Windows 7 Remote Desktop and Multiple Monitors

It’s safe to say I’m a multiple monitor fan. It’s a setup I’ve been using for a long time and I really notice the difference when I have to use a single screen. (I use three in the office and two at home)

Working remotely though can have an impact on this.

Up until the recently the only option for multiple monitors was span mode.

From the run dialog enter:

MSTSC /span

When you connect, the screens you’re using are treated as one huge entity. It’s a subtle difference that still makes use of your extra screens but you lose some of the benefits you get when managing multiple windows. For example, if you maximise an application it fills both screens instead of just the one. Some of the nice Windows 7 features such as “snap” don’t work in the same way either.

So because of this I was really interested in the “Use all my monitors for the remote session” option in the latest version of the Remote Desktop Connection client.


However, just ticking the box doesn’t seem to do anything.

You can also use MSTSC /multimon if you’re so inclined.

After a bit of digging it turns out that it’s reliant on the RDP 8.0 protocol which needs to be specifically turned on.

To enable RDP 8 in Windows 7:

Install updates KB2574819 and KB2592687 on the Windows 7 system you’ll be connecting to. If you’re connecting from Windows 7 machine install them there too. Windows 8 is good to go without any changes.

Enable RDP 8 via group

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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6 thoughts on “Windows 7 Remote Desktop and Multiple Monitors

  • It is useful. But it can also be a pain when you RDP into a server, if you flick back and forth to articles and things – personally i prefer to keep one screen local and one in the rdp. With the dual monitor RDP you end up having to run the RDP windowed and resize it.

    You could turn it off i guess, but where is the fun in that?

  • Hey Rob

    Yeah I agree there won’t be too many reasons for using this when connecting to a server as an admin but I’ll certainly use it for working on my office PC

    Also users that connect to Remote Desktop Servers that are used to working with multiple screens could get some mileage from the feature too 🙂

  • Hi,
    I have a 3 monitor client, and I want to use 2 of them to control my server (1 is not enough for me, and all three would force me to keep minimizing/maximizing)?

  • So – if I have Windows 7 Pro on the computer I want to remote into there is no way to use the multiple monitor function or will the updates you gave make that possible? Was a little confused by that. Thanks!

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