Vista Remote Desktop Client Available on XP: Now with Multi-Monitor Support

Back in October, I wrote about how excited I was to learn that the new Remote Desktop (RDP) client that comes with Windows Vista supports ClearType.  With the hack I wrote about, I was able to run the Vista RDP client on my home XP machine to use my work laptop on one of my two flat-panel monitors.  This is nice because I can seamlessly go from working on my home machine to my work laptop just by moving the mouse from one monitor to the other.

Since writing about the hack, the updated Vista RDP client was officially released for Windows XP via Microsoft Update as an optional download.  You can now pick that up here.

While I've been happy using the new RDP client to work on my laptop through one of my flat-panel monitors, it only lets me use one of those monitors.  It would be nice if I could 'maximize' the remote window to span across both monitors instead of just one.

Over the weekend, I made another cool discovery by chance.  While troubleshooting an un-related connectivity problem in the RDP help file, I stumbled upon the fact that the new Vista RDP client supports multiple monitors!

It's not easy to find this feature.  The only way to access this feature is to invoke the RDP client via the command line with a switch.  You can create a special shortcut in Windows XP or Vista to launch the Remote Desktop client in multi-monitor mode by doing the following:

  1. "Right-click" anywhere on the desktop and select "New->Shortcut".
  2. When the "Create Shortcut" dialog appears, enter "mstsc.exe /span" into the location textbox, then click "Next".
  3. Give the shortcut a name, such as "Remote Desktop Multi-Monitor", then click "Okay".

That's it.  This is way cool!  So now I'm using my new Dell work laptop via my dual monitor setup at home.  Now if only they can get it to support the Aero interface across the remote connection on XP, then I'd be set!  (I am aware that you can get Aero via the RDP client, but only if the local machine is running Vista w/Aero too).

Skip to main content