[Micronet] RDP to Windows 8.1: is it a hardware issue or a software problem?

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[Micronet] RDP to Windows 8.1: is it a hardware issue or a software problem?

Graham Patterson

I have just spent rather more hours than I wanted tracking down an issue
with RDP into Window 8.1. We often embed computers in exhibits, so RDP
is very desirable. Certainly compared to pulling access panels and lying
on the floor to plug in a console! I did not find much about the
symptoms or a fix from a web search, though the cure is actually simple.

System: Windows 8.1, EEI (CSS-IT) image (64-bit), Dell Optiplex 745, 4GB

Remote clients used in tests:

OSX 10.9 machine (27" iMac) running Microsoft Remote Desktop 8.0.15

Server 2008 R2 machines (3, one Domain LHS OU, one a Data Center VM, and
one a Workgroup machine). One was used from the console, the others via RDP.

Window 7 laptop running EEI (CSS-IT) image

IPad running Microsoft Remote Desktop

Only the Server 2008 R2 Workgroup, the laptop, and (insult to injury)
the iPad, would connect. For the others the symptoms were:

RDP connection is made, server trust notice appears, credentials are
requested, Remote window starts up, cursor appears. Then the connection
terminates without error at either end.

The Windows 8.1 system records the login, and an Event 9009, 0xd00002fe.
No logout recorded.

The Windows 8.1 machine console sometimes showed the account still
logged in, and a local login was blocked. Logging in via the Windows 7
laptop and out again cleared that.

Not a firewall issue, not a policy issue, though I wondered about that
because the first successful connection was from the EEI imaged Windows
7 machine.

Common aspect of the machines that connected successfully:

Small screens. The laptop has a 1366x768 screen, the Server 2008 machine
was using a 1280x1024, and the iPad 2 is 1024x768.

The iMac and the RDP sessions run from within an RDP from the Mac that
tried to connect to the Windows 8.1 machine were all defaulting to
native screen resolution from the iMac host (2560x1440).

The remote machine was obviously unable to handle the screen resolution
or colour depth, and dropped the connection without a logout.

Now, the Optiplex 745 is an old machine, and not really EEI supported.
It might be the graphics hardware, or it might be the driver. Either
way, the connection went away without an error trail of any value.

Dropping the RDP connections to say 1280x1024 maximum works. Obvious in
hindsight. I would be interested to know if this problem is specific to
the older hardware (my guess) - embedded equipment is usually at the
tail of the purchase cycle - or if it can be replicated on current systems.


Graham Patterson, Systems Administrator
Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley   510-643-1984
"...past the iguana, the tyrannosaurus, the mastodon, the mathematical
puzzles, and the meteorite..." - used to be the directions to my office.

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