The DPI adjustment is not available in a Remote Session (RDP)


When regular users connect to a remote session, they are unable to change the resolution of the display or the DPI settings. The DPI settings would normally be used to make a global change to the size of the fonts and other user-interface elements; for example to increase the UI legibility. Note that changes to the global DPI settings, can only be done by an administrator logged on to the console of the Windows Server or PC, and a reboot will be required. The DPI setting affects the entire user interface; including the logon interface (LogonUI).

Regular users (and users in a remote session) can adjust many UI elements individually however, using the "Window Color and Appearance" in the Personalization Control Panel applet. In Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7, the settings are accessed via "Advanced appearance settings...", after choosing "Windows Color" in the Personalization window. In Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista, the settings are accessed via the "Advanced..." button, after choosing "Windows Color and Appearance" in the Personalization window.

In order to provide a simple solution to users, it is recommended that an Administrator create several Themes with different sized fonts and UI elements, named in a discoverable way (e.g. "120dpi Theme", "150dpi Theme"). This will enable remote desktop users to easily select a Theme with scaled-up user interface elements, from a familiar place in Windows (i.e. Personalization applet; also accessible via a right-click on the desktop) .

More Information

Scaled-up Themes can be created as follows:
  • Log on as an administrator.
  • Open the Personalization applet in Control Panel.
  • Choose a Theme as a base.
  • Use the Windows Color and Appearance to adjust fonts and other UI elements to a slightly larger size.
  • Save the Theme with an appropriate name.
  • For Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, the resulting .theme file will be stored in the My Documents folder in the current user's profile.  Move the file to the %systemroot%\Resources\Themes folder, which allows it to be shown along with the regular system Themes. 
  • For Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, the resulting .theme file will be stored in AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Themes folder in the current user's profile. Move the file to the %systemroot%\Resources\Ease of Access Themes folder, which will allow it to be shown with the other Ease of Access themes.
  • Let users know that the new Themes are available in lieu of a system-wide DPI change.

The resulting Theme files can be copied to the apropriate %systemroot%\Resources folder on other Windows computers if needed.