What is new in RDS in Windows Server 2016

Hi, guys!

Windows Server 2016 RTM is closer than you think and here is the list of new improvements in RDS .If you would like to suggest new feature or you have something that you want to share with Microsoft staff , please use Remote Desktop User Voice Forum

Update: Windows Server 2016 is available for evaluation

MultiPoint Services

MultiPoint Server (MPS) is a technology and solution based on Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services. MPS was originally built for use in the classrooms and educational institutions and It allows you to provide low-cost sharing between MPS and user stations. User stations can be consist of only monitor, keyboard, mouse (zero clients) and be connected to MPS through USB (usb hubs), video cables or through LAN (RDP-over-LAN, if clients are not zero. for example, laptops, thin clients) MPS uses some of the RDS services (by default): RD Session Host and RD Licensing Server.

Microsoft announced that MultiPoint Server will be moved to Windows Server 2016 as a new server role called as “MultiPoint Services”. It’s also a new RDS deployment type.

remote desktop services_windowsserver2016_1

Please read my post that covers MPS in details

Personal Session Desktops

I hope you know VDI has limitations when it is used in SPLA scenarios (see my post VDI and SPLA) or more simply, you can’t share your VDI infrastructure based on client OS to customers under SPLA. Workaround is to provide session-based desktops to users with Windows Server inside (VDI with Windows Server as guest OS/gold image is also unsupported). To simplify it Microsoft has added new RDS collection– Personal Session Desktops (PSD). PSD allows administrators to create a session-based collection where each user  is assigned to dedicated RD Session Host.

In many RDS deployments Windows Server uses Desktop Experience (helps Windows Server to look as Windows Client OS). Windows Server 2016 brings a some improvements  to Desktop Experience as well.

Update: Windows Store Client, Edge and Modern calculator were included to Windows Server 2016 TPs with Desktop Experience (temporarily). These features are replaced with Windows Store Business, Internet Explorer 11, Classic calculator respectively

Let’s look to some scenarios:

  • If you want to assign user who familiar with Windows 10 only (for example) , it’s easy to achieve it by using PSD and Desktop Experience feature.
  • If user also has administrative privilege on desktop and you are moving him or her to PSD ,  PSD allows you to add these users to local admins on related Session Hosts so they can install/remove and do anything on PSDs.
  • If user wants to have applications that require accelerated graphics , you can implement PSD with new RemoteFX capabilities (below)

PSD was firstly announced in TP2 and has changed in TP3/TP4. We have only one way to implement Personal Session Desktops – PowerShell. There are no any options in GUI to create and manage this type of collections. A graphical user interface is going to be added to the Server Manager for Remote Desktop Services in a future release (I do not expect it until RTM release)

For demo purposes I use Quick Start deployment type (RDCB, RDWA and RDSH will be installed on the same server)

personal session desktops_1personal session desktops_2

personal session desktops_3personal session desktops_5

personal session desktops_6personal session desktops_7

Open PowerShell and type:

#Variable for RD Session Host name

To create PDS collection you have to use switch –PersonalUnmanaged (in TP2 was –PersonalSessionCollection)

#Create PDS Collection
New-RDSessionCollection -CollectionName Personal -ConnectionBroker $rdshost -SessionHost $rdshost -GrantAdministrativePrivilege -PersonalUnmanaged

CollectionName Size ResourceType CollectionType CollectionDescription
-------------- ---- ------------ -------------- ---------------------
Personal 1 Remote Desktop PersonalUnmanaged

TIP: If RD SH is already used you unable to create RDS collection . To workaround : remove RD session host from existed collection and try again

New-RDSessionCollection -CollectionName Personal -ConnectionBroker $rdshost -SessionHost $rdshost -GrantAdministrativePrivilege -PersonalUnmanaged
WARNING: The RD Session Host server tp4-root.democorp.ru already exists in another collection.
New-RDSessionCollection : Unable to create the session collection.


CollectionName Size ResourceType CollectionType CollectionDescription
-------------- ---- ------------ -------------- ---------------------
QuickSessionCollection 1 RemoteApp programs PooledUnmanaged


Assign user to collection 

Set-RDPersonalSessionDesktopAssignment -CollectionName Personal -User democorp\rdsuser -Name $rdshost

Get-RDPersonalSessionDesktopAssignment -CollectionName Personal

CollectionName DesktopName User
-------------- ----------- ----

Go to https://<host fqdn>/rdweb , type user’s credential and you’ll see assigned collections

Note:  there is no PDS collection in the Server Manager – RDS – Collections list.

personal session desktops_9

Start Menu:

personal session desktops_10

PDS was created with –GrantAdministrativePrivilege switch so my user has been added to local administrators on assigned RDSH (desktop)

personal session desktops_8

RemoteFX Improvements


In Windows Server 2012 R2, the RemoteFX video adapter has a limitation of 256MB for the maximum amount of dedicated VRAM it exposed, OpenGL 1.1 (!!) and no support for OpenCL.

In real world RemoteFX in 2012 R2 is not suitable for modern applications such as Autocad Re-Cap (OpenGL 3.3, 1Gb VRAM is required) or Photoshop (CC requires OpenGL 2.0 and 512 MB VRAM at least).

Microsoft has got that there is no time to lose and has updated RemoteFX adapter with some VRAM new capabilities which can brake some limiting factors:

  1. A larger dedicated VRAM amount (currently up to 1GB) – A VM can now be configured to obtain up to 1GB of dedicated video memory. Depending on the amount of system memory assigned to the VM, this can provide up to a total of 2GB of VRAM (1GB dedicated and 1GB shared (I need to get some more info about it. I’ve never seen this on official slides ..only @msrdsblog))
  2. Configurable dedicated VRAM – Previously, VRAM was set for a VM dynamically based on the number of monitors and resolution configured for a VM, this association has been removed and now dedicated VRAM can be configured independent of a VM’s number of monitors or resolution. This can be configured using a PowerShell cmdlets in the technical preview.
  3. OpenGL 4.4 and OpenCL 1.1 API Support

These settings can be configured by PowerShell:



Set-VMRemoteFx3dVideoAdapter [-VM] <VirtualMachine[]> [[-MonitorCount] <byte>] [[-MaximumResolution] <string>]
[[-VRAMSizeBytes] <uint64>] [-Passthru] [-WhatIf] [-Confirm]  [<CommonParameters>]

P.S. I’ve already mentioned  RemoteFX and Discrete Device Assignment in what’s new in Hyper-V Windows Server 2016.

Improved Connection broker performance + Azure SQL DB for RDCB HA

RDCB was a source of a slow connection time in case of logon storm (many users trying to connect to their sessions) in WS2012/2012R2. That’s why there is significant improvement to handle performance during logon storms and when adding/restarting RD Session Host servers to a farm in WS 2016. Supported environments is up to 10k + concurrent connection requests.

Note: there is a specific KB to boost your RDCB performance in WS102R2 as well

Additionally, with Windows Server 2016 release RDS now supports Azure SQL Database as a database server for RDCB HA configuration. More info is available @Technet

Remote Desktop Services Windows Server 2016 Improvements Connection Broker

Client and miscellaneous updates

List of all and newly added clients :

  • RDP has been updated to version 10 (10586 build in TP4/Windows 10) with H.264 codec improvements. RDP (MSTSX.EXE) with H.264/A444 mode now supports 4k resolution and provides a new level of color conversion and improved fps throughput. A444 Mode (4:4:4 format of , 4:2:2 is used by rdp in 2012/2012r2) is enabled by default for all RemoteFX GPUs (DirectX 11.0 + H.264 HW Encoder has to support Level 4.1/BT.709 color conversion). 
  • (new) Remote Desktop Preview app for Windows 10 and Mac
  • RD Client for Android
  • RD Client for iOS
  • RD Client for Mac

Generation 2 VM Support

We cannot create VDI collection based on Gen2 “gold” VM in 2012 R2.  In Windows Server 2016 Gen 2 VM support has been added so you can use all type of generations as base for personal/pooled collections and personal session based desktops. There is no additional configuration required. *

*If you are not familiar with VDI, I’d recommend to read my post Quick VDI Deployment 

Pen Devices support in Remote Desktop Sessions

If your device supports pen locally and it is running Windows 10 at least, you can write or draw in the session (previously pen devices redirected but treated like a mouse)

No special configuration is needed. Just connect to remote PC and enjoy

Edge and Office 2016 support

New browser Edge from Microsoft is also supported in Remote Session

Outlook 2016 is supported* in pooled VDI and RDSH deployments (*search under Outlook might be slow or does not work as expected. ’cause search indexing depends on the machine ID, which is different for different VMs and indexer could take a long time to complete)

OneDrive for Business sync client is currently not supported for multi-user environments (pooled VDI and RDSH). Users can connect to their resources using the web interface.

Skype for Business is not supported for RDSH deployments. For VDI deployments use Lync VDI Plug-In

If you have Office 365 subscription and going to integrate with RDSH or VDI check out the following guide in PDF

Planning Poster

Going to migrate, build and run RDS environment? This poster can help you. Click to zoom and save in it’s original size. + don’t forget to bookmark updated RDS section @TechNet

Windows Server 2016 RDS Planning Poster

Thanks for reading!

MultiPoint Services Role in Windows Server 2016



MultiPoint Server (MPS) is a technology and solution based on Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services. MPS was originally built for use in the classrooms and educational institutions and It allows you to provide low-cost sharing between MPS and user stations. User stations can be consist of only monitor, keyboard, mouse (zero clients) and be connected to MPS through USB (usb hubs), video cables or through LAN (RDP-over-LAN, if clients are not zero. for example, laptops, thin clients and etc..).  MPS uses some of the RDS services (by default): RD Session Host and RD Licensing Server.

First version of MPS was released in February, 2010 . In MPS 2010 you can connect stations and host only through USB hubs and video ports.

Ability to use LAN between user stations and MPS was added only to the next version – MPS 2011 released in March, 2011.

Some of the main features of MPS 2011:

  • RDP-over-LAN
  • RemoteFX support
  • Virtualization Support
  • Single administration console to manage multiple MPS
  • Projecting desktop from one stations to another
  • Filtering and blocking internet browsing on stations
  • Ability to open and close applications remotely, lock keyboard and mouse on stations
  • Standard and Premium Editions

MPS 2012 (next generation of MPS based on Windows Server 2012) has been updated with the following new features:

  • MultiPoint Dashboard, new management console to monitor and interact user desktops
  • Disk protection (system volume protection from unwanted changes)
  • Windows 8 desktop experience for users, including access to the Windows Store
  • MultiPoint Server Connector to monitor and manage PCs and Tablets (you need to install manually one on each rich/thin clients)

Differences between Standard and Premium editions :

Name Standard Premium
Maximum simultaneously connected stations up to 10 up to 20
Virtualization No Yes (1+1 licensing model)
Maximum x64 sockets 1 2
Maximum memory 32 Gb Unlimited
Domain joining No Yes

MultiPoint Server 2010-2012 requires license that can be purchased from OEM/VL channels.

Additionally, all MPS user stations require CALs.

MPS 2012 supports the following user stations (endpoints):

  • Direct-video-connected stations (also supported by MPS2010/2011)
  • USB-zero-client-connected
  • USB-Over-Ethernet
  • RDP-over-LAN connected stations (rich clients/thin clients/tablets connected through RDP protocol)

Direct-Video-Connected stations:

MPS host with many video cards –> stations connected to MPS video cards (VGA, for example) –> keyboard and mouse and other devices connected through personal USB hubs

Example (stations and hosts are in close proximity):

  • VGA port on MPS <> VGA port on station’s monitor
  • USB port on MPS <> Station USB hub
  • Peripheral devices on station <> Station USB hub

USB-zero-client-connected stations:

MPS host  with one video card –> stations are connected through specialized USB hubs with video ports

Example (stations and hosts are in close proximity):

  • VGA, USB ports on station <> station USB+VGA hub (all in one)
  • station USB hub <> USB port on MSP


Works  similarly as USB-zero-Client-connected stations but can be connected to LAN and send/receive all data through existing LAN. More flexible but it’s a little bit more expensive.

This type of stations appears as virtual devices in MultiPoint Server. Please refer manufacturer’s documentation before deployment.

To fully understand zero clients (with/-out LAN) please review :

Wyse Zero Clients for Microsoft MultiPoint Server Interactive Brochure

With the Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview release (at the end of 2014) , Microsoft announced that MultiPoint Server will be added as a new server role called MultiPoint Services.

So after WS 2016 RTM MultiPoint Server might be discontinued.


There is no any information about MPS licensing and limitations in Windows Server 2016 either. I’ll keep this post up-to-date.

Update: MultiPoint Premium Server 2016 is a new SKU and it requires Windows Server CALs and RDS CALs. This Windows Server edition is available only for academic licensing. More details are in the licensing datasheet

Deployment steps

We’ll walk through the MPS deployment (rdp-over-lan) in Windows Server 2016 TP4 (domain joined)

  1. Open “Add roles and features” wizard and select MultiPoint Services. You may notice there are some additional features are required for MPS such as File And Storage Services, Print and Document Services and etc. Just click on “Add features” and click Next


  1. Read a great explanation from Microsoft “what is MPS?”.

Remote Desktop Licensing needs to be activated or use trial period (120 days)


  1. Read and click next


  1. I leave default settings and click Next.
  • Print Server is needed to manage multiple printers
  • Distributed Scan Server – enables you to manage and share networks scanners that support Distributed Scan Management
  • Internet Printing creates a web site where users can manage printer jobs on the server .
    If you have installed Internet Printing client on stations you can connect and print to shared printers using Web Browser and Internet Printing Protocol
  • LPD service – Line Printer Daemon Service enables UNIX-based computers using the Line Printer Remote service to print to shared printers on MPS


  1. Leave default settings.
  • RD Gateway – to publish RDS (not suitable for MPS)
  • RD Connection Broker – to distribute connections  (not suitable for MPS)
  • RD Virtualization Host – for VDI
  • RD Web Access – web access to RD session/vdi/remoteapp collections (not suitable for MPS)


  1. After server restart press “B” to identify primary station and wait while remote desktop services complete configuration*


  • To install MultiPoint Services you can use PowerShell (server restarts automatically by default):


TIP: MultiPoint Services add built-in account named as “WmsShell” to support multi-station mode and create group WMSOperators for allowing access to Dashboard functionality

  1. Press Start button and open MultiPoint Manager


  1. Add MultiPoint Servers or personal computers (optional)


  1. Go to Users tab and click “Add user account”, click Next and select user type


10.  Connect to MultiPoint Server from the user connection using RDP.

When user firstly log on to MPS he receives privacy notification “To assist you with your usage of this computer, your activities may be monitored by your system administrator”

Click on “Accept and continue using this computer” and go back to MPS server.


  1. On MPS server run MultiPoint Dashboard. All screens from user stations are being added and updated to dashboard.

You can see what happens on user’s station, block this desktop, set message for blocked users, take control, write IM to user, block USB storage or limit web access on selected desktops.


  1. You can also project your desktop to all or selected user desktops.

It’s really needed when trainer or teacher does not have projector so he or she shares screen to all user’s station.

If you are familiar with Lync/Skype there is a similar feature called as “desktop sharing”


  1. If you want to block selected or all desktops use Block/Unblock options. It’s recommended to set message for blocked users as well.

multipoint_services_windows_server_2016_19 multipoint_services_windows_server_2016_20

  1. To limit web access you need to define list of sites that you are going to “hide” from users


  1. If you open MultiPoint Manager you can notice that list of stations has been updated with rlevchenko’s station


  1. To configure MPS server go back to Home tab and click on “Edit Server Settings

You can disable privacy notification at first user logon or assign a unique IP to each station.


  1. To enable disk protection (recommended) click on “Enable Disk protection”.


18.If you have application requires its own instance of a client operating system for each user you can create Virtual Desktop based on Windows 7 or later.



How to uninstall MultiPoint Services in Windows Server 2016 TP?

Use Remove Roles and Features , restart server and run this script


Where is the powershell module for MultiPoint Services?

At the time of writing, there is no PS module for MultiPoint Services