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Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1

Microsoft RemoteFX is a new feature that is included in Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 (SP1). It introduces a set of end-user experience enhancements for Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) that enable a rich desktop environment within your corporate network.

What does RemoteFX do?

Microsoft® RemoteFX™ enables the delivery of a full Windows user experience to a range of client devices including rich clients, thin clients, and ultrathin clients. RemoteFX delivers a rich user experience for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) by providing a 3D virtual adapter, intelligent codecs, and the ability to redirect USB devices in virtual machines. RemoteFX is integrated with the RDP protocol, which enables shared encryption, authentication, management, and device support. RemoteFX also delivers a rich user experience for session-based desktops and RemoteApp programs to a broad range of client devices.

Who will be interested in this feature?

The following people might be interested in these changes:

a. Knowledge workers who work on the applications that are available on virtual desktops. These applications may include the following:

Silverlight and Flash applications

3D applications built on DirectX

USB devices that are used on a virtual machine

Microsoft Office applications

Media player applications

Applications that are hosted on the Internet

Line-of-business applications

b. Server administrators who are responsible for managing groups of server and client virtual machines running on a Hyper-V server

c. Server administrators who are responsible for managing Remote Desktop Session Host servers

d. Client computer administrators who are responsible for managing devices that are similar to the following:

Thin clients that are running an embedded operating system, such as Windows Embedded

Legacy personal computers

Client computers running Windows Vista and Windows 7

e. Desktop administrators who are looking at desktop virtualization as a set of technologies that enable the migration of Windows 7 

Are there any special considerations?

To take advantage of RemoteFX functionality when connecting to virtual desktops, the following hardware requirements must be met:

A Hyper-V server that meets the hardware requirements is listed in the Windows Server Technical Library. For more information about the hardware requirements, see Hardware Considerations for RemoteFX.

The client computer must be running Remote Desktop Connection 7.1.

What functionality does RemoteFX provide?

The new functionality that is provided by RemoteFX is described in the following sections.

Host side rendering

Host side rendering allows graphics to be rendered on the host device instead of on the client device. This enables support for all graphics types by sending highly compressed bitmap images to the endpoint device in an adaptive manner. This also allows the applications to run at full speed on the host computer by taking advantage of the GPU and the CPU, which provides an experience that is similar to a local computer.

GPU Virtualization

GPU Virtualization is a technology that exposes a virtual graphics device to a virtual machine. RemoteFX exposes a WDDM driver with the virtual desktop, and it allows multiple virtual desktops to share a single GPU on a Hyper-V server.

Why is this important?

Enterprise customers who have consolidated their desktops on to a Hyper-V server can take advantage of this technology. GPU Virtualization in RemoteFX enables end users to run graphical applications on a virtual machine. It also enables administrators to share physical graphics devices across multiple knowledge workers with virtual machines running on a Hyper-V server.

Intelligent Screen Capture

Intelligent Screen Capture is responsible for checking screen content changes between frames and transmitting the changed bits for encoding. Intelligent Screen Capture tracks network speed and then dynamically adjusts according to the available bandwidth.

Why is this important?

Intelligent Screen Capture understands the network capability between the client and host devices with regards to rendering and compression. The virtual GPU renders the applications, and Intelligent Screen Capture understands which part of the screen has changed and then compresses and transmits those changes. If the network connection is degraded on the client device, Intelligent Screen Capture sends fewer frames across the Internet to avoid network congestion. Intelligent Screen Capture is designed to support fast networks, in which case it can send more frames to ensure a good user experience.

RemoteFX Encoder

The RemoteFX Encoder allows encoding on the processor, on the GPU, or on dedicated hardware. After the screen data is compressed, it sends the data to the virtual desktop, which transfers the bitmaps by using Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) client computers.

Why is this change important?

This flexible encoding process provides high fidelity and scalability. In computers where the processors are consistently busy, the dedicated hardware ensures that the user experience is not affected.

RemoteFX Decoder

The RemoteFX Decoder decodes bitmaps that have transferred from the virtual desktop to the client computer. RemoteFX Decoder decodes the bitmaps on the client computer by using software in the GPU or processor, or by using a hardware decoder.

Why is this change important?

The RemoteFX Decoder enables low cost, easily manageable client devices. The flexibility to use the processor, GPU, or a hardware decoder helps provide a RemoteFX experience to a wide variety of client devices ranging from low complexity devices to rich clients.

RemoteFX for Remote Desktop Session Host

RemoteFX enables access to the RD Session Host server from rich clients, thin clients, and ultrathin clients. It also ensures lower bandwidth usage as compared to Windows Server 2008 R2 when transferring rich graphics applications.

For more information about RemoteFX for Remote Desktop Session Host, see the Using RemoteFX with Remote Desktop Session Host Step-by-Step Guide ( on the Windows Server 2008 R2 Technical Library.

Note:A GPU is not required when using RemoteFX for Remote Desktop Session Host.

RemoteFX USB Redirection

RemoteFX USB Redirection allows many devices to be redirected to an RD Virtualization Host server at the USB level. Advantages of this solution include that no device drivers are required on the client computer, and a universal interface is provided that works with any USB device on any platform where RemoteFX USB Redirection is supported. This solution redirects many types of devices, including audio devices, storage devices, human interface devices, all-in-one printers, and scanners.

For more information about RemoteFX USB Redirection, see the Configuring USB Device Redirection with RemoteFX Step-by-Step Guide ( on the Windows Server 2008 R2 Technical Library.

What settings have been added or changed?


The following services are added when RemoteFX is enabled:

RemoteFX Session Manager: Provides startup services for RemoteFX

RemoteFX Session Licensing: Responsible for license validation and issuance for RemoteFX sessions

Windows Firewall settings

A new Windows Firewall rule is added for RemoteFX. If you perform a new installation and enable Remote Desktop by using the System properties sheet, the rule is enabled automatically.

You must enable the RemoteFX Windows Firewall rule manually if you do either of the following:

Enable Remote Desktop by using the netsh command or the Windows Firewall APIs.

Upgrade to Windows 7 with SP1 on a virtual desktop that already had Remote Desktop enabled.

To enable the RemoteFX rule by using Windows Firewall with Advanced Security

Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.

Click Inbound Rules.

Right-click Remote Desktop – RemoteFX (TCP-In), and then click Enable Rule.

To enable the RemoteFX rule by using netsh

Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.

If the User Account Control dialog box appears, confirm that the action it displays is what you want, and then click Yes.

Type netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group=”Remote Desktop – RemoteFX” new enable=yes, and then press ENTER.

Group Policy settings

The following Group Policy settings allow you to configure RemoteFX within your environment:

Note:To view detailed explanations about the Group Policy settings that are new with RemoteFX, open the Local Group Policy Editor and examine the provided description.

Performance counters

The following performance counters are added on the RemoteFX server when RemoteFX is enabled:

a. RemoteFX Root GPU Management

Resources: TDRs in Server GPUs: Total number of times that the TDR times out in the GPU on the server.

Resources: VMs running RemoteFX: Total number of virtual machines that have the RemoteFX 3D Video Adapter installed.

VRAM: Available MB per GPU: Amount of dedicated video memory that is not being used.

VRAM: Reserved % per GPU: Percent of dedicated video memory that has been reserved for RemoteFX.

b. RemoteFX Software

Capture Rate for monitor [1-4]: Displays the RemoteFX capture rate for monitors 1-4.

Compression Ratio: Displays the RemoteFX compression ratio.

Delayed Frames/sec: Number of frames per second where graphics data was not sent within a certain amount of time.

GPU response time from Capture: Latency measured within RemoteFX Capture (in microseconds) for GPU operations to complete.

GPU response time from Render: Latency measured within RemoteFX Render (in microseconds) for GPU operations to complete.

Output Bytes: Total number of RemoteFX output bytes.

Waiting for client count/sec: Total number of times per second where graphics data is ready, but RemoteFX Capture is waiting for the client device to consume the previous data.

c. RemoteFX vGPU Management

Resources: TDRs local to VMs   Total number of TDRs that have occurred in this virtual machine. TDRs that the server propagated to the virtual machine are not included.

Resources: TDRs propagated by Server   Total number of TDRs that occurred on the server and that have been propagated to the virtual machine.

The following performance counters are added on the virtual desktop when RemoteFX is enabled:

d. RemoteFX VM vGPU Performance

Data: Invoked presents/sec   Total number (in seconds) of present operations to be rendered to the desktop of the virtual machine per second.

Data: Outgoing presents/sec   Total number of present operations sent by the virtual machine to the server GPU per second.

Data: Read bytes/sec   Total number of read bytes from the RemoteFX server per second.

Data: Send bytes/sec   Total number of bytes sent to the RemoteFX server GPU per second.

DMA: Communication buffers average latency (sec)   Average amount of time (in seconds) spent in the communication buffers.

DMA: DMA buffer latency (sec)   Amount of time (in seconds) from when the DMA is submitted until completed.

DMA: Queue length   DMA Queue length for a RemoteFX 3D Video Adapter.

Which editions include RemoteFX?

RemoteFX is available in the following editions of Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1:

Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard with SP1

Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with SP1

Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter with SP1

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 with the Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 update applied

RemoteFX is not available in the following editions of Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1:

Windows Web Server 2008 R2 with SP1

Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-Based Systems with SP1

To use RemoteFX on a virtual desktop, you must be running one of the following editions:

Windows 7 Enterprise with SP1

Windows 7 Ultimate with SP1

Recommended Solution for RemoteFX:  X9

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