Remote Desktop: /span across multiple monitors

I spent some time searching the web about Remote Desktop, fullscreen and multiple monitors, so I decided to write down my findings to avoid having to search for them again.

/span for multiple monitors

If you pass /span to mstsc.exe, the target session’s desktop will become a huge rectangle that equals to the summary area of your physical monitors. This way the remote desktop window will fill all of your screens. The downside of this approach is that both screens are part of one desktop on the remote machine, so if you maximize a window there, it will span all of your monitors. Also, a dialog that is centered, will show up right on the border between your monitors. There is software on the web to workaround that but I’m fine with keeping my windows restored and sizing them myself. Also Tile Vertically works just fine in this case.

Saving the /span option in the .rdp file

There is a hidden option that isn’t mentioned in the description of the .rdp format:

span monitors:i:1

Just add it at the bottom of the file.

Saving the /f (fullscreen) option in the .rdp file

screen mode id:i:2

(By default it’s screen mode id:i:1, which is windowed).


Comments (25)
  1. Phil Bolduc says:

    Using SplitView in this case is highly recommended.

    When remote desktop with span, Windows think you have one large desktop, makes maximizing windows a real pain.

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  3. Bob says:

    Does not work for me.  I have XP prof ver 2002 SP3 and MSTSC.exe version 6.0.6001.18000.  I am connecting to my PC at work that has two monitors.  I have not seen a way to scroll or switch between monitors.

  4. Pete Smith says:

    Hi Kirill,

    Thanks for posting span monitors:i:1.

    I was trying to use span:i:1 and getting a bit frustrated. You saved the day!

  5. Donoho says:

    A year and a half later and your post is still saving the day… or at the very least making it more bearable.  Thanks

  6. Alex says:

    If you connnect to a Windows 7 machine you get real multi-monitor support

  7. Doug says:

    @Alex – that is not entirely true.  multi-monitor support is really only for Ultimate (or Enterprise or 2008-server).  Check the microsoft FAQ on the topic: (you have to expand the section "Which editions of Windows 7 include multiple-monitor support for Remote Desktop Connection?")…/Remote-Desktop-Connection-frequently-asked-questions

    I am VERY disappointed by this!

  8. Chris says:

    The only thing you haven't mentioned is how to add these setting to the file.

  9. Chris – open the file in notepad and edit manually.

  10. Roope says:

    3,5 years after posting… still saved the day. Thanks!

  11. gary says:

    /span does not work for me when I'm using windows 8 pro cp and windows 7 pro to connect to windows 7 PC.

    both the target and the source have dual monitors.

    the result is a single monitor display on the source

  12. peter says:

    dont see this mentioned anywhere here, so I'll add that /span only works if both your target monitors are exactly the same geometry as each other

  13. Aaron says:

    The /span option only works with XP and Server 2003. With Server 2008 / vista and later, RDP uses multimon, which is in the Display options of the RD Connection. In order for multiple monitors to work with XP, Server 2003, you must have RDP 6.0 or above and Server 2003 has a Windows Hotfix and/or a registry key to add.…/64

  14. atAaron says:

    not true. works just fine on win7 and multimon does nothing.

  15. SamWise says:

    This needs to be updated as "/multimon" is much better and depreciated SplitView. mstsc /multimon allows multiple monitors with no windows re sizing issues. Monitors and windows are laid out just like they are in a mutliple monitor desktop using remote desktop.

  16. Ron says:

    Note that the multimon switch and “use all my monitors on the remote session” option ONLY work when the remote computer is running Windows 7 ultimate or enterprise edition, or Windows server 2008 R2. Use Span option when the remote is running on the windows not listed.

  17. Alison says:

    Thanks man!! I had spanmonitors:i:1 and buggered around for hours trying to figure out why it wasn't working. Put a freaking space in there!!!

  18. AJ says:

    /multimon does not work for me.

    XP SP3

    MSTC – 6.0.6001

  19. Devogen says:

    Clarifcation Post: you have open the .rdp file (save as to desktop)and edit in notepad, add Span Monitors:i:1 as the last line and change the resolution to fill both monitors (two 1280×800 would be 2560×800)

  20. Zokah says:

    Five years later, and you are STILL saving the day at work. Thanks!

  21. Darrell says:

    Thanks for this man!…5 years later and you still got the S on the chest.

  22. Lars Panzerbjørn says:

    Oddly, /multimon works when I connect to a Windows 2008 server, but not when I connect to a Windows 7 Ping ro VM…

    Is there something that needs to be configured on the Windows 7 machine?

    /span works fine, but it's a hassle…

  23. Lars Panzerbjørn says:

    Nevermind, just discovered it doesn't work on Pro…

  24. Tony Be says:

    The Max Resolution for 2 monitors up and 2 down is 4080 x 2040 Although if you have 8 Screens as I do (using 6 HP USB To DVI Graphics MultiView Adapters NL571AA

    You can position the screens on top of each other but the max across is 4080 x2040 not 8160 as you would think. if you go past those numbers it will not work.


    screen mode id:i:1

    use multimon:i:0



    session bpp:i:32






    connection type:i:2


    disable wallpaper:i:1

    allow font smoothing:i:0

    allow desktop composition:i:1

    disable full window drag:i:1

    disable menu anims:i:1

    disable themes:i:0

    disable cursor setting:i:0


    full address:s:mrsmith-pc








    autoreconnection enabled:i:1

    authentication level:i:2

    prompt for credentials:i:0

    negotiate security layer:i:1


    alternate shell:s:

    shell working directory:s:






    use redirection server name:i:0

    1. Deanna Sarkar says:

      Thank you so much!!!! This is what I needed to be able to drag my apps to my second monitor

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