I am running an EC2 instance of Windows Server 2008 and need to capture video output of some running programs. My problem is that when I end the remote desktop session, the video is no longer sent in a way that allows for it to be captured by a running screen-capture process. Is there any way to force Windows to send video in a way that can be captured by software even if no RDP session is active?

  • 2
    Try disconnecting from the session instead of logging off. – joeqwerty Sep 21 '12 at 19:41
  • 6
    Why is that a problem? Can you explain what it is that you're actually trying to do? – MDMarra Sep 21 '12 at 19:55
  • @MDMarra I know this is an old question, but Windows won't render anything to the screen without an RDP session. It might be more accurate to say there is no screen to render to. – Cyle Jan 13 '16 at 18:36

There is a way, but you will have to use a different remote desktop than RDP. When a remote desktop connection is disconnected, the display that the programs use ceases to exist. Programs can still update, but there's no display for the OS to use to render the output. Therefore, there's nothing for a capture program to capture. The solution to this problem is to either (1) never log out of your RDP session or (2) use the console which always has a defined display. It's a similar problem to what this user is experiencing, although his program requires the use of the console. I don't know what screen capture program you are using.

In any case, since it's not possible to connect to the console via RDP on Server 2008, you will need to use a different remote desktop tool such as VNC. I tested with RealVNC on Server 2008 R2 and RealVNC Viewer on Windows 7 Pro and was able to successfully connect to the Server 2008 console. You might want to try those programs and see if you have success with your screen capture.

If you are performing automated testing, as the user in the question linked above was doing, you can set some VNC clients to "view only" and then use psexec to start your testing process. A simple batch file may be able to easily start your testing on one or more servers.

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  • Yeah the only option I was able to find was using a VNC to make the display render again(btw I can RDP into Server 2008 just fine). I was hoping to find a modified display driver or something to bypass the need to connect to all the instances when they boot up. – Kelly Elton Sep 23 '12 at 0:08
  • Why do you need to connect to the instances when they boot up? Are you starting a script or program when you do that? Can or is it automated (a batch file)? Is your goal to have something run in the background on the servers without any intervention or login by you? – Starfish Sep 23 '12 at 3:28
  • I need to actually get visual feedback from the instance itself when I'm not connected. – Kelly Elton Sep 24 '12 at 15:26
  • @KellyElton I know this is an old question but have you found any solution for this? – ChiragMS Sep 15 '19 at 5:17
  • @ChiragMS I didn't find anything that hasn't been mentioned in this post unfortunately. – Kelly Elton Sep 17 '19 at 17:11

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