How to improve Remote Desktop Protocol Performance

Posted February 1, 2011 by Ben in Windows 7, Windows networking

Improve your experience with Remote Desktop Protocol when accessing your Windows Terminal Services or Windows Desktop. This will help correct typing delays, for example.

Many people use Remote Desktop to access Windows Desktops every day. Many of us have been doing this for too long to remember. Nevertheless, most do not bother to look at the settings in the Remote Desktop Client to customize and improve the performance when working remotely.

This applies especially to connections made over the Internet, a VPN connection, or to a busy Terminal Server. Also, connections to Terminal Services from older WYSE terminals will be greatly improved.

Have you ever experienced severe typing delays? Read on…

1. Open the Remote Desktop Client. On Windows 7, simply hit the Windows key, start typing remote desktop, and hit enter. You can also find it under Programs > Accessories on most recent Windows versions.

2. In the “Display” tab (you’ll have to select “Options…”), crank the Color Depth down to 15 (aka “thousands”) or 16-bit depending on your preference. The lower the color settings the faster the connection.

3. In the “Local Resources” tab, un-check Printers and set Audio to “Do not play”. If you require the ability to print to your locally attached printer or need to hear audio, ignore my suggestions accordingly. Note that un-checking Printers is also especially useful to reduce the overhead involved with making the destination Terminal Server attempt to install your printers (and sometimes cause the spooler service to crash). The less additional “channels” (resources) that you connect the faster the connection.

4. In the “Experience” tab, un-check all options except Bitmap caching. All other options consume extra bandwidth, and offer little benefit for most users of Remote Desktop. This is possibly the most important change to make, as items such as “Themes” can quadruple the bandwidth consumption under the right circumstances.

5. Back in the “General” tab, enter your destination computername and select connect as usual. Enjoy the faster connection!

Note that, as mentioned, these settings also apply to WYSE terminals, but the means of getting to them is slightly different.

Of course, you can also do the same with your Mac if using the Microsoft “Remote Desktop Connection for Mac” Client. Just look under Preferences…

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