Convenient Remote Desktop window without Citrix
Это английская версия статьи 'Нормальное окно терминала без Citrix'а''.
When you are running a program on remote desktop, its window appears in some unusual way - minimizes, leaving a blank screen, covers entire screen, or leaves black areas at right and left edges of a screen on wide display. This article is about how to avoid it.

The problem #1 - remote desktop session covers entire screen area, including taskbar. So you do not see ICQ/Skype IM messages, and you need to minimize the RDP window every time you need to switch to another program.

The best solution is to install one of the Citrix products, or at least Windows Server 2008. But what to do if it is not possible?

Please look at the screenshot below:

1С in the remote desktop windows

As you see, the 1C (russian accounting software) runs in remote desktop window, and the taskbar is on its place. This is the client's (not server's) taskbar, because the 'remote desktop' task is present. Of course, it is not a 'published application', but it is still much more convenient than the usual RDP window.


It is very easy to make such window.

The Remote Desktop Connection offers in its settings only standard windows sizes, but it actually support any window size.

Let's study a typical situation. The client has a 17-19 inch LCD monitor with 1280х1024 resolution. A Windows XP is installed.

At first, run the Remote Desktop Connection, make all necessary settings you need to connect to the server (domain, server name, etc.), select Remote Desktop size - 1280х1024 window.

Remote desktop size

Do not connect! Save settings:

Saving connection

to a file, say '1c.rdp'. This file should NOT be in user's sight, so do not place it on the 'Desktop' or 'My Documents', because the user will not run this file directly .

Now open this file with Notepad and search for the string "desktopheight:i:1024":

Editing .rdp file

If you use the "Windows XP" theme (the taskbar looks like):

Windows XP style taskbar

replace 1024 with 964 (1024 - 60)

And if you use "Classic" theme (or if you use Wndows 2000):

Classic style taskbar

replace 1024 with 974 (1024 - 50)

Save the file and make a shortcut to it. In the shortcut properties, select: "Run: maximized":

Shortcut properties

The shortcut should be placed in a convinient place: on the desktop, etc.

Now, double-click the shortcut. If everything is OK, you should see the remote desktop window without scrolling bars at right and bottom. The window should fill the entire screen, allowing only the place for the taskbar at the bottom.

If the RDP window have the scroll bars, or if there is free space on the screen - it means that RDP windows size is set incorrectly.

Terminal windows with scroll bars

It may be due to the non-standard height of the taskbar (the system font or it's size is changed), or some 'always on top' program takes space. This can be solved by changing the 'desktopheight' и 'desktopwidth' in the 1c.rdp file.

After the login to server you should see two taskbars: the client's and the server's. If you do not need the server's desktop, and want to run a specific program, you can set it in the remote desktop connection properties at client:

or server.


The problem #2 - on a large monitor the black areas at the right and left edges of the RDP session appears.

Situation: Windows 2003 Server, Windows XP client, widescreen display with 1680х1050 pixels resolution. The Remote Desktop Size is set to 'Full Screen', but the remote desktop connection window opens with 1600x1050 desktop, and black bands at left and right appears.

A much worse situation is when you pay for te 24" HD 1920x1200 display, but see only the 1600x1200 picture.

Sombody thoughts, that Windows 2003 Server does not support resolution more than 1600x1200, but it is incorrect. It support.

The solution to this problem is very simple - download from the the latest version of the RDP client: Remote Desktop Connection (Terminal Services Client 6.1) for Windows XP (KB952155) - and the black bands will disappear.



Addendum #1 from 23.12.2009

After publishing of this article on, I receive many comments. I am grateful to all, who posts an opinion.

I am especially grateful to metaeditor, who develops the HideRDPxButtoN program, and to JohnyDeath, who tells about it. This program disables the "Close" button (cross) in the top-right corner of the remote desktop connection window (an, of course, the "Close" item of the window menu).

Remote desktop window with Close button disabled

This prevents errors of the users, who accidently clicks on the close button of the RDP window instead of the program,  that runs in the RDP session, that can cause the session to remain on server, or the abnormal shutdown of it.


Обновлено 11.04.2015 20:04
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