Windows 7: RDP changes improve remote desktop performance

The Remote Desktop Client in Windows 7 is equipped with new features and enhancements via Remote Desktop Protocol 7 (RDP). The most interesting enhancement is the support for Desktop Composition, full Aero glass effect.

Below are the features introduced in Windows 7 Remote Desktop Client

  • Windows 7 Aero support
  • Direct 2D & Direct 3D 10.1 application support
  • True multi-monitor support
  • RDP Core Performance Improvements
  • Multimedia enhancements
  • Media Foundation support
  • DirectShow support
  • Low Latency audio playback support
  • Bi-directional audio support

I fired up the Remote Desktop Client in the latest Windows 7 build 7057 and tested few things. Remote desktop connection experience is very much improved compared to its previous versions and I also found the session to be incredibly responsive even while playing HD videos. Below are few screenshots

Thumbnail Previews

Flip 3D

Aero Peek

Alt+Tab with Aero Peek

HD Video Playback (1080p)

The resolution is very high and rich and is running in full motion with the audio synced

To see a demo of all the features including multi monitor support, Direct 2D support, watch the full length (35 mins) TV episode of Brian Madden, recorded during the MVP Summit 2009. The video includes a demo showing the new RDP 7 multimon support on six displays, DirectX 2D and 3D remoting in RDP 7 and the new client-based rendering for various media pipeline engines.

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It's true that RDP 7 does provide improved user experience and performance compared to previous versions of RDP. However, it's possible to improve video and graphics performance even further (by about 2-5 times better than RDP 7 alone) with a solution called Ericom Blaze.

Ericom Blaze is a software-based RDP acceleration AND compression product that provides a superior end-user experience over WAN and congested LANs. Besides delivering higher frame rates and reducing screen freezes and choppiness, Ericom Blaze accelerates RDP 7 performance by up to 2-5 times (and up to 10-25 times for earlier versions of RDP), while significantly reducing network bandwidth consumption over low-bandwidth/high latency connections.

Also, don't forget that to get the benefit of RDP 7 you need to upgrade all your hosts to Windows Server 2008 R2. If you are not ready to do that, and still want performance improvements in RDP, you can still use Blaze.

You can see a video demo of Blaze at:
http://www.ericom.com/blaze_youtube.asp?URL_ID=708

Adam
Ericom Software

skizatch said,
Aero-over-RDP was supported in Vista as well, just so ya know .. full glass and flip-3d and all :)
Yeah, desktop composition is nothing new for remote desktop; Vista had it. Not sure why it's being advertised otherwise.

thats pretty damn nice. although i wont see the benefit of these new features anymore, its still nice to have the new capabilities.

xp and vista both can be patched/hacked to enable concurrent profile sessions (I love that feature and use it all the time); I'm sure with win 7 is finalized someone will make a patch for that too/

Do both client and server machines need to have Windows 7 installed to benefit from these performance enhancements?

The client can be either Windows Vista or Windows 7. If you want to use a Terminal Server, then it has to be Windows Server 2008 R2.

Chaks said,
The client can be either Windows Vista or Windows 7. If you want to use a Terminal Server, then it has to be Windows Server 2008 R2.

I don't need a TS - I just want to be able to have better performance when connecting to other machine in my home network (laptop -> desktop PC). So from what you say - my desktop should have Win7 installed and Vista on my laptop will be enough (pity that XP is not supported).

RDP1?!?!? Viewing full hd content over RDP!?!?!?1 omg, including aero flip 3d support and full aero streaming support over RDP! How amazing, oh microsoft you are definatly heading the right direction.

It's useful to me. I have it mapped to the thumb scroll wheel on my MX Revolution. There is no faster way to switch apps. Though unfortunately, The mouse does not perform this function when using remote desktop (7057 32bit)

Remote Assistance is for helping other people. RDC is for corporate environments where you actually need to control a box on a regular basis. The majority of home users don't need RDC, only RA.

You're not the majority. I'm not saying that nobody has a use for it at home. I'm saying that it's not a concern for the majority of users. Besides, you can always install a version that let's you.

Solid Knight said,
Remote Assistance is for helping other people. RDC is for corporate environments where you actually need to control a box on a regular basis. The majority of home users don't need RDC, only RA.


What if you're the person that does the *assisting*?

If there is a need for RA as a home user, the odds are high that the person doing the assisting is.....another home user. RDC exists in Ultimate for precisely that reason.

It's also why Ultimate is in high demand for roaming help desks.

PGHammer said,
What if you're the person that does the *assisting*?

If there is a need for RA as a home user, the odds are high that the person doing the assisting is.....another home user. RDC exists in Ultimate for precisely that reason.

It's also why Ultimate is in high demand for roaming help desks.

Funny enough, RA is a separate program from RDC, so no you don't need the full RDC as a person doing the helping.

The most interesting enhancement is the support for Desktop Composition, full Aero glass effect.
. I thought that feature was already available in vista (with using both a vista client and host)? Performance improvements sound amazing though. Vista and XP's Remote desktop never came close to being able to smoothly play back video for me, even over a 100mbps LAN...

They should dump Remote Desktop in Mesh and implement RDP into it. Especially with so many enhancements on board. Performance is wicked!

mukati said,
They should dump Remote Desktop in Mesh and implement RDP into it. Especially with so many enhancements on board. Performance is wicked!

Two names for the same thing :p
Remote Desktop Protocol

yea i know.. but both have same names, but different technologies. Just that live mesh calls it LMRDP to differentiate it.

This will be worthless unless its bundled with home premium

Because the ones who need remote desktop the most are home users so people can connect to them and clean up their malware infections

warwagon said,
This will be worthless unless its bundled with home premium

Because the ones who need remote desktop the most are home users so people can connect to them and clean up their malware infections

RDP will be in Ultimate and Enterprise (not sure about Business)

RDP this and RDP that...

* RDP is a protocol. RDP support is available in all major (unsure about Starter :-p) editions of Windows 7.
* The RPD client (commonly called RDC) for outgoing RDP connections is only available in the editions above.
* Incoming RDP support is however available in all editions, as it is in Windows Vista, for the aforementioned reason by warwagon.

But does it allow easy access through firewalls. Now I know if it did and it was running all the time it would not be safe, but here is what I want. A customer is behind a firewall, they call me on the phone, I say open Remove assistance. They open it and and tell me their IP address, and I type it in and connect without having to have them configure their router. If it can't do that then its worthless.

Jugalator said,
RDP this and RDP that...

* RDP is a protocol. RDP support is available in all major (unsure about Starter :-p) editions of Windows 7.
* The RPD client (commonly called RDC) for outgoing RDP connections is only available in the editions above.
* Incoming RDP support is however available in all editions, as it is in Windows Vista, for the aforementioned reason by warwagon.


You have that backward.

The client is in all versions. The server functionality is only available in Professional (and Enterprise/Ultimate).

You have that backward.

The client is in all versions. The server functionality is only available in Professional (and Enterprise/Ultimate).

ya see SO THAT SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

warwagon said,
This will be worthless unless its bundled with home premium

Because the ones who need remote desktop the most are home users so people can connect to them and clean up their malware infections


Its called remote assistance. That is available in home premium and its just like remote desktop. i have used it before and it works great.

One new thing I noticed (in the official Win7 Beta) was that you can now slide the title bar (the blue strip at the top of full-screen Remote Desktop windows with the pushpin on it) from left to right!
I like to keep the bar visible as I may have 5 connections to almost identical servers active but it can get in the way of buttons or text sometimes.
This is a great small change. Along with this and the new Remote Desktop jumplist (Change 3) functionality I am very happy with how things are moving along. They just need to streamline the initial UI by hiding/changing the "Credentials" text :-)

ThomMcK said,
One new thing I noticed (in the official Win7 Beta) was that you can now slide the title bar (the blue strip at the top of full-screen Remote Desktop windows with the pushpin on it) from left to right!
I like to keep the bar visible as I may have 5 connections to almost identical servers active but it can get in the way of buttons or text sometimes.
This is a great small change.

ha, thx for the heads up on that one! I have definitely run into that as well.

That's pretty impressive, but what's your network set-up like? 1080p video over a network alone is pretty tricky to achieve with anything less than gigabit Ethernet.

Depends on your media. Usually 1080p compressed HD video is around 8mbit /s. So a 100mbit LAN works just fine. Also a 54g could work. Wifi-N is preffered

+100
can't tell you how much this will improve home user needs at my company where the remotely connect from home to machines with 2 or 3 monitors.

Now they need to add interactivity so I can support them in the same session.

Denver_80203 said,
+100
can't tell you how much this will improve home user needs at my company where the remotely connect from home to machines with 2 or 3 monitors.

Now they need to add interactivity so I can support them in the same session.


+100 for you to!

andrewbares said,
That would be sweet. Hopefully it can run Crysis!!


Why on earth would you want to play Crysis over RDP?

barteh said,
Why on earth would you want to play Crysis over RDP?

I am not a gamer, but I was having a discussion with one of my technicians about this kind of stuff the other day.

A lot of Gamers buy high end gaming hardware for their desktop but have a decent laptop that they could use while sitting on their couch or outside on their deck. They could build one monster machine and play their games from anywhere in their house.

Another point he brought up was "cloud gaming". With FIOS upgrading speeds to the average user.... it looks like Microsoft might be closer to getting something like this moving.

Just my 2 cents.