How to force Remote Desktop Connection to 256 colours

Windows Remote desktop is great. It’s less great if you connect to a computer over a slow internet connection and want to do some actual work. It’s even less great when you’ve finally migrated to Windows 7 and found that you no longer have a 256 colors option, but instead have to use 15-bit color at least, which becomes achingly slow.

Help is at hand. Simply save your connection settings. This create a .rdp file which is a text file you can edit. Not far from the top you’ll see the bits-per-pixel setting:

screen mode id:i:2
use multimon:i:0
desktopwidth:i:1920
desktopheight:i:1080
session bpp:i:15
...etc...

Change the 15 to an 8. Save it, and open the file in Remote Desktop. Although the GUI still shows ‘Thousand of Colors’ in the dropdown, when you connect you’ll find it’s actually 256 colors. Much, much faster.

Thanks to Raymond Diack, http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Profile/raymond%20diack/activity.

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