The Issue – When using Windows Remote Desktop client the remote screen turns black right after login and you have no control. The issue can affect workstations and servers, laptops or desktops and happens in Windows 7 through Windows 10 with most any version of Windows server. The apparent cause is Screen Caching and accessing a system with different display resolution or RDP window sizes.

The Solution(s) – Try each bullet below

  • Task Manager – While logged in and stuck on the black screen of death
    1. Press CTRL + ALT + END or on laptops press CTRL + ALT + FN + END. This calls Task Manager and in most cases you’ll immediately see the Desktop.
    2. If only Task Manager but no Desktop appears try running Explorer from Task Manager:  File > New Task > Explorer.exe
  • Display Resolution – Connect at same resolution as the remote host
    1. Click Show Options on main Remote Desktop screen
    2. Display tab > Display Configuration > adjust Display size (to the size of your remote hosts display)
  • Cache – Delete & disable the RDP bitmap cache:
    1. Delete RDP Cache:
      C:\Users\%UserName%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Terminal Server Client\Cache
    2. Disable Persistent Bitmap Caching on the Experience tab
  • RDP Service – Access the remote computers Computer Management or Services MMC and cycle the Remote Desktop Services service.
    1. Launch your Services MMC using an account with admin level access on the remote machine
    2. Right click Services at top left > choose Connect to Another Computer
    3. Right click Remote Desktop Services, choose Restart

Prevention

  1. Confirm your account has full administrative rights on the remote system (member of local administrators group)
  2. Disable bitmap caching for your RDP connections
  3. Access the remote computer using consistent resolution – Full screen may help
  4. Confirm both systems video drivers are up to date

Resources