Saturday, December 6, 2014

Remote Desktop (RDP) resolution tweaks

It's been five years since I last posted to this blog. What has been happening during all those years? I guess I just didn't have anything new to write about.
Anyway, here's something new: the Remote Desktop (RDP) resolution changes. The "core wisdom" is the following:

screen mode id:i:1
smart sizing:i:1

And here's the use case: imagine you have a laptop whose native resolution is 1600 x 900, and you need to connect with a remote computer using the Windows "Remote desktop" utility, but you *really* need to run 1920 x 1080 on the host computer (for example because you need to run an application that can only be started in Full HD). What do you do?

  • First, change the line screen mode id:i:2 to screen mode id:i:1, if it isn't this way already. The "2" at the end means "run Remote Desktop in full screen" and it will make the host computer always use the resolution of the guest, regardless of other settings.
  • Second, change the desktopwidth and desktopheight to your desired resolution.
  • This is enough to run the host in the desired resolution. If your guest resolution is lower then the one set with desktopwidth and desktopheight, you will get scrollbars in the Remote Desktop application's window:

    Sometimes this is what you want, but if you want to see the whole desktop at the cost of scaling and poorer quality, you need to add the last change:

  • Add a new setting smart sizing:i:1.
  • This will make the program scale the host resolution to the current size of the Remote desktop application:

    You can even drag the borders of the window to shrink or enlarge the window, and the host's desktop will be scaled accordingly:


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