RemoteApp Dual Monitor Setup

RemoteApp is a cool feature of 2008/2008 R2 that allows a user to establish a remote session with just the application they’re working with.  Multiple applications can be used at once (on one or multiple remote servers).  This is a technology called “presentation virtualization”.  Citrix offers this capability, but Citrix is also fairly pricey.

A number of months back I set up a RemoteApp server (with the RD Web Access feature, which allows users to access RemoteApp apps from a web browser anywhere they go) for an employee who was moving but was going to still be working with the company.  I was tasked with setting her up to work remotely.  Given my miniscule budget, this was one of my only options, as a direct connection back to the office (or even an internet connection for both the remote worker’s home and the office) that was fast enough to support transferring the needed files we work with daily was just too darn expensive.

One of the things that my co-workers enjoy is the ability to use dual monitors to work more productively.  It is possible to do this with RemoteApp, as well.    There are a few requirements for this to work, however.

  1. All monitors must be the same resolution.
  2. Upper-left (or just left, if you only have two monitors) monitor must be the “primary display”.  This can be specified by going into the screen resolution settings.
  3. The total resolution (of all monitors) must not exceed 4096×2048 (4096 across by 2048 high).

I had a user today who was unable to use both of her displays for accessing the RemoteApp server.  I checked the settings listed above, and all were correct.  However, it appears that you need a certain function of the Remote Desktop Connection application (mstsc) to properly display with multiple monitors in a RemoteApp session.  For whatever reason, this user was running an outdated version of this program.  I installed KB969084 on her machine, rebooted, and mult-monitors worked like a champ.  Now to figure out why WSUS didn’t install that update automatically on her machine…

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