Using Multiple Monitors in Remote Desktop Session

Using Multiple Monitors in Remote Desktop Session

Introduction:

Multiple monitor support for Remote Desktop Services allows users to open a Remote Desktop connection expanded across all the monitors on the client computer regardless of the client monitor configuration. With this feature, the user can fully utilize all the monitors connected to the client computer for the Remote Desktop connection thereby providing extra desktop space and an almost seamless experience with the client desktop that is much improved over “Span mode”.

This feature will be part of Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2 release and works for connections to another client machine (physical or VM), or a Remote Desktop Session Host.

How to use Remote Desktop Multimon feature:

To use this feature, you must:

  1. Connect using the Remote Desktop Client 7.0 (mstsc.exe) available initially on Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2.
  2. Enable Multimon using one of the three methods described below:
    a. Click “Use all monitors for the remote session” in the client (mstsc.exe) window.
    b. Use the “/multimon” switch on the mstsc.exe command line.
    c. Add “Use Multimon:i:1” to the RDP file.
    image 
  3. Connect to a computer running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

How does it look?

Currently this feature displays the remote desktop on all the monitors available on the client computer. It can handle any client monitor configuration supported by Windows.

The following images show the Remote Desktop Multimon feature in various configurations:

image

Display Settings UI inside a Remote Desktop session showing multiple monitors

image

Remote Desktop Multimon Session with 5 monitors

image

PowerPoint inside Remote Desktop session showing multiple monitors

How is this different from “Span” mode?

Span mode, introduced in Vista, allows the remote desktop to span across all monitors on the client as long as the monitors are arranged to form a rectangle. The remote session created when using span mode is still a single-monitor session. With multimon support, each monitor on the client machine is viewed as a distinct monitor in the remote session. Due to this fundamental difference, span mode has some restrictions that true multimon does not:

1. The primary monitor must be leftmost.

2. The set of monitors must form a rectangle (i.e. identical vertical resolution, and lined up in exact straight line).

3. The total of the resolutions must be below 4096x2048 (ex. 1600x1200+1600x1200 = 3200x1200).

For these reasons, all monitor configurations shown below are valid for Remote Desktop multimon, whereas most of them are not valid for span mode:

SpanConfigs

With true multimon support, the client-side monitors can be arranged in any order and can be of any resolution.

Since a span mode remote session is essentially a single-monitor session, if a window in the remote desktop is maximized, it spans across all the monitors. With true multimon support, a window will only maximize to the extent of the containing monitor.

If an application queries for the number of monitors inside a span-mode session, it will find only one monitor, whereas it will find as many monitors as are actually present on the client system when using true multimon RDP. This difference can change the behavior of applications such as PowerPoint.

Remote Desktop Multimon configuration properties:

There are a few settings associated with the Remote Desktop Multimon feature that can be used to restrict the number of monitors and resolution that clients use to connect.

Restricting the maximum number of monitors:

The Remote Desktop Multimon feature provides an option to restrict the number of monitors a user can use to connect. By default, RDP protocol supports a maximum of 16 monitors. This number can be restricted to any value between 1 and 16 using one of the following three approaches:

  1. Using the “Limit maximum number of monitors per session” setting in the Remote Desktop Configuration Tool (tsconfig.msc) as shown below:
    image
  2. Setting the “Limit maximum number of monitors” machine group policy as shown below:
    image 
  3. By setting the MaxMonitors property in the Win32_TSClientSetting WMI class (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa383778(VS.85).aspx).

Restricting the maximum resolution of each monitor:

By default, RDP restricts the maximum resolution to 4096 X 2048 per monitor. Additionally with multimon, the width and height of each remote monitor can also be restricted in one of two ways:

  1. Setting the “Limit maximum display resolution” machine group policy as shown below:
    image 
  2. By setting the MaxXResolution and MaxYResolution properties in the Win32_TSClientSetting WMI class (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa383778(VS.85).aspx).

Please note that the policies and WMI settings described above apply only to connections with multiple monitors and not when connecting with a single monitor.

Leave a Comment
  • Please add 2 and 8 and type the answer here:
  • Post
  • What tools or configuration should I launch on Windows 2008 for remote desktop service to activate "Multimon" (NOT SPAN) capablity? I'm looking for a solution even If I have to buy  extra viedo card for my server (2008 R2 enterprise)

  • As you are probably aware, multimon is a 2008 R2 & Win7 feature.  If you need this functionality on downlevel remote desktop session hosts or VDI we can do this with Quest vWorkspace, and I believe Citrix can also do this with XenDesktop/XenApp.  I think iShadow also has a product called Virtual Display Manager that can probably do this.

    Let me know if this helps.

  • And a basic "MULTI-mon" support cannot be integraded/turn-on  without purchasing a third party soltuion. What is this another Backup solution where I have to open up my wallet?

  • Help me MS. "Multimon" doesn't work!! Don't want to waste license on TS CAL. We are licensed for Server CAL's and the "ADDITIONAL" TS Cals..

  • I'm not BS-ting. Here is my RDP config on the client. I think it is hidden somewhere (regedit) on Win2k8 R2/Ent.

    Thanks,

    screen mode id:i:2

    desktopwidth:i:1280

    desktopheight:i:1024

    session bpp:i:16

    use multimon:i:1

    winposstr:s:0,1,315,111,1115,711

    compression:i:1

    keyboardhook:i:2

    displayconnectionbar:i:1

    disable wallpaper:i:1

    disable full window drag:i:1

    allow desktop composition:i:0

    allow font smoothing:i:0

    disable menu anims:i:1

    disable themes:i:0

    etc.....

  • Multimon is a 2008 R2 or Win7 feature, so if your remote desktop is one of those OS, and you're using an version 7 of mstsc.exe (Remote Desktop Client) from XP->Win7 Client OS, you should have access to multimon out of the box.

    You would only need 3rd party software if using 2008 RTM, but after looking more closely at your original post you're using R2 so you should be good for multimon.

    In group policy you can enforce maximum display resolution and maximum number of monitors supported (1-10).  This is done in:

    Computer Config -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Remote Desktop Services -> Remote Desktop Session Host -> Remote Session Environment.  

    You might also want to check in Server Manager under the Remote Desktop Session Host Role, to see if settings are enforced there that would prevent multimon.

  • I know MS has a lot of BAKER on their kitchen.

    Look at this.

    ""Computer Config -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Remote Desktop Services -> Remote Desktop Session Host -> Remote Session Environment.  ""

    This is from my server and looks a little different. (No "remote desktop services" on "windows components")

    I have this on computer config.

    Computer Config -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components ->Terminal Service-->

    --1.Remote Desktop Connection client

    --2.Terminal Server

    --3.TS Licensing

    And cannot find anywwhere the "Maximum number of monitors supported" setting. Even under "User configuration"

    I am at lost!!. I thought the client mstsc.exe (or dot .rdp) should (and MUST) override the setting as far as the spanning OR multi-monitor setting is concerned.

    All I want is Multimonitor with one RDP session.

    Thanks again.

  • My system is 208 R2 in a 2008 R2 Active Directory Forest.  If you see "Terminal Services" in GPO then your AD is <= 2008.  If you see this in local policy, then your OS is <= 2008.  If you don't plan to upgrade AD to 2008 R2 (as that's a much bigger decision), you can use the local policies on your Remote Desktop Session Host via gpedit.msc.

    I understand what you want.

  • You are very helpful my friend.

    Here is the "about Windows"  

    Version 6.0 (Build 6001: Service Pack 1) And IT (Windows 2008 2008 Enterprise) is a member server on my Win2003 Domain Controller

    My Domain environment is the result of the "TRANSITION" from a single server Win2kDC/WinExchange2000 setup.(Did the domain upgrade myself and now I am having a challenge on this terminal server setup)  

  • Sorry, I know it probably feels like you're banging your head against the wall at this point.  Sometimes I forget that not everyone has been using TS for a long time.

    To use Multimon your Remote Desktop Session Host (Terminal Server) will need to be 2008 R2 [Version 6.1.7600] and your client OS will need to be >= Windows XP SP3 with Remote Desktop Client 7.0.

    I'm happy to help, so keep the questions coming, and let me know if you're not following, or if I've misunderstood your questions.

  • Thanks again.

    Just an FYI -

    I was able to launch "gpedit.msc" from "start", "run" and got a windows "Local Group Policy Editor". Same with the snap-in "grouppolicyobjecteditor.msc" "group policy object editor version 1" - I created a month ago. It appears it inherited a lot of the setting from my old DC( from Win2k to Win2003 and now Win2008). I am not sure.

  • I'll try updating my Win2008 Ent "R2" with SP2 see if this update will fix it. If not, I hope MS is reading this MSDN blog and they have a quick fix for me.

  • 2008 R2 was just released on October 22 and has no service packs. 2008 and 2008 R2 are different OS builds, as 2008 was released around the time of Vista, and 2008 R2 is brand new, and only ships in X64.

    Please go to the cmd prompt on your server, type "ver" without quotes, hit enter and tell me what you see.  If you see something different than what is listed below, you are NOT running R2.  

    Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7600]

    Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

    C:\Users\Administrator>ver

    Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7600]

    C:\Users\Administrator>

  • Thank you so MUCH Patrick.

    And thank you Microsoft for your product "Microsoftr"

    Tik,

    Here is the systeminfo.

    Microsoft Windows [Version 6.0.6001]

    Copyright (c) 2006 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

    C:\Users\admin>ver

    Microsoft Windows [Version 6.0.6001]

    C:\Users\admin>

    C:\Users\admin>systeminfo

    Host Name:                 T-1000-Terminator

    OS Name:                   Microsoftr Windows Serverr 2008 Enterprise

    OS Version:                6.0.6001 Service Pack 1 Build 6001

    OS Manufacturer:           Microsoft Corporation

    OS Configuration:          Member Server

    OS Build Type:             Multiprocessor Free

    Registered Owner:          Windows User

    Registered Organization:

    Product ID:                92777-OEM-XYXYXYXY-10277

    Original Install Date:     11/2/2009, 8:49:07 PM

    System Boot Time:          12/7/2009, 3:10:25 PM

    System Manufacturer:       Dell Inc.

    System Model:              PowerEdge R610

    System Type:               x64-based PC

    Processor(s):              1 Processor(s) Installed.               [01]: Intel64 Family 6 Model 26 Stepping 5 GenuineIntel ~2660 Mhz

    BIOS Version:              Dell Inc. 1.2.6, 7/17/2009

    Windows Directory:         C:\Windows

    System Directory:          C:\Windows\system32

    Boot Device:               \Device\HarddiskVolume2

    System Locale:             en-us;English (United States)

    Input Locale:              en-us;English (United States)

    Time Zone:                 (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

    Total Physical Memory:     24,565 MB

    Available Physical Memory: 21,322 MB

    Page File: Max Size:       48,686 MB

    Page File: Available:      45,853 MB

    Page File: In Use:         2,833 MB

    Page File Location(s):     C:\pagefile.sys

    Domain:                    MYDOMAIN.local

    Logon Server:              \\Winhows2003

    Hotfix(s):                 76 Hotfix(s) Installed.

                              [01]: 944036

                              [02]: KB940518

                              [03]: KB948609

                              [04]: KB948610

                              [05]: KB949189

                              [06]: KB950050

                              [07]: KB950762

                              [08]: KB950974

                              [09]: KB951066

                              [10]: KB951698

                              [11]: KB951978

                              [12]: KB952004

                              [13]: KB952069

                              [14]: KB952287

                              [15]: KB953733

                              [16]: KB954154

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                              [18]: KB954459

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                              [20]: KB955069

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                              [23]: KB956572

                              [24]: KB956744

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                              [27]: KB957200

                              [28]: KB957321

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                              [31]: KB958623

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                              [33]: KB958644

                              [34]: KB958687

                              [35]: KB958869

                              [36]: KB959108

                              [37]: KB959130

                              [38]: KB959426

                              [39]: KB960225

                              [40]: KB960803

                              [41]: KB961371

                              [42]: KB961501

                              [43]: KB967190

                              [44]: KB967723

                              [45]: KB968389

                              [46]: KB968537

                              [47]: KB968816

                              [48]: KB969058

                              [49]: KB969947

                              [50]: KB970238

                              [51]: KB970653

                              [52]: KB971486

                              [53]: KB971557

                              [54]: KB971657

                              [55]: KB971961

                              [56]: KB971961

                              [57]: KB972036

                              [58]: KB972145

                              [59]: KB972594

                              [60]: KB973507

                              [61]: KB973525

                              [62]: KB973540

                              [63]: KB973565

                              [64]: KB973687

                              [65]: KB973874

                              [66]: KB974291

                              [67]: KB974455

                              [68]: KB974455

                              [69]: KB974469

                              [70]: KB974571

                              [71]: KB975364

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                              [74]: KB976098

                              [75]: KB976470

                              [76]: KB976749

    Network Card(s):           4 NIC(s) Installed.

  • If it is not R2, How can I make it R2? I am sure the OEM CD that came with it is R2 Since we order it preloaded mid October 2009.

    FYI - Here is the info on SP2 for 2008.

    indows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 for x64-based Systems (KB948465)

    Download size: 87.0 MB - 567.3 MB

    You may need to restart your computer for this update to take effect.

    Update type: Important

    Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 is an update to Windows Server 2008 that includes all of the updates that have been delivered since product release, as well as support for new types of hardware and emerging hardware standards.  After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer. This update is provided to you and licensed under the Windows Server 2008 License Terms

    More information:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/948465

    Help and Support:

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dd767387.aspx

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