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 5 and 3 and type the answer here:
  • Post
  • I am puzzled.  I have two Windows 7 machines side by side, one running Enterprise and one running Ultimate - both using two screens side by side.  When I RD from Enterprise to Ultimate, the multiple monitor option works perfectly, but when I RD from Ultimate to Enterprise, only one screen is used.  Is this a problem with the config of the Enterprise or the Ultimate PC?

  • Correction to my comment - it's WIndows 7 Professional not Enterprise.

  • Still No Areo in RD both Win 7 machines. What is the deal is it that hard to make work?

    Are there 3rd party apps that do it right? Win 7 still Junk.

  • Please help!  My PC at home with dual screens (one is a dell monitor and the other is a vizo tv with an hdmi) has Windows 7 with Remote Desktop Connect.   Both the dell and the vizio work well on my local PC with dual capabilities.

    I am trying to remote into a pc at work and waht to use the dual screens (this pc has windows xp professional).  I have been unsuccessful with the following:

    a. Tick the option “use all monitors for the remote session” in remote desktop client display

    b. use the “/multimon” switch on the mstsc.exe command line.

    mstsc.exe /multimon

    c. add “use multimon:i:1” to the RDP file.

    Please, what am I doing wrong here....???

    Thanks,

    Dan

  • Is there anyone out there that can confirm that Windows 7 Pro (client) can get 2 monitors to work with remote desktop to another Windows 7 Pro (server) machine?

    From what I read officially (MS website - cited here) it's not supported.  But I see comments all over the place that people can "do multimonitor no problem with Windows 7".  

    I never see anyone who sounds like they really know what they are doing confirm or deny that it can be done!

  • Barry Graham - I am having the same issue. I can't get multi-monitors to work from ultimate to pro. Did you get this figured out?

  • I spent two hours trying to figure out how this can work at my end but no luck! I have tried this on a VISTA Business (32 bit) and Windows 7 home premium edition (64 bit). So, I think that this is not supported at any of those two machines, right?

    On both, I see that that the checkbox saying that I can "use all my monitors for this remot session", but when I log in, nothing happens, the remote session stays only on one monitor. On the next few days, I am going to be working only on one screen... I wouldn't be as porductive as I am with two screens :(

  • Is there any way to keep the host monitor on when remote desktop is active???

  • I have a 3 monitor setup. Is there a way to use just two monitors for remote desktop and use third one for host desktop. I tried limiting number of monitors to two on remote machine but then it uses only one monitor. If I set it to 3 then it uses all monitors.

  • I've been researching the various blog posts and haven't found a solution that will allow me to use both monitors from my client machine.  The client is win7Ultimate with 2 monitors (1280x800 each) and I'm connecting to a windows 7 professional workstation with 2 monitors. I disconnected the second monitor on the remote machine to see if I could get multimon to work.  I checked 'use all my monitors for the remote session' but the session is only available on one monitor at a time. I used /span and was able to get the session to extend to both monitors on the client, but as described in other blogs, this is nothing new.  It would be great if someone would update the FAQ article on RDP to explicitly call out what client/remote configurations will support the multimon feature. It would be AWESOME if a newer version of mstsc.exe was released which supported multiple client monitors without all of the guesswork.  Thanks for taking the time to read this exhaustive post, and please help! - Sean H

  • SeanZH:

    Did you find an answer to this?

    I have a work/workstation running Win7Prof with 2 monitors, and a home machine with Win7Prof with 2 monitors... From home I cannot get to the 2nd work monitor... I've tried the various switches.

  • We are using Win7 and checking the box to Use all my monitors fro the remote session but users are reporting blank screens. We can reproduce the problem as follows: the user logs on for the first time and all is great. They log off then the next logon the desktop is blank and the taskbar unresponsive. The user has to disconnect since this is the only way they can get out. The user connects again and their desktop is populated and working as it should.  If we uncheck the box then logons are always normal. Any suggestions?

  • When I use both of the methods above to limit the maximum number of monitors on a RDP session with Server 2008R2, I only get one monitor.    I have three total monitors.  When I select uss all monitors and connect, it goes to all three.    When I go in and change the maximum number to 2 monitors, I only get ONE of the three and not two?   Got the same results with both methods above.

  • windows.microsoft.com/.../Remote-Desktop-Connection-frequently-asked-questions

  • Multimon only works for Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise Editions.  Two years afer this blog post went up, I wasted a couple of hours trying to make this work on Windows 7 Professional edition.  I add my voice to the chorus:  Put the system requirement right up front.  "To use this feature, you must..."  How many wasted hours have to be lost before it matters?

    Kuduos to: randomascii.wordpress.com/.../remote-desktop-multimon-just-kidding

Page 6 of 7 (103 items) «34567