How do I switch monitors in Windows Remote Desktop?
I have two displays on my desktop (Windows 10 Enterprise) and frequently connect to a Windows 8 Pro (only one display) via Remote Desktop. How to switch to second monitor in Remote Desktop? Or how can I change the primary monitor in Remote Desktop?”
- Question from Spiceworks
Before answering how to switch monitors in Remote Desktop, let's figure out you can switch monitors in Remote Desktop. The answer depends. The Microsoft Remote Desktop application does not allow you to selectively choose which monitors you want to use during the remote session. So if you have two or more monitors, Remote Desktop will use all or just one. If you need to use different applications on both the remote and local machine, you will constantly have to switch between them.
Does this mean you cannot choose which monitors you want to use with Remote Desktop? NO! Luckily, you can edit the presets you create in Remote Desktop to choose which monitors to use.
How to switch monitors in Remote Desktop
If you have three monitors, you want to use two monitors for the remote desktop and the third for the local PC where you have something else open, e.g., your email. The following trick allows you complete control over which monitor is used for the remote desktop connection and which is not.
Step 1. Press Win + R and then enter “mstsc /l” to check how your system detects your monitors.
Step 2. You can see how many monitors you have. Here I have three monitors available.
Step 3. Search “remote desktop connection” in the search box and then open it.
Step 4. Click on Show Options.
Step 5. Locate the Display tab and then check “Use all my monitors for the remote session”.
Step 6. Go back to the General tab, enter the remote computer IP address and computer name, and click Save As under Connection settings.
Step 7. Enter the File name you want.
Step 8. Find the saved RDP file, right-click it, and then choose Open with Notepad. Enter “selectedmonitors:s:0,2” and save it. This means you’ll use monitor 0 and monitor 2 for Remote Desktop. Monitor 1 will not be affected while you are using Remote Desktop.
Step 9. Click on the RDP file and then enter the credential. You can use Remote Desktop with multiple monitors.
Bonus tip: Using RDP to connect to a multi-monitor PC
“Although I have searched for information on multi-monitor compatibility with RDP, all I can find refers to the client having several displays rather than the host. Can RDP be used to connect a single-screen laptop to a multi-monitor PC? Can you use RDP to remote into a Computer with multiple displays from a single monitor laptop and switch between monitors?”
Unfortunately, when using RDP, you can only adjust the view to what you have on the machine, not the host you are connecting to. This means you can connect to a remote computer with multiple monitors but can't switch between monitors. If you want to switch between remote monitors, an Remote Desktop alternative is the solution.
Best Remote Desktop alternative for multi-monitor connection
AnyViewer is the best Remote Desktop alternative for multi-monitor connection. Only the primary monitor will be occupied if you connect to a single monitor from a multi-monitor PC. You can use the other monitors to do anything you like. Besides, you can easily switch between the monitors if you connect to a multi-monitor PC from a single-monitor PC. Let's see how to switch between monitors during a remote session.
Step 1. Download, install, and run AnyViewer on your devices.
Step 2. Create an AnyViewer account and sign into it on both devices.
Step 3. On your local device, go to Device and click the remote computer with multiple screens and choose One-cilck control.
Step 4. Then, you can view multiple monitors on the remote computer in your local window. If you only want to see only screen, go to the toolbar, click Screen, and choose the screen that you want to list.
- It is recommended to upgrade your account to a Professional or Enterprise plan. What can a professional or enterprise plan brings to you:
- More devices will be allowed to assign to the same account for unattended access.
- More connection channels for more devices to be able to start remote connection at the same time.
- One device can connect to more devices simultaneously.
- Black the remote PC screen and disable the remote keyboard & mouse click to protect privacy.
- Transfer 1TB files at 10 MB/s.
The bottom line
This post tells how to switch monitors in Remote Desktop. You should know you cannot choose which monitors you want to use during the remote session. But you can edit the presets you create in Remote Desktop to choose which monitors to use for Remote Desktop in advance. Besides, you can't switch between monitors when you use RDP to connect from a single-screen laptop to a multiple-monitor PC.
Therefore, using AnyViewer may make things much easier. With AnyViewer, you can connect to a single-monitor PC from a multi-monitor PC with one of your screens. You can also connect to a multi-monitor PC from a single-monitor PC and switch between the monitors easily.