Black Areas on Remote Desktop
Black Areas on Remote Desktop
The Issue of Black Boxes
There is a common problem reported by many users of Windows Remote Desktop client. So common that the issue can affect workstations and servers as well as laptops and desktop PCs. When people are using RDC (Remote Desktop Connection) to connect to a remote machine, sometimes right after login, the remote screen turns black in some areas and suddenly they realize they don’t have any control over them. A slow logon is also reported alongside with the appearance of the black bars or boxes. Random black rectangles often won’t stop appearing and they occur across all programs and any window you’re trying to work with.
The same problem can occur when you open a Hyper-V VM console. Users facing the issue are likely to try everything they can think of; from reconnecting to the VM, rebooting it and changing Windows themes on the VM, to disabling and re-enabling display and display driver on the VM, or disabling firewalls on both Server and VM and none of that seems to work.
Well, that’s not too unusual though, as this can happen in Windows 7 all the way to Windows 10 with almost every version of Windows Server.
One reason for having this problem goes to screen caching issue and the other is accessing a system with different display resolution. We will address and suggest solutions for both thoroughly.
If you’re struggling with this problem too, first confirm that your account is member of local administrators group therefore has full administrative rights on the remote system. Then follow these easy steps to get rid of the black areas on remote desktop:
While you’re logged in your remote desktop session and stuck on the black box issue, press Ctrl+Alt+End right there. In most cases you’ll immediately see the desktop along with the Task Manager. You can run Explorer from Task Manager if only Task Manager appears but no desktop.
Remote Client Cache
Since the whole problem is most likely to be caused by cache corruption on the client side, the solution also lies in that domain. One of the options available in the Remote Desktop Connection Client is Bitmap Caching. It basically reduces image loading repetitions by letting the user store the images locally. This way the client won’t have to send the images or data over and over again. Although this option is useful and helps with the speed, but it might cause the black box/black bar issues.
How to delete & disable the RDP bitmap cache:
- After stopping all MSTSC connections, delete the RDP Cache by removing contents of the following folder: C:Users\%UserName%AppDataLocalMicrosoftTerminal Server ClientCache
That clears the local cache and you should probably be free of black squares. Now try connecting again and check if the problem is solved or not. If yes, then you don’t need to do the next step so that you can still benefit from keeping Bitmap Caching turned on.
- If you’re still having your screen not rendering properly, then just open Remote Desktop Connection from the Start menu, click on Show Options and uncheck Persistent Bitmap Caching on the Experience tab. However, this might slightly reduce performance. So as said before, do this if it was necessary.
In order to avoid having infamous black areas on remote desktop, next thing to remember is to connect at same resolution as the remote host. Click Show Options on main Remote Desktop screen again. On Display tab click on Display Configuration and adjust display size to the size of your remote host’s display.
You can prevent the reoccurrence of the issue by trying to use consistent resolution while accessing the remote computer. Also make sure both machines have up-to-date video drivers.
Enhanced Session Mode
If you’re having the black square difficulties with a Hyper-V VM console, the key to get rid of that is NOT to use enhanced session mode. For modifying the settings and disabling enhanced mode, go to Hyper-V Settings > Enhanced Session Mode Policy and Hyper-V Settings > Enhanced Session Mode.