Remote Desktop – Black Screen Of Death

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. The apparent cause is Screen Caching and accessing a system with different display resolution or RDP window sizes.

The Solution(s)

  • 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
  • Resolution – Remote connect at same resolution as host, change to different re.
    1. Click Show Options on main Remote Desktop screen
    2. Display tab > Display Configuration > adjust Display size
  • Cache – Delete your local RDP bitmap cache:
    1. Delete files here:
      C:\Users\%UserName%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Terminal Server Client\Cache
    2. Disable Persistent 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 an 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

Remote Desktop Black Screen - Disable Bitmap Caching
RDP Black Screen – Disable Persistent Bitmap Caching

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10 thoughts on “Remote Desktop – Black Screen Of Death

  1. I have a linux server and when I log in remotely in it I will get the blue screen. Can I use this technique also?

  2. I have been remoting into this machine for years but the black screen issue only started when I upgraded to windows 10. Every morning I log into it and I get the black screen. I have tried disabling the bitmap cache but still same issue. I have found that if I log in and get black screen and just minimize that connection and wait around 5 minutes it will kick me out and the second remote attempt will work. This connect, wait connect again has been working for months now. I hope Microsoft resolves this soon.

  3. I am having the same problem everytime I login I get a black screen for 2 seconds then it is fine after that, if I minimize the remote desktop windows and maximize it again, then it will give me a black screen again.

  4. Disabling Bitmap Caching works perfect. I agree that you find at most times you get to logging remotely on machines with different resolutions hence all this issues. Also Ctrl + Alt + End works fine.

    Cheers all.

  5. This “RDP black screen” has been a bug since 2011. Six *YEARS* later…. it’s still present in
    W10 v1607.

    Ugh.

  6. You, dear sir, have just save me of a long trip to reboot remote PC.
    And yes, I’m commenting this through remote desktop!
    Thanks.

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