Get the best RDP 8.0 experience when connecting to Windows 7: What you need to know

The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) 8.0 update for Windows 7 provides many advantages for the remote work experience; for all the details, see KB2592687.

However, to benefit from the experience enhancements in RDP 8.0, you must configure your client and server correctly, as instructed in KB2592687. So if you want the best RDP 8.0/Windows 7 remote work experience, make sure you do the following three things:

1. Install updates KB2574819 and KB2592687 on the Windows 7 (not Windows Server 2008 R2) system you’ll be connecting to. If you’ll be connecting to this system from a Windows 7 PC, install these updates on that system as well. (If you’re running Windows 8 on your client PC, you’re all set. Sorry, there’s no RDP 8.0 support for Windows Vista or Windows XP.) After the installation, restart your computer.

2. RDP 8.0 is disabled by default, so you must enable the following Group Policy settings on the Windows 7 system you’ll be connecting to:

  • “Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment\Enable Remote Desktop Protocol 8.0” should be set to “Enabled”
  • “Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Connections\Select RDP Transport Protocols” should be set to “Use both UDP and TCP”

Important: After these policy settings have been configured, restart your computer.

3. Allow port traffic: If you’re connecting directly to the Windows 7 system, make sure that traffic is allowed on TCP and UDP for port 3389. If you’re connecting via Remote Desktop Gateway, make sure you use RD Gateway in Windows Server 2012 and allow TCP port 443 and UDP port 3391 traffic to the gateway.

When you connect, look for the connection quality indicator on the Connection bar. If you click it, you should see a message saying that UDP is enabled. If you don’t see either of these two items, you’re not getting the full RDP 8.0 experience and you should check your configuration. If you see both of these, congratulations, you’re on RDP 8.0!

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Please do note that while RDP 8.0 for Windows 7 provides many advantages, it has some limitations as well. For more information about these particulars, see KB2592687.

For more information about all the great improvements that come with RDP 8.0, see the following blog posts: