November 05, 2017

Zoom Windows 10 Remote Desktop connections to older versions of Windows to improve your experience on a hi-DPI client display.

NOTE: This is an old post. To learn about RDS in Windows Server 2016, please visit our documentation page

Hello, my name is Ravi Ashok and I work on the Remote Desktop team. I am writing today about a new feature in the Remote Desktop (RD) client on Windows 10 that one of our MVPs, Freek Berson, recently blogged about.
We received a lot of customer feedback on remoting experiences using a high resolution or hi-DPI client device. Namely, connecting to older operating system versions such as Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 causes the display content to appear very small and hard to read. With Windows 8.1 and beyond, this problem was solved with support for host-side dynamic display scaling (details here), but challenges with remoting to older Windows versions on hi-DPI client devices remain. In Windows 10 we have provided a way for the user to zoom their session display on the client, making content more readable and the session usable.
Let’s say I am using a 4K monitor and my local display settings are set to 200% DPI. If I connect over RDP to a host running Windows 7, the session will be presented at 100% DPI, making the display items small and potentially unreadable.
Figure 1. Compared to the text and icons on the desktop of my hi-DPI display, the items displayed in the remote session are very small and hard to read.
With RDP 10, the Session Zoom option scales the session display on the client machine. Simply navigate to the system menu in your remote session window and select a zoom level under “Zoom”.
Figure 2. The session zoom option can be found in the system menu in the remote session window.
Figure 3. With the 200% zoom option selected, the session display is scaled on the client machine, bringing text and icons to the same size as seen locally (local display setting is at 200% DPI).
With the session zoomed in, the text becomes larger and more readable. Icons, such as the Recycling Bin icon on the desktop, are comparable in size to the to those on my local desktop. Since the session is being scaled on your client machine, the display will not necessarily be crisp and clear as seen with host-side scaling, but Session Zoom offers better readability and usability with remote sessions on older versions of Windows.
Thanks for reading!
The Remote Desktop app is also available on your other devices running Windows 8.1iOSMac OS X, and Android.

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