ever be support for remote app allowing multiple instances of excel, so one instance can be on one monitor and the other instance on another? we have accountants that need to compare spreadsheets.

    Will there ever be support for dual monitors with different resolutions. We have laptops that run 1280x800 (native res) is hard to find external monitors that run this as a native res.


  • Hi There,

    We have some users using dual monitors with remote apps, they open a second outlook on the right hand side monitor and want opened emails to stay on that side instead of opening to the left. Any suggestions please?

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