Forcing RDP Connections Fullscreen on a Specific Monitor (Saving Window Position)

One of the frustrations I have/had with Remote Desktop connections on multi-monitor workstations (with unique display resolutions mind you) is that there’s no way within the RDP GUI to save the position of a fullscreen RDP session. So if your RDP session opens up on display 2 each time, good luck getting it to display properly on display 1 or 3 unless you have identical resolutions on each display. Even then, it’s a hassle to restore the RDP session to windowed mode and move the the preferred display each time you connect.

Hassle no more: There is a solution. All you need is notepad and a little understanding of how display coordinates work (don’t worry, I’ll explain).

First off, save your RDP session to an RDP shortcut (ie, Acme.rdp). Open notepad and drag the RDP file into the window. Notpad should open the source of the RDP file for your perusal. You’ll see some lines similar to this buried within the file:

screen mode id:i:2
use multimon:i:0
desktopwidth:i:1920
desktopheight:i:1080
winposstr:s:0,1,50,170,250,370

Set “screen mod id” and “use multimonitor” as shown above. The settings “desktopwidth”, “desktopheight”, and “winposstr” will vary depending upon the resolution and physical position of the display you iwsh to use as the destination.

First, an explanation of the winposstr variables we are concerned with (in order):
s: Not applicable
0: Not applicable
1: Sets the RDP session to start windowed (screen mode id sets it to be fullscreen after launch)
50: Pixel distance from the left-hand edge of display 1 to the left edge of the RDP window
170: Pixel distance from the upper edge of display 1 to the upper edge of the RDP window
250: Pixel distance from the left-hand edge of display 1 to the RIGHT edge of the RDP window. Difference between this and the left edge must be >= 200! (250 – 50 = 200)
370: Pixel distance from the upper edge of display 1 to the LOWER edge of the RDP window. Difference between this and the upper edge must be >= 200! (370 – 70 = 200)

Note again that the window dimensions MUST be greater than or equal to 200×200. If it is less, RDP will completely ignore your windows placement dimensions and go with defaults, defeating the purpose of this process.

Now that you know what the numbers mean, you need to understand where to place the window (by pixel dimension) in order to get it to come up on the proper display each time. You have two options: The complex/geeky way, or the simple way.

The Complex Way

Screen coordinates are all relative to the upper left edge of display 1. This position is 1,1. So if You have a single display system with a resolution of 800×600, the lower right corner of the screen is position 800,600. If you have two displays at 800×600 positioned like this in display properties:

[1][2]

…the lower right corner of display 2 would be 1600×600

If the displays were physically reversed:

[2][1]

..the lower LEFT corner of display 2 would be -800,600

Based upon this information, and using some simple math, you should be able to estimate window position amongst your displays. Now, this will get slightly more complex if your displays are offset on the Y axis, so what you might prefer is the…

Simple Way
Download and install the free AutoHotKey Basic. It comes with a nice utility called “AutoIt3 Window Spy”. Run this utility and fire up your RDP session in windowed mode. Then, move the RDP window into your desired destination display. Try to keep the Active Window Info screen visible when you do this.
You should see something similar to this in the Active Window Info window:

>>>>>>>>>>( Active Window Position )<<<<<<<<<<
left: 434 top: 700

Now, lets use those numbers to create the winposstr settings:

winposstr:s:0,1,434,700,634,900

Note that I added 200 to the window position (634,900) creating a window size of 200×200.

Adjust the display width and height settings to match your destination screen.

Go ahead and save the RDP file and try connecting again. The RDP session should now open on the correct screen each time you use this shortcut.