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Quicktip: Windows Remote Desktop – Screen size

Remote Desktop
Do you use Windows Remote Desktop to connect to other computers? If you work in an environment with a lot of servers/machines, chances are you do this constantly.
Typically, you will click on the Remote Desktop icon and you get a screen that looks the one shown below.

It asks you for a computer/server name to connect to. You type in the address and click connect, you get the login window for the remote machine. You type those in and click OK, you will be looking at the other machine’s desktop on your PC. Great tool to have, if you are dealing with multiple machines and you don’t want to get up and go to the other one (what if it that is in the other coast or across the oceans?) or you don’t need multiple monitors.

The display issue
I have one pet peeve about this software. I don’t know about you, but the most annoying thing for me, when using this application, is the display size. Often times, the windows gets scrunched in a corner or too big for the current (host machine’s) display. In this case, you will have to constantly scroll up and down to get to the Start button/task bar and the top of the file you are editing. With so many varied size of monitors available, it seems to be an endless fight!

Where is the start button and the task bar??
Here are some ways to fix that. Actually, Remote Desktop program does offer screen resolution adjustment. This may work for you.

Adjusting the Display size in Remote Desktop program (mstsc)
If you pay attention there is a “Options” button on the left. If you click on this button and go to Display option, you will the below screen.

Here you have an option to make it Full screen (just slide down to the right).

This typically, fixes the issue. After you do this, your remote desktop screen come in full screen, so you won’t the problem mentioned above.

Even if it looks like it is set to Large, try changing it and change back to Large, that may fix the issue.

What if that didn’t help?

But, in reality above tip may not always work. This is where I found the tips in below site very helpful.

5 tips for fixing Remote Desktop Screen settings

We have been clicking on the Remote Desktop icon blindly, that we forget that the program (mstsc*) takes parameters. Try forcing it to open in Fullscreen mode always, by adding it to the shortcut you click for Remote Desktop.

mstsc* /f

Or if you want a specfic size, you can pass in the preferred height and witdth.

mstsc* /H:980 /W:1924

(The actual height and width you use may be different for you. I have a wide monitor).

Alternatively, you can actually save these settings (Save button On the General tab) into a .RDP file and use that to connect to the remote machine. RDP file is actually a text file!! You can edit the settings. You edit the below settings to reolve the display size issue:

DesktopHeight:i:980
Desktopwidth:i:1924

Again these are for my screen. Change to suit your need.

After you do this, hopefully you never again have to do the endless scrolling up and down in Remote Desktop! Here is my rescued Start menu!

See here for more about the program and its parameters.

* In case you are wondering what is mstsc, it is the Remote desktop program on Windows. MSCTSC refers Microsoft Terminal Services Client, probably left over from earlier times. They keep changing the “name/description” of these programs, to keep you guessing!


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