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Configuring RemoteFX on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Hyper-V

Daniel Petri


RemoteFX describes a set of RDP technologies – most prominently graphics virtualization and the use of advanced codes – that are being added to Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1. These technologies are based on the IP that Microsoft acquired and continued to develop since acquiring Calista Technologies.

Read more about RemoteFX in my More information about RemoteFX on Hyper-V R2 SP1 article. In this article, I will try to cover some of the basic configuration options for RemoteFX. This is not meant to be a full how-to article. For such a guide, please reference these links:


Deploying Microsoft RemoteFX on a Single Remote Desktop Virtualization Host Server Step-by-Step Guide
Deploying Microsoft RemoteFX for Personal Virtual Desktops Step-by-Step Guide
Deploying Microsoft RemoteFX for Virtual Desktop Pools Step-by-Step Guide
Configuring USB Device Redirection with Microsoft RemoteFX Step-by-Step Guide
Deploying Microsoft RemoteFX on a Remote Desktop Session Host Server Step-by-Step Guide

To install RemoteFX by using Server Manager

Note: You should install drivers for the video card on the virtualization server before you enable the Remote Desktop Services and Hyper-V roles. Otherwise, the RemoteFX 3D Video Adapter will not be available in Hyper-V Manager.
1. Open Server Manager. To open Server Manager, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Server Manager.
2. Expand Roles, and then click Remote Desktop Services.
3. Under Role Services, click Add Role Services.
4. Select the Remote Desktop Virtualization Host check box, and then select the RemoteFX check box.
Note: If Hyper-V or the Remote Desktop Virtualization Host Core Service is not already installed, Server Manager will install it automatically.
5. Click Next, and then click Install.
6. When the installation is finished, click Close.
Once RemoteFX is installed on the RD Virtualization Host server, virtual machines that are already configured for RemoteFX can be hosted and new virtual machines can be created with RemoteFX. New virtual machines can be created and configured by using Hyper-V Manager.
The number of monitors and their maximum resolution determines the amount of GPU memory on the server required by RemoteFX. This consideration is important in determining the scale for how many virtual machines a Remote Desktop Virtualization Host server can support.
For each virtual machine, you can configure the RemoteFX 3D video adapter for a maximum number of monitors and resolution. This configuration determines the amount of GPU memory reserved on the server and allows you to control the scalability of how many users can be supported on a RemoteFX server, balanced with the user requirements. When connecting by using RDC, the user can select a number of monitors and their resolutions that are less than and up to the maximum values.
When the server starts a virtual machine, the server will verify that it can reserve enough GPU memory for the specified number of monitors and resolutions. If the virtual machine cannot be supported, additional GPU resources can be added to the server, or the number of monitors and resolutions can be lowered. Once you have added additional GPU resources or adjusted the number of monitors and resolutions, you can connect by using RemoteFX.
Important: Increasing the maximum number of monitors and maximum resolution decreases the total amount of RemoteFX-enabled virtual machines running on a single Hyper-V server because of the increased video memory requirements.
To configure the maximum resolution and number of monitors:
1. Open Hyper-V Manager. Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Hyper-V Manager.
2. In the Results pane, under Virtual Machines, select the virtual machine that you want to configure. The virtual machine must be off in order to modify its settings.
3. In the Action pane, under the virtual machine name, click Settings. Then, in the navigation pane, click RemoteFX 3D Video Adapter.
4. On the RemoteFX 3D Video Adapter page, specify the number of monitors and resolutions, and then click OK.
When you are using the virtual 3D video adapter, you will not be able to use the Virtual Machine Connection. Use Remote Desktop instead. If you need to use Virtual Machine Connection, you must remove the virtual 3D video card from the virtual machine.

USB Device Redirection

RemoteFX USB redirection allows many types of USB devices to be used in the remote VDI session. In addition to the existing high-level device redirection mechanisms in RDP (printers, USB drives, smart cards, PnP devices, audio, etc.), RemoteFX USB redirection allows devices such as scanners, multifunction printers, webcams, and more to be used on the virtual machine.
Requirements for RemoteFX USB redirection:

  • RemoteFX USB redirection is only available when connecting to a RemoteFX-enabled Windows 7 SP1 virtual machine (VM) running on a RemoteFX-enabled Remote Desktop Virtualization Host server. RemoteFX USB redirection is not available for connections to a Remote Desktop Session Host server.
  • RemoteFX USB redirection is available for connections to VMs through RD Web Access and for RemoteApp programs running on RemoteFX-enabled Windows 7 SP1 VMs.
  • The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) 7.1 client must be installed, and the Group Policy setting enabled.
  • The USB devices that you would like to use in the remote session must be plugged in before starting Remote Desktop Connection; devices plugged in during the session will not be redirected.
  • RemoteFX USB redirection, like the rest of RemoteFX, has been designed for LAN connections (< 20 ms latency); on the WAN, some USB devices may not function properly, or the user experience may not suitable.
  • Due to USB limitations, a device redirected by using RemoteFX USB redirection can only be used in one RDP session at a time, and cannot be used locally while it is redirected to the VM.
  • If you add a new device to the client computer that you want to redirect, you must log off from your virtual desktop and then log back on.
  • Drivers for redirected USB devices will be installed on the VM by using the same process that a physical Windows computer uses when a device is plugged in. Please ensure that Windows Update is enabled on the VM or that drivers are available for the device in question.

Configure GPO settings on the client:
Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Connection Client\RemoteFX USB Device Redirection, and edit “Allow RDP redirection of other supported RemoteFX USB devices from this computer.”
Run “gpupdate /force” (without quotes) from an Administrator command prompt to enable/disable the feature, and then restart the computer for the changes to take effect.

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