We're successfully providing a Windows RemoteApp which is hosted on a Windows Server 2016 to our client PCs.

The application runs fine, printing is redirected to the client's connected printer. Very good.

However our RemoteApp allows the user to open .pdf and .docx files from within the RemoteApp. As of now the RemoteApp seems to try opening those files on the remote server. We however don't want to install these applications (PDF Reader, MS Office, ...) on the remote machine. Hence at the moment these files can't be opened.

What's the mechanism to have the RemoteApp tell the client machine to open that file with the locally installed, client-side software instead?

  • I'm not sure what your are asking about. do you want to open the files on client computer or in the terminal server session on the server?
    – Mr Zach
    Dec 7, 2017 at 10:45
  • Citrix has this ability, but AFAIK there's no ability to do this with RemoteApp.
    – joeqwerty
    Dec 7, 2017 at 12:20
  • @joeqwerty is correct, you can't do this with RemoteApp. You'll need to install Office and your PDF reader on the RemoteApp server.
    – Ashigore
    Dec 12, 2017 at 14:04
  • Ok, if somebody posts an answer, I can accept. Dec 12, 2017 at 18:02
  • Better even if you can qualify your response with official documentation. Dec 12, 2017 at 18:03

2 Answers 2


There are not out-of-the-box solutions for RemoteApp. Partially available with Citrix. You need to use 3rd party product plugin like Remote File Transfer.

If you are developer, the way to do it is to create a program running on the server, when user double click on a document file (PDF, Excel, Word), that program will transfer the file to client (local) machine through Virtual Channel then send a command to local machine to open the file with the default association program on the local machine.


A workaround we have employed: Summary: Have a local application that waits for a file to arrive in a local folder and then opens that file. The Remoteapp sends the file to that local folder via the built-in \\tsclient UNC mapping


  1. On each local desktop, install a folder watching application. We are very happy with the free version of Directory Monitory from DevEnterprises Software but there are many others.
  2. Make sure that the local C: drive is available to the Remoteapp. In the remote desktop .rdp file we have this line: drivestoredirect:s:C:\;
  3. Every desktop has the same folder on their c: drive. For Example c:\fromremote
  4. In the remote application, the file we want opened on the local side is sent to the path \\tsclient\c\fromremote. For example, if Word is the remoteapp, have it save a document to \\tsclient\c\fromremote\test.pdf
  5. Configure Directory Monitor to watch for when files arrive in the folder c:\fromremote
  6. Either create a batch file on the local computer that does something when that file arrives in the watched folder (and have Directory Monitor execute that batch file). Or if it is something simple, set up Directory Monitor to Execute: START with the Parameter: %fullfile%. START is the Windows built-in command to open anything and %fullfile% is the variable for the file that arrives in your watched folder. So, if test.pdf arrives in the folder c:\fromremote, Directory Monitor will run: start c:\fromremote\test.pdf which will open Acrobat to view that file on the local desktop

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