5 Ways to Fix Remote Desktop Software Not Working When Monitor Is Off

Why remote desktop software won't produce image unless host monitor is turned on? This post delves into the underlying causes and offers five practical methods to address the problem of remote desktop software not working when monitor is off.


By Ellie / Updated on May 14, 2024

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remote desktop software won't produce image unless host monitor is turned on


I've used remote desktop software flawlessly for years with the same host, often leaving my system running 24/7. I could always connect remotely even with my monitor off. However, after upgrading my monitor, I'm facing issues. Remote desktop software only works when the monitor is on. I'd appreciate any advice to fix this.”

- Question from Reddit

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Why does remote desktop software not working when monitor is off?

If you're stuck with the "Waiting for image" message or a black screen that lingers after connecting, it might be because the display drivers on the remote device you're connecting to are turned off.

This issue is more common with modern hardware. Often, these display drivers shut down when there's no monitor connected. This causes remote desktop software to struggle to fetch information from these inactive drivers, resulting in the "Waiting for image" message or a black screen.

How to fix remote desktop software not working when monitor is off [5 ways]

Here are five tried-and-tested methods that could potentially resolve the issue of remote desktop software not working when monitor is off on Windows 10 and 11. Continue reading for the solutions.

Way 1. Check the monitor status

Make certain that a monitor is linked to the remote device. The presence of a connected monitor prompts the computer to recognize an active display and maintain operational display drivers.

  • If there is indeed a monitor connected, ensure it is powered on and awake.
  • If you prefer not to connect a physical monitor, you can employ a workaround by connecting a headless display adapter to the device.

Way 2. Check remote desktop software monitor settings

Step 1. Establish a connection to the remote device (if it hangs on "Waiting for image").

Step 2. Select the Monitor icon positioned at the top left corner.

Monitor Icon

Step 3. Reconnect to the same session (by reiterating the first step).

Way 3. Use the key combination

While connected to the remote device and encountering the "Waiting for image" issue, press the following key combination: "CTRL + WIN + SHIFT + B" when the remote desktop softwarewindow is active. This combination effectively resets the display or graphics adapter. In some cases, you may need to press it multiple times to establish a connection with the remote client, but it can be a time-saving workaround to frequent reconnections.

Way 4. Employ a dummy plug

An effective solution to fix remote desktop software "Waiting for image" when monitor is off is to purchase a dummy plug, which can be an HDMI or DP (DisplayPort) dummy plug, readily available at stores. This plug tricks the GPU into believing that it's connected to an active display, preventing Windows from powering down the display drivers. This, in turn, enables you to seamlessly connect and work on the remote PC using remote desktop software.

Way 5. Try a free remote desktop software alternative [highly recommended]

If you prefer a hassle-free approach, consider switching to a free remote desktop software alternative such as AnyViewer. AnyViewer is a cost-free remote desktop software that offers seamless connectivity, irrespective of whether your remote desktop monitor is powered on or off. The best part is that AnyViewer is free even for commercial uses.

Step 1. Begin by downloading and installing AnyViewer.

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Step 2. Simply start AnyViewer and log in using your account credentials.

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Step 3. Once logged in, you will be directed to the user interface.

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Step 4. On your client computer, navigate to the "Device" section. From there, you can select the PC you wish to control and establish an immediate remote connection by clicking "One-click control".

Connect to My Devices

Note: Should the need arise, you have the option to upgrade your account to a Professional or Enterprise plan, which enables you to manage more devices and access additional features like faster file transfer speeds, group management, privacy mode, and more.

The bottom line

In summary, remote desktop software not working when monitor is off issue when the host monitor is off can be resolved using five methods. These include checking the monitor connection, adjusting remote desktop software settings, using a key combination to reset the display, employing a dummy plug, or switching to the free alternative, AnyViewer. These solutions ensure uninterrupted remote connectivity, improving the remote desktop software experience.