Is it possible to change the screen resolution of a Windows remote desktop session after I'm already logged on?

For example: it's set for fullscreen but afterwards I want to make the window smaller but now it's Windowed with scrollbars etc. making it a real pain.

Basically what I'm hoping for is like when you resize a VMWare session, the guest OS can resize the resolution and everything works beautifully.

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    I see there's a vote to move this to SU but I for one have wanted to do this many times when using RDP to connect to servers, so see it as equally applicable to this site. – John Gardeniers Mar 12 '10 at 4:47
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    I have a solution for linux. I have created a wrapper around rdesktop which reconnects whenever you resize the window. It feels like resizing a vmware window. github.com/kalmi/rrdesktop – Tarnay Kálmán May 14 '10 at 15:42
  • The Windows 10 client seems to be getting some support for this (or maybe it has been there all along..). Maximizing a full-screen session on a different monitor changes the session's resolution. (Tested while connected to a Windows Server 2012 R2) – Tarnay Kálmán Oct 20 '16 at 17:10

About your only hope is to DISCONNECT the session (leaving it running by closing the RDP session without logging out), and then reconnect using a different resolution. Of course this will all depend on the server remote session settings, etc. This works in 2003/2008. No idea if it will work in 2000. The screen scaling in the VMWare client (and the old McAfeee RDesktop32) was very nice.

mstsc.exe /v server.dns.local /w 800 /h 600

Or something like that, will do it for you. Not really "on the fly" though.

  • OK thanks for confirming my suspicions. This is at least a workaround. – At Nel Mar 12 '10 at 14:14

Add the following line to the RDP file (open with notepad):

smart sizing:i:1
  • This works but it does cause the view to scale. – Glen Blanchard Nov 22 '16 at 1:17
  • This does not change the remote desktop resolution, it just scales the remote desktop window to remove scroll bars. This results in terrible image distortion in many cases. – Sevin7 Jan 19 '17 at 10:43

No, not until you close that particular remote desktop connection. I think that the reason for this is becasue some older applications retrieve the colordepth and resolution on start and crash when they change suddenly.


As you stated in your question, you can resize the window but you can't change the resolution "on the fly".


Not a perfect solution (you still have to reconnect) but the Remote Desktop Connection Manager (by MS) makes it a lot easier.


It's not true that you have to sign out. If you are connecting to Windows 10 or Windows Server 2012 R2, the resolution automatically changes when you switch to fullscreen mode. And if you have on your PC two monitors with different resolutions, you can change the resolution of the RDP session by switching from one monitor to the other. Unfortunately, I do not know how to change the resolution to other size...

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