Enabling GPU Rendering for Microsoft Remote Desktop

Engineering software—such as GeoHECRAS—uses powerful display graphics and the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) for a quick rendering of the display. However, running engineering software and other graphics-heavy software in a Remote Desktop environment can be challenging for the principal reason that Microsoft Windows Remote Desktop does not allow GPU rendering by default. Starting up the graphics-heavy software can generate errors as the software attempts to initialize DirectX or OpenGL GPU display drivers on the host computer.

This issue can be easily corrected by modifying the group policy on the host computer to allow the use of GPU rendering during a Remote Desktop session.

To fix this issue, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Windows Run dialog box by pressing the Win + R keys (the Windows key and the “R” key at the same time) on the keyboard. This will display the Windows Run dialog box.
  2. Type gpedit.msc in the Open entry and then press the Enter key or click the [OK] button.
  3. The Local Group Policy Editor application will be displayed. Using the navigation panel on the left side, select Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktop Session Host > Remote Session Environment as shown below.
  4. On the displayed panel, right-click the Use the hardware default graphics adapter for all Remote Desktop Services sessions entry and then select Edit from the displayed context menu.
  5. The following dialog box will be displayed.
  6. Select the Enabled radio button entry and then click the [Apply] button.
  7. Click [OK] to close the dialog box.
  8. Notice that the Use the hardware default graphics adapter for all Remote Desktop Services sessions Group Policy status is set to Enabled.
  9. Restart the host computer and the changes made to the Group Policy will take effect. The engineering software can then be operated from the host computer using Remote Desktop.

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