remote desktop - How to get back the 8bit (256) color on RDP with Windows 8?

19
2014-04
  • Royi Namir

    Until recently (until I updated to Windows 8), I had Windows 7.

    I had an *.rdp file which I could edit its session bpp value to 8, which implies using 256 colors mode when remote desktop is on.

    Brief look at the RDP file:

    ...
    screen mode id:i:1
    use multimon:i:0
    desktopwidth:i:1366
    desktopheight:i:768
    session bpp:i:8     <<-------------------(in Windows 7, this worked)
    ...
    

    However, now, after installing Windows 8, this does not work and I still see my host computer in high resolution. I don't want the 15 bit. I want 256 colors.

    I couldn't find any solution which is working on Windows 8.

    This is the full file content:

    screen mode id:i:1
    use multimon:i:0
    desktopwidth:i:1366
    desktopheight:i:768
    session bpp:i:8
    winposstr:s:0,1,1136,101,1936,701
    compression:i:1
    keyboardhook:i:2
    audiocapturemode:i:0
    videoplaybackmode:i:1
    connection type:i:2
    displayconnectionbar:i:1
    disable wallpaper:i:1
    allow font smoothing:i:0
    allow desktop composition:i:0
    disable full window drag:i:1
    disable menu anims:i:1
    disable themes:i:0
    disable cursor setting:i:0
    bitmapcachepersistenable:i:1
    full address:s:dalida.dyndns.biz:443
    audiomode:i:2
    redirectprinters:i:0
    redirectcomports:i:0
    redirectsmartcards:i:1
    redirectclipboard:i:1
    redirectposdevices:i:0
    redirectdirectx:i:1
    autoreconnection enabled:i:1
    authentication level:i:2
    prompt for credentials:i:0
    negotiate security layer:i:1
    remoteapplicationmode:i:0
    alternate shell:s:
    shell working directory:s:
    gatewayhostname:s:
    gatewayusagemethod:i:4
    gatewaycredentialssource:i:4
    gatewayprofileusagemethod:i:0
    promptcredentialonce:i:1
    use redirection server name:i:0
    drivestoredirect:s:
    
  • Answers
  • Michael McGarrah

    There appears to be a discussion on this in the a windows technet forum. The issue sounds like it might be related to a default group policy that keeps the color depth above 15bpp by default. Modifying the policy may allow for changing the color depth below 15bpp.

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/1a9be361-312e-4435-a53d-f9b525bc23c3/windows-7-remote-desktop-client-cannot-set-display-at-256-colors

    Also, change the rdp session to be compatible with older versions of Windows to enable the most likely to support the older color depths.

    I'm interested if this helps with the problem you found but I don't have a Windows 8 system to test on.

  • Vadzim

    I was able to workaround 8-bit color problem by connecting to nested windows server 2012 terminal session from another terminal session to windows server 2003 in 256 colors mode. Both servers located in the same gigabit network.

    But this still doesn't resolve lags as windows server 2012 (also as windows 8) uses too many gradients in icons and backgrounds that cause everything to look ugly and work sluggish over low bandwidth remote connection.

    So we need to find a way to override windows 8/2012 color scheme to be 8-bit friendly and websafe. Without this unlikely possible change, 8-bit color mode is of no use.


  • Related Question

    true dual monitor rdp connection on windows 7
  • user26159

    I am trying to RDP from a Windows 7 Professional dual monitor physical machine to a Windows 7 Professional VM hosted on esxi 4.0.

    I can get the spanning option to work to both monitors, but I have tried 3 different methods of connecting but have not been able to use true multiple monitors.

    At different times, I tried checking the "use all monitors" option, command line mstsc /multimon and added the line use multimon:i:1 to the .rdp file. None of these worked. Any ideas? The physical machine can connect to other Windows 7 physical machines with true multi monitor access.

    I also have the same issue when going from a 32-bit RC1 machine to a Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, but not when going in the reverse direction. Here's the .rdp:

    screen mode id:i:2
    use multimon:i:1
    desktopwidth:i:1440
    desktopheight:i:900
    session bpp:i:16
    winposstr:s:0,1,341,118,1139,568
    compression:i:1
    keyboardhook:i:2
    audiocapturemode:i:0
    videoplaybackmode:i:1
    connection type:i:1
    displayconnectionbar:i:1
    disable wallpaper:i:1
    allow font smoothing:i:0
    allow desktop composition:i:0
    disable full window drag:i:1
    disable menu anims:i:1
    disable themes:i:1
    disable cursor setting:i:0
    bitmapcachepersistenable:i:1
    full address:s:192.168.1.5
    audiomode:i:0
    redirectprinters:i:1
    redirectcomports:i:0
    redirectsmartcards:i:1
    redirectclipboard:i:1
    redirectposdevices:i:0
    redirectdirectx:i:1
    autoreconnection enabled:i:1
    authentication level:i:2
    prompt for credentials:i:0
    negotiate security layer:i:1
    remoteapplicationmode:i:0
    alternate shell:s:
    shell working directory:s:
    gatewayhostname:s:
    gatewayusagemethod:i:4
    gatewaycredentialssource:i:4
    gatewayprofileusagemethod:i:0
    promptcredentialonce:i:1
    use redirection server name:i:0
    drivestoredirect:s:
    

  • Related Answers
  • Shinrai

    Very, very after the fact, but I saw this had never been answered...

    The functionality you're looking for (which normally just requires checking the 'Use all monitors' box) ONLY works if the target machine is running Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise (or Windows Server 2008 R2). This is one of the few legitimate differences between Professional and Ultimate.

    Note that it doesn't matter what version is on the machine used to manage the remote session, only the target machine (although it needs to be new enough to support this, I think Vista and higher.)