Remote Display Analyzer 2106 released

Hi all,

Happy to announce that a new version of Remote Display Analyzer (RDA) has been released: RDA version 2106.

What’s new in Remote Display Analyzer version 2106:

  • A new Teams Offloading status has been added for Microsoft AVD, Citrix & VMware

Teams Citrix

  • Support for Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) RDP Shortpath

AVD Shortpath

  • A new Citrix Build-to-Lossless Quality Slider has been added


  • Added GUI ability to turn on/off NVIDIA GPU monitoring


  • RDA now supports session disconnect / reconnect, monitoring now continues if session is reconnected
  • A Microsoft Max FPS Policy check for server\multi session OS has been added
  • Fixed NVIDIA license detection issue with server\multi session OS
  • Support for all the latest Microsoft, Citrix and VMware versions
  • Various fixes and improvements

You can check which RDA build you are using by clicking on the about (i) button at the top of the RDA window. You will also find the possible parameters there.
Thanks for all the community feedback received. The 2106 version is now available on the website.

Remote Display Analyzer 2007 released

Hi all,

Happy to announce that a new version of Remote Display Analyzer (RDA) has been released: RDA version 2007.

What’s new in Remote Display Analyzer version 2007:

  • RDS GPU policy detection, reminder to configure this setting and easily verify if GPU is leveraged for RDS workloads

  • Multi language OS support for RDS\WVD
  • Enhanced support for Citrix EDT with MTU size detection, MTU discovery detection and available EDT bandwidth detection

  • The Receiver client version is now detected and displayed next to the detected VDA version
  • Citrix Glyph detection support
  • Citrix build to lossless configuration option has been added

  • Support for the latest Windows 10 Builds
  • Support for the latest Citrix VDA (2006) version
  • Support for the latest VMware Horizon (7.12) version
  • Various Fixes and improvements

You can check which RDA build you are using by clicking on the about (i) button at the top of the RDA window. You will also find the possible parameters there.
Thanks for all the community feedback received. The 2007 version is now available on the website.

Connection Experience Indicator for RDS & WVD

(Current version 1.2)

I created a tool for RDS and WVD environments that notifies users about changes in the user experience. The tool supports both Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD).  It is called the Connection Experience Indicator for RDS & WVD. This tool does the following:

  • Support users by pointing out issues that affects the user experience
  • Reduce the number of help desk calls related to user experience issues
  • Show notifications about the latency to the virtual desktop. Notify when the latency is good and warn when latency is high or very high
  • Show notifications about the available bandwidth. Notify when the available bandwidth is good and warn when the available bandwidth is weak or poor
  • Integrated in the Windows 10 notification center
  • Integrated in the taskbar and when you click on the icon a small window will be shown that provides real-time information about the connection to the virtual desktop
  • Single exe (no installation required) can be easily started with login script or other mechanism
  • The tool can be configured with parameters so it can be adjusted to your environment (please find all settings below)

Let me show you what it looks like. When the Connection Experience Indicator starts it will notify the user about the connection to the virtual desktop:

When you click on the icon you will see the client name, the virtual desktop name and real-time information about the connection:

When the latency or available bandwidth is below the default or configured thresholds the user will be notified that the user experience might be affected:

The taskbar icon is changed and when you click on the icon you will see that the connection state has changed:

When users are in areas with poor internet conditions (hotels \ public WiFi, etc), the user gets notified that the user experience is affected:

Clicking on the icon will reveal a very high latency which is causing a reduced experience:

You can also change the window to transparent mode by clicking in the window. This will allow the window to run on top without being intrusive on the screen:

You can also drag the window around and place it somewhere else on the screen.

The Connection Experience Indicator can be configured with parameters so you can adjust it to your own environment and preferences. But please note that you don’t have to configure parameters, if a parameter is not provided it runs with the default values:

Parameter Use case Default value
-pb The poor available bandwidth threshold (Mbps). When this threshold is reached a poor connection notification is shown. 2
-pl The poor latency threshold (ms). When this threshold is reached a poor connection notification is shown. 150
-wb The weak available bandwidth threshold (Mbps). When this threshold is reached a weak connection notification is shown. 5
-wl The weak latency threshold (ms). When this threshold is reached a weak connection notification is shown. 75
-measureinterval The time interval that thresholds are measured and real-time information is updated (in seconds) 5
-shownotifications Enable\Disable if notifications are displayed to the user True
-timetoshownotification The time a notification will be displayed before it disappears (in seconds) 10
-timebetweennotifications The time between notifications, a notification is always displayed when the connection state changes. If the state doesn’t change a notification will be displayed every x period to update the user about the connection state 3600 (1 hour)
-transparent Configure if the window will open in transparent mode by default False

ExperienceIndicator.exe -pb 5 -wb 10 -pl 175 -wl 100 -transparent true

The Connection Experience Indicator is provided as community tool for free without warranty of any kind.  On the todo list for the next version is to add multi language support, this version shows notifications in English only.

Note for (Enterprise) customers that are in need for a supported version:
It’s possible to request a company license for Remote Display Analyzer this also includes support for the Connection Experience Indicator.

Please click here to download the latest version of the Connection Experience Indicator for RDS & WVD.

Release notes:

1.1 : Initial release
1.2: Fixed an issue that could cause high CPU usage when the session was disconnected or locked, the session state detection has been improved, added support for other (native installed) OS languages, executable is now signed with correct timestamp

Remote Display Analyzer 1911 released

Hi all,

Happy to announce that a new version of Remote Display Analyzer (RDA) has been released: RDA version 1911.

What’s new in Remote Display Analyzer version 1911:

  • RDA now supports the latest Windows 10 builds for both RDS and WVD deployments
  • Support for the latest Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) Infrastructure agent

  • Support for the latest Citrix VDA (1909) version and latest HDX updates
  • RDA will now also show you in real-time if hardware encode is being used. This is handy when you run workloads and want to verify if the video codec is leveraging hardware encoding. See screenshot below:

  • Support for the latest VMware Horizon (7.10) version and latest Blast updates
  • VMware Blast codec switching and the new Blast codec has been integrated (and can be changed on the fly):

  • Integration with click-to-photon: Click-to-photon uses a small device that can measure response times in remote display environments. You can find more information about the click-to-photon device on the GitHub page of Magnar Johnsen. The click-to-photon device is connected from the endpoint to the remote session using comport redirection. The tool running in the remote session generates screen updates and the device at the endpoint calculates the time between the remote screen update and the endpoint device receiving the update. This statistics are reported back in Remote Display Analyzer.

  • Last but not least: RDA build 1911 contains overall improvements and bug fixes

You can check which RDA build you are using by clicking on the about (i) button at the top of the RDA window. You will also find the possible parameters there.
Thanks for all the community feedback received. The 1911 version is now available on the website.

RDP protocol improvements in Windows 10

As you might know the RDP protocol in Windows 10 consists of different type of codecs (both proprietary and standardized video compression codecs). They belong to a broader set of technologies also known as RemoteFX. There are currently 2 type of codec configurations possible in Windows 10:

  • A combination of different codecs, one optimized for text and one for moving graphics (like video content)
  • The full screen AVC video codec

You can configure them with policies and check which configuration you are using by checking Event ID 162 in the following eventlog location:

Applications and Services Logs -> Microsoft -> Windows -> RemoteDesktopServices-RdpCoreTS -> Operational

  • Initial profile 2 means you are using the codec combination
  • Initial profile 2048 means you are using the full screen AVC codec

Both configurations gives a good out-of-the-box experience with a high level of quality. The full screen AVC codec implementation is pretty neat because they managed to leverage hardware encoders that normally only supports 4:2:0 encoding to reach a 4:4:4 quality level. While 4:2:0 compression is ideal for video content, 4:4:4 quality is needed to make text and still images sharp without blurry side affects. The full screen AVC codec implementation operates best when encoding can be done in hardware (GPU), it can however work with software based encoding (emulated GPU) but that will result in increased CPU utilization. Good to know is that the new HTML5 based web client always leverages the full screen AVC codec implementation.

You might have heard that RemoteFX vGPU has been deprecated in Server 2019. Times have changed and GPU virtualization technologies have matured making the API intercept based technologies (like RemoteFX vGPU was) a legacy technology.  But no need to get sad about this, because we will get something nice in return: GPU Partitioning or GPU-P for short. It’s still under development but sounds very promising. With this technology multiple virtual machines can leverage the GPU directly (even load balance across multiple GPU’s) and by leveraging the GPU directly Microsoft can move away from the man in the middle role where they needed to maintain the API intercept driver to support new graphic standards. For now we can only leverage the GPU directly by using DDA (GPU pass through) or use GPU virtualization technologies from other vendors.

Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD)
The new GPU-P technology also opens the door for Microsoft to implement this on Azure, which would be a very welcome feature for WVD (the new RDS infrastructure  and multi-session Windows 10 edition hosted on Azure). Hopefully Microsoft will not be supporting the GPU-P technology only in Azure like they do with the new multi-session Windows 10 for WVD edition, this will really isolate this technology preventing broader use cases. I don’t think they will be doing this because they pull away RemoteFX vGPU and should provide an alternative for it.

What happened in a year time with the RDP protocol
With almost every new Windows 10 build the RDP graphics stack is updated, there is not much information you can find about such improvements, but they are certainly there.

While doing some investigation on different Windows 10 builds I noticed the protocol version is matched with the client to enable support for the latest features (both client and servers side). You can find this version numbers in the same eventlog as described in the intro. They look like this:

The client supports version 0xA0400 of the RDP graphics protocol (Build 1709)
The client supports version 0xA0600 of the RDP graphics protocol (Build 1809)

Some of the improvements in the RDP protocol are:

  • Screen regions and content are better classified (to make optimal use of the right codec and compression algorithm)
  • Webcam redirection improvements leveraging H.264
  • Down-scaling for 4K resolutions
  • GPU-P technology (announced) the AVC codec will also benefit from this

Time for a test!
I decided to do a simple test using Remote Display Analyzer to look at the improvements and changes Microsoft made to the RDP protocol in a year time. To do this I used 2 different Windows 10 builds: The 1709 and 1809 build (without updates) this will give more a less an indication of the improvements in a year time frame.
Remote Display Analyzer now also supports WVD, but I did not use it in this test because the current WVD private preview only has its RD gateways in the US and it doesn’t make much sense to let traffic flow across the globe. Will do some more testing with WVD later when it’s GA. To check the differences in the RDP protocol between the Windows 10 builds I performed the following test:

  • A direct RDP connection to both builds
  • Connection over LAN using a Windows 10 1809 client
  • Used the out-of-the-box RDP configuration on both builds
  • Both builds running on the same infrastructure
  • The test consists of playing a short video (not full screen) and scrolling some text. Exactly the same has been done on both builds
  • Please note that this was a manual test and it’s always better to automate such tests (I recommend REX analytics for this)
  • This results come without warranty of any kind and are based on my own observations using my own infrastructure. This is only to give you an indication of the differences I observed while performing this test

The results are below:

On the left you see the results of running the test on the 1709 build and on the right the results of running the exact same test on the 1809 build. I observed the following:

  • The 1809 build used less bandwidth (almost half) while I didn’t perceived a noticeable difference in frame quality. The send frames are more or less identical
  • The reported “available bandwidth detected” is different across the builds, I’m not sure what the reason for this is, the value of this counter looks a bit inconsistent so I’m not relying to much on this one
  • Overall my perceived user experience on the 1809 build was better (more fluid and snappier screen updates)

While you don’t hear much about it, Microsoft still makes improvements in their remote graphics stack and they should be doing this because it’s one of the most critical success factors of the upcoming WVD platform. The 1809 build performed much better on the LAN then the 1709 build, the lower bandwidth is also great news for WAN scenarios. I’m expecting more protocol improvements inline or shortly after the WVD release, I will certainly keep an eye out on this and will write a new blog post when more information is (publicly) available. Thanks for reading!

Remote Display Analyzer 1902 released

Hi all,

Happy to announce that a new version of Remote Display Analyzer (RDA) has been released. We decided to change the format of the version number to align with new versioning standards and update cycles. The latest RDA build number is 1902.0.52.1 where 1902 is the year and month, 52 is the day of the year and 1 is the build revision. The short name is RDA version 1902. You can check the RDA version number by clicking on the about (i) button.

What’s new in Remote Display Analyzer version 1902:

  • Added new information like the Windows build number and when running on Citrix or VMware the agent version number is now also displayed
  • Next to the primary screen resolution the DPI scale has been added
  • Support for the latest VMware Horizon (7.6\7.7) versions (integration with the latest Blast API)
  • Support for the latest Citrix VDA (1811) and latest HDX updates
  • Support for Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) and the new Windows 10 Enterprise for Virtual Desktops build (currently in private preview)
  • Added new Nvidia GPU usage information like the license type being used and the video encoder usage
  • Overall improvements and bug fixes

Below you will find some screenshots of the latest RDA version in action.

Screenshot of RDA running on Windows Virtual Desktop (private preview at the moment):

Screenshot of RDA running on the latest Citrix VDA (note the added DPI and updated Nvidia information, which is supported for all display protocols):

Screenshot of RDA running on the latest VMware Horizon agent:

All subscribers should have received a download link to the latest version, you can also download the latest version on the website by filling in the form for the community edition (free) or the subscribed edition, they point to the same executable. Thanks for reading and thanks to the community for testing, validating and providing valuable feedback!

Key considerations when designing your Windows 10 Virtual Desktop solution

Key considerations when designing your Windows 10 Virtual Desktop solution

Together with TeamRGE co-member Ryan Ververs-Bijkerk we did a short presentation at E2Evc about the performance impact of different components you will find in every Windows 10 Virtual Desktop solution. Ryan used to work for LoginVSI and is really good at performing this kind of benchmarks, you can find some of them here. We shared some benchmark results together with some key designing considerations. Because time in a presentation is always limited, this blogpost dives a bit deeper into the designing considerations around the following 5 topics:

  • Windows 10 build
  • Office build
  • Application deployment
  • Remote display protocol and (v)GPU
  • Antivirus

Please note that one of the assumptions in this blog post is that you are leveraging Windows 10 Enterprise edition.

Some design considerations also applies to other Windows 10 deployment types, so this blog post might also be worth reading when you are not designing a Windows 10 Virtual Desktop solution.

Windows 10 build

Deciding which Windows 10 build you are going to pick is one of the first design choices you are going to make. Basically you have the following 2 options:

1: Windows 10 LTSC (Long Time Servicing Channel)

This separate build of Windows 10 (also known as LTSB) is released by Microsoft for special use cases. Think of locked down and general purpose PC’s you will find for example in factories or in medical peripherals. For this use cases you might not want to leverage new features, but only stay current on security updates. A new LTSB build is released every 2 to 3 years and security updates are supported for 10 years after the release.

Please consider the following when choosing this Windows 10 build for your Virtual Desktop solution:

  • There is no Edge browser
  • There are missing features like no built-in UWP applications which your users might expect
  • You need to re-install your image when a new Windows 10 LTSB build has been released to get new features or to extend support
  • You only have to optimize your image once
2: Windows 10 SAC (Semi-Annual Channel)

This is the primary Windows 10 build which receives new features twice a year. One release around March and one around September, you can recognize the release by looking at its name, the first 2 digits are the year, the second 2 digits the month. For example the 1803 is the 2018 March release and 1809 is the 2018 September release. This may sound very obvious, but I often speak people who didn’t know this. Important to take into account is the servicing period for each release: The March release will be serviced for 18 months and the September release for 30 months. As you can see on the below print screen (source: Microsoft).

Please consider the following when choosing this Windows 10 built for your Virtual Desktop solution:

  • It includes all Windows 10 features and builtin apps
  • You don’t have to re-install your image to get new features or to extend support, you can instead just update the same image
  • Recommended is to use the September release because of its longer servicing period
  • While you can defer updates by for example using Windows Update for Business, eventually you have to go with the release waves and stay current
  • You will need to check your image optimization after each release, there might be new services or scheduled tasks that could impact your performance and server density. This was clearly noticeable on the LoginVSI benchmark across the Windows 10 builds (without optimization)

Office build

Like the Windows 10 build, you also have 2 options when it comes down to the Office build you are going to deploy in your Windows 10 Virtual Desktop solution:

1: Office365 ProPlus

The version of Office that comes with the Office365 subscription and can be downloaded and installed locally, this version is installed by a click-to-run method, which basically is a container based installation similar to App-V. This Office version is also based on a Semi-Annual update Channel (SAC), but can also be configured to receive monthly updates. The latter might not be very practical in a Virtual Desktop solution.

2: Office Stand-Alone (also known as perpetual Office)

This is the on-premises variant of Office like we used pre-cloud era. You know this Office builds by the names: Office 2013, Office 2016 and now Office 2019 has also been released. This Office build is not meant to connect to cloud services, but is intended for restricted (offline) use cases or if you have no Office365 license of course.

Deciding on which Office build you should pick depends on:

  • Licensing (which license type you are using or bound to use)
  • If you use Office365 or not
  • Application compatibility and support (add-ins, macro’s, templates, etc)

Besides above please consider and note the following when deciding the Office build for your Virtual Desktop solution:

  • When you decided to go for Windows 10 LTSC (the LTSB build), also use the Office Stand-Alone (Perpetual) build. Microsoft will stop supporting (even block) Office365 ProPlus on their Long Time Servicing Channel builds (same goes for Server 2019)
  • When you decided to go for Windows 10 SAC, you can use both Office365 ProPlus or the Office Perpetual build. You will primarily make this decision based on the current license type but also don’t forget to investigate the application landscape you need to support on your Virtual Desktop solution

The LoginVSI benchmark included Office 2013, 2016 and 2019. The results showed that Office 2016 scored better than 2013 but also better than 2019. The latter had a noticeable higher impact and it needs to be deeper investigated to check what the exact reason for this higher impact was.

Application deployment

When you are at the point of choosing a way to deploy your applications you basically have 3 options:

1: Leverage traditional application installation methods

In this option you deploy applications with MSI’s, scripts, etc. Be aware that central deployment and life cycle management can be hard to manage and when you remove applications there is often still footprint (files and registry) of the application which pollutes your image over time. Central deployment tools doesn’t solve this issue and are often not designed for Virtual Desktop solutions.

2: Leverage App-V

As you might know the App-V client is built-in Windows 10 and ready to use. You only have to enable it. App-V has a lot of great features for both VDI and non-VDI scenarios. For VDI the Shared Content Store mode is a really handy feature in combination with non-persistent images. Consider using App-V Scheduler for real-time insight, control and advanced cache management for your Virtual Desktop solution. This will make your life a lot easier. By the way App-V Scheduler is not limited to VDI and also supports RDS and Fat-client\Laptop Windows 10 deployments. App-V will be supported for a very long time, you maybe don’t hear much about it because it’s now part of the operating system and Microsoft doesn’t need to sell it as additional product any more.

3: Leverage MSIX

This application format is based on the UWP framework (also previous known as AppX format). This makes it possible to deploy applications through, for example, the Windows Store. You might want to consider if this matches your deployment strategy and if it makes sense for your VDI environment. There are similarities between App-V and MSIX, like they both run the application isolated from the OS inside a container. There will be even a way to easily convert the file format. MSIX is quite new and lacks real-time deployment and management features, good to know is that App-V Scheduler already started building support for MSIX in the product to support real-time control and management features also for MSIX. You are already a step ahead if you are managing your applications with App-V.

The LoginVSI benchmark showed that App-V and MSIX have similar application start times. This was tested with a simple PDF reader. The traditional installed instance had a lower start time, but of course that’s because there is no isolation layer that isolates the application from the OS. Also note we are talking milliseconds here and this might not even impact the perceived user experience.

Remote display protocol and (v)GPU

A Windows 10 Virtual Desktop workspace is highly secure because all information stays in the cloud or datacenter and only screen updates are sent to the client. One of the key success factors of your Virtual Desktop workspace is the configuration of your remote graphics stack. The remoting protocols from all major vendors matured over time to the point they are all very suitable for all kinds of general uses cases.

Please consider the following when designing the remote graphics stack for your Windows 10 Virtual Desktop solution:

  • Consider to apply (v)GPU power to your VDI machines, besides your applications the remoting protocol can also benefit from this. But:
  • Investigate if a (v)GPU makes sense for your workload type and if it’s really worth the investment. LoginVSI benchmark results showed us that the CPU reduction when adding a (v)GPU can be minimal for general workload types like task workers and knowledge workers. This benchmark included the latest Office versions, scrolling through data and playing a video through internet explorer
  • Don’t primarily size your VDI workspace based on (v)GPU profiles, don’t forget that a decent CPU and enough Memory is just as important. A good example are applications like AutoCAD and Revit which relies a lot on CPU also when you have a (v)GPU in place
  • Take note of the recommended memory size for (v)GPU’s: Use at least 1GB profiles for Windows 10. If you are designing your environment for heavy 3D workloads also look at the recommended GPU specs for the applications you need to support
  • Use REX Analytics to capture and analyze the perceived end user experience
  • Use Remote Display Analyzer to analyze, configure and understand your remote display protocol behavior and to verify your (v)GPU implementation


It goes without saying that antivirus and anti malware is an important security aspect of your Windows 10 deployment. Whether you use a virtual desktop or not, it’s important to understand the impact of your antivirus solution.
Please consider the following when designing  your Windows 10 Virtual Desktop solution:

  • Apply best practices and optimizations like: file exclusions, pre-scans, scheduled scans & the definition update interval. Especially for state-less VDI this is a very important part to invest time in
  • Consider to analyze the workspace performance before and after the antivirus solution has been implemented\enabled. In this way you know if it has an impact on your application performance or not. The pilot phase might be a good moment to verify this
  • Consider leveraging Windows Defender, it’s already build in Windows 10 and it scores really well in numerous independent virus and malware detection tests (score of 99,5%). The LoginVSI benchmark showed an performance impact when not doing any optimization at all in Defender, so please pay attention for the optimizations part (see bullet 1)
The end

Thanks for reading, hopefully this design considerations are helpful for you!