Solving Remote Desktop problems on Windows 10

Remote Desktop is great thing when it works but with Windows 10 I usually see one problem after another. I decided to write up some tricks I need pretty often when RDP is going crazy on some Windows 10 box. Nothing special but I hope I save some people hours of time on trying out different tricks found in internet.

Full screen RDP shows local taskbar in foreground

This is one of the most annoying bugs. RDP is opened full screen but what local taskbar is shown instead of remote machine one. It’s possible to see remote machine taskbar only if RDP window is not maximized. Solution is simple – we need to restart Windows Explorer.

  1. Open Task Manager on local machine
  2. Find WIndows Explorer from processes list
  3. Right-click on it
  4. Select Restart
  5. Connect to remote machine again

RDP connection to remote machine is very slow

Another show-stopper is slow connection to Windows 10 machines over RDP. It doesn’t seem to happen with all machines but there are always some with issue. It doesn’t matter if connection is made from local network or over internet – when’ it’s slow, it’s just slow. Based on John D’s Tech Site article Remote Desktop slow problem solved it’s an old bug haunting around in Windows from version to version since Windows Vista.

For me it worked when I ran the command on both Windows 10 machines.

  1. Open command prompt in administrative permissions
  2. Run the following command: netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=highlyrestricted
  3. Close command prompt

For me things worked out without restarting machines. The effect was immediate.

Connecting from high-resolution to low-resolution machines

Modern laptops come with damn good displays and it can be problematic to use remote machine with lower screen resolution. Everything is very small and sometimes it’s almost impossible to read the screen. There is RDP client available at Windows Store and usually end users are okay with it. Tech crowd needs different solution usually.

  1. Open Windows Explorer and move to c:\windows\system32\
  2. Check if there is file called mstsc.exe.manifest and if file doesn’t exist create it
  3. Paste the following XML to this file:

    <asmv3:application>
      <asmv3:windowsSettings xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/SMI/2005/WindowsSettings">
        <ms_windowsSettings:dpiAware xmlns:ms_windowsSettings="http://schemas.microsoft.com/SMI/2005/WindowsSettings">false</ms_windowsSettings:dpiAware>
      </asmv3:windowsSettings>
    </asmv3:application>
  4. Save file and connect to some remote server again.

It doesn’t work for all applications on remote servers but most of applications I need there are well usable after this little hack.

Solution for poor WiFi adapters

I have come machines connected to network over WiFi as cables doesn’t reach these machines. Interesting thing is that also WiFi adapters can be problem although when sitting at machines we don’t notice anything. I have some machines connected to network over WiFi as there is no cabling to rooms where the machines are located. So, it’s straight connection over WiFi like shown on image below.

Machines connected to main router over WiFi

With some of these machines I had issues also after applying fixes described above. Not always but sometimes RDP connections got slow and then dropped. Few times I was not able to connect to those machines until I restarted RDP service. Sometimes WiFi connection went down and adapter started work again when I restarted machine.

These issues made me think about possibility of low quality WiFi adapters in machines. Okay, one machine has also expensive one but still ran into adapter issues. Working solution was short in the dark – I just thought maybe it works as routers have usually more stable hardware due to different network work loads. I connected problematic machines to my old WRT-54G with cables. Then I configured old router as wireless client bridge that connects to main router over WiFi. Viola! My problems got solved.

Machines connected to main router using client bridge

Network slow-down! Router-to-router wireless connection doesn’t come for free. Connection speed drops twice. Before client bridge I had 40 Mbps connection between machines and main router. After setting up client bridge connection speed went down to 20 Mbps.

Use client bridge and other router-to-router wireless solution only when anything else doesn’t work.

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Gunnar Peipman

Gunnar Peipman is ASP.NET, Azure and SharePoint fan, Estonian Microsoft user group leader, blogger, conference speaker, teacher, and tech maniac. Since 2008 he is Microsoft MVP specialized on ASP.NET.

    2 thoughts on “Solving Remote Desktop problems on Windows 10

    • October 18, 2019 at 8:57 pm
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      When I RPD I can not get the local task bar to show back up over top the RPD. I run 3 monitors and if I have the RPD full screen on my main screen, clicking on a program on one of the other monitors will not bring the task bar of my local machine up. I want my local hidden when focus is on the remote, but I want my local taskbar to be there when focus is on my local programs.

    • October 20, 2019 at 9:55 pm
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      I have no idea how to solve this problem. I have seen problems with taskbar coming and going over Windows Update. I think it’s some small devil somewhere in registry details but I’m not sure.

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