Multimon RDP sessions with Windows 7

Anyone looked closely at the new RDP client software in the Windows 7 Beta?  Well, there’s an interesting new checkbox on the Display tab just below the screen size slider bar.  My laptop technically has two monitors at the moment.  It is connected to a KVM switch with a large LCD screen, and of course there’s the laptop 15.4” LCD screen which is no slouch either.

If you have a similar configuration, span your desktop across both monitors using the image key combination.  You’ll notice this nifty new hotkey sequence lets you pick and choose what is displayed and on what devices.  After you have selected to span the desktop, the checkbox will be enabled for the RDP tool.

Launch the RDP tool and go to the Display tab.  This checkbox should now be available to your RDP sessions.

This should prove very helpful in a variety of situations.  I can see where this will come in extremely handy for developers using virtual machine environments where the entire application and dev toolset is in the VM.  I’m sure you can think of all sorts of other scenarios where this will be handy as well.

Credit for the tip goes to Michael J. Mahoney.


[UPDATE for 1/17/2009]  The screenshot above is multimon RDP in action.  I cropped the picture.  Sorry it’s a little ugly and fuzzy since I was holding the camera and not using my tripod. The machine that established the RDP session is a quad core Dell XPS 420 running Windows 7 Beta 1.  The other end of the connection is a Lenovo ThinkPad T61p running Windows 7 Beta 1.  If you click the pic to see the picture super sized, you’ll notice I have IE8 on the 24” monitor to the left.  I have the file explorer splitting both monitors.  The 27” monitor on the right is my primary monitor so you see the taskbar for the RDP machine, the RDP session bar at the top, and the properties for the machine we are RDP’d into.  Aero doesn’t work.  I don’t know if it ever will in this configuration.

[UPDATE for 1/20/2009]  It was pointed out to me by a couple of people that this feature is not new and has been around since Windows Vista RTM’d.  I think I knew that, but like many of you probably forgot about it because there was no UI and I’ve never really had a big burning need for it.  But David John pointed out that the two features are actually different.  The /span command line arg behaves differently.

The checkbox is new so now it will get noticed.  David also indicated that this feature only works Win7<->Win7 and Win7<->Win2008R2.  There is some debate if Windows Vista works.  Anyone have this working with Vista?

Comments (6)

  1. Gary says:

    tried that the oter day across my network. surprised me that i could even watch tv on the remote session by firing up wintv.

  2. tobkra says:

    Having two monitors, I tried the setting right away. And by the way, "mstsc /span" should enable it as well.

    However, I assume there must be Windows 7 on client and server sides?

    I had no luck connecting from W7 to a Windows Server 2008.



  3. ankit5 says:

    This only apply to Win7 client. You can’t rdp from Windows 2008 R2 to a Win7 client and have multimon

  4. Keith Combs says:

    Ankit, you say that with such conviction like it’s always going to be the case.

    I am actually checking to see what the plan is for the supported endpoints.

  5. Murray Wall says:

    You want to see a great new app in Windows 7, look at the Improvements they have made in Calc, its absolutely worth it just for that 😉

  6. Keith Combs says:

    LOL.  Wait til you see Paint !!!

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