High DPI issues with Remote Desktop in Windows 10 [Fix]

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Remote Desktop is an ancient and nifty Windows tool that can make your life so much easier in many regards. With it, you can manipulate more than one Desktop via the internet connection. However, it’s not without its problems, especially when it comes to secondary monitors and DPI scaling.

For example, let’s say that you use a high-DPI monitor and try to duplicate it to monitor with lower DPI. An alternative monitor will project small icons, blurry screen, and barely readable interface. In addition, it’s hard to address this issue with built-in system tools.

Luckily, there’s always a solution. Or multiple solutions, in this case. So, if you’ve experienced issues with DPI on your Windows 10 PC, follow the instructions below to resolve them successfully.

How to resolve DPI issues with Remote Desktop Protocol on Windows 10

  1. Update your system
  2. Log off prior to connecting
  3. Use Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Manager 2.7
  4. Use Manifest file

1. Update your system

The first thing you should do is to make sure that your system is up to date. Additionally, all drivers need to be on point in order to experience optimal DPI transfer to an alternative, remote monitor. Some users reported certain DPI issues after the major updates, so there’s a chance that these and similar problems may get resolved with the upcoming patches and cumulative updates.

So, make sure to install all of the updates that are provided trough Windows Update and hope for the best.

2. Log off prior to connecting

Another thing that’s quite important when it comes to any hardware changes, especially the ones related to monitors, is to log off before you connect peripheral devices. So, log off, connect everything and log in again. That should resolve some of the DPI problems inflicted by changes of the hardware configuration.

In addition, make sure that everything is set as it should by following the instructions provided by the Remote Desktop Assistant application.

3. Use Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Manager 2.7

Remote Desktop Connection Manager 2.7 is another tool provided by Microsoft that should help you set up remote access to the alternative monitor. This tool should provide you with better support for multiple monitors, which is frequently the cause of the problem. Namely, if you use multiple secondary monitors, there’s a great chance that the DPI will have issues due to frequent configuration changes.

This tool can be found and downloaded here.

4. Use Manifest file

DPI Scaling is a universal problem that’s occasionally hard to address due to system limitations of Windows 10. However, tech savvy and knowledgeable folks always get the alternative solution. Thanks to a wide-spread community, we obtained one solution that should help you resolve any DPI scaling issues, by creating an external manifest file. This procedure demands some registry tweaks so make sure to backup your registry before we start with the steps.

Once you’ve backed up your registry, follow the instructions below to make the needed changes:

  1. In the Search Windows bar, type regedit.
  2. Right-click Registry Editor and Run as administrator.
  3. Navigate to HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionSideBySide.
  4. Right-click in the right pane and choose NEW > DWORD (32 bit) Value.
  5. Name the newly created value PreferExternalManifest.
  6. Right-click PreferExternalManifest and choose Modify.
  7. Select Decimal and change Value Data to 1.
  8. Confirm changes and close the Registry Editor.

Now, after we dealt with Registry, download the manifest file from here. Additionally, you can create it manually by copying this command list into Notepad:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″ standalone=”yes”?>

<assembly xmlns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1″ manifestVersion=”1.0″ xmlns:asmv3=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v3″>

<dependency>
<dependentAssembly>
<assemblyIdentity
type=”win32″
name=”Microsoft.Windows.Common-Controls”
version
=”6.0.0.0″ processorArchitecture=”*”
publicKeyToken=”6595b64144ccf1df”
language=”*”>
</assemblyIdentity>
</dependentAssembly>
</dependency>

<dependency>
<dependentAssembly>
<assemblyIdentity
type=”win32″
name=”Microsoft.VC90.CRT”
version
=”9.0.21022.8″
processorArchitecture=”amd64″
publicKeyToken=”1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b”>
</assemblyIdentity>
</dependentAssembly>
</dependency>

<trustInfo xmlns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v3″>
<security>
<requestedPrivileges>
<requestedExecutionLevel
level=”asInvoker”
uiAccess=”false”/>
</requestedPrivileges>
</security>
</trustInfo>

<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>

</assembly>

Save the file and name it mstsc.exe.manifest. After you’ve done that, copy the file to this location:

  • C:WindowsSystem32

Restart your PC and check for changes with the DPI scaling. This should resolve your problems. Additionally, some users reported registry changes that occurred after an update and rendered this workaround unusable. What you got to do in that situation is to just repeat the steps we presented above and you should be good to go.

With that, we conclude this article. If you have any questions or alternative workarounds that solved the problem for you, make sure to tell us in the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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