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HOW TO: Connect to Terminal Services with Color Resolution That Is Greater Than 256 in Windows XP

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This article was previously published under Q278502
This step-by-step article shows you how to connect to Windows XP Terminal Services using a video resolution greater than 256-color.

When you connect to a Microsoft Windows XP computer by using the Windows XP Remote Desktop Connection client, you can select the color resolution at which you would like the client session to run. This functionality allows you to increase the resolution beyond the former limitation of 256 colors. However, by selecting this value, you are not guaranteed to connect at as high a resolution as you select because the client setting is only one of the facets required to generate a particular color resolution in the session.

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Increase Video Resolution for Windows XP Terminal Services

When you connect to a Windows XP-based computer by using the Remote Desktop Connection client, you can specify for the client to run with more than 256 colors. Before you specify a color-resolution setting, you must first set up Remote Desktop Connections. To do so, follow these steps:
  1. Right-click My Computer, click Properties, and then click the Remote tab.
  2. Click to select the Allow users to connect remotely to this machine check box, and then click OK.
  3. On another computer, start Remote Desktop Connections. To do so, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to Communications, and then click Remote Desktop Connection.
  4. Type the name of the computer that you are connecting to.
  5. Click the Options button to expand the connection window.
  6. On the Display tab, select a color resolution other than 256.
  7. Click Connect to begin the session.
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Set Group Policy for Maximum Color Depth of Terminal Services

In many cases, after you perform these steps, the client still connects with 256 colors rather than whatever value you specified in the Remote Desktop Connection box. This behavior can occur because of a group policy on the Windows XP-based computer that determines the maximum color depth that can be negotiated by the client. In Windows XP, the default policy setting is 256 colors, but this setting can be changed by using the Group Policy Editor.

To use the Group Policy Editor to change the setting, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, and then type MMC.
  2. Click the Console menu, click Add/Remove Snap-in, and then click Add. Select Group Policy.
  3. Click Add, make certain that Local Computer is selected in the Group Policy Object box, click Finish, and then click Close.
  4. Select Computer Configuration, click Administrative Templates, and then click Terminal Services.
  5. Select Limit Maximum Color Depth and set it to the color depth that you want.
After you change the setting, you should be able to specify any setting of more than the default 256 colors setting and have the client connect with that resolution, as long as it is not higher than the setting that you specified.

NOTE: You cannot specify and connect at a higher resolution than your video hardware can support. Therefore, if you have a video card in your computer that supports only up to 256 colors, you cannot connect to a session with a higher resolution than that.

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Article ID: 278502 - Last Review: 01/15/2006 22:34:47 - Revision: 2.3

  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • kbdisplay kbenv kbhowtomaster KB278502