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I have set up a local remote desktop connection between my Thinkpad and my desktop computer, both running Windows 8 Pro. My desktop computer is connected to my TV via HDMI.

What I want to do is to use the laptop as a remote control for my desktop, so I don't always have to get up from the couch to use the mouse or keyboard on the desktop if it requires interaction. However I can't seem to activate the TV as a second screen of the desktop if I'm connected via remote. In the Control Panel where you usually can set up screens and resolutions, all controls are disabled along with a "The display settings can't be changed from a remote session" message. It doesn't work via Win+P or the Charms bar either.

My question now is, whether this is actually possible with a remote desktop session. If not, is this possible at all, maybe with different software such as VNC or Teamviewer?

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Yes, this can be done with default RDP client, but with certain limitations. Since this is included in OS and is actually free - this is Ok.

Specifically, the client needs the following for span mode to work correctly:

  • Equal resolution monitors

  • Total resolution of all monitors not exceeding 4096 x 2048

  • Top-left monitor being the primary

Besides, you need to have MS RDP Client ver.6 installed.

If you go to Run > and type in mstsc /? - you will get basic help for rdp client

enter image description here

Here is an article which describes all the requirements\limitations\configuration instructions in details.

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I'm not sure if that does what I want. I have no additional monitors connected to my laptop, and only want to change the output device of the remote computer. – Lennart Feb 7 '13 at 16:18
You do not have to have additional monitors connected to your laptop. Span mode is responsible for viewing multiple remote displays on a local machine while certain conditions are preserved (Review this article to understand differences between multimon feature vs "span" mode)… – Volodymyr M. Feb 7 '13 at 16:37
up vote 0 down vote accepted

It works via Teamviewer 8, however if there is a possibility to do it with the Windows remote desktop, I'd be still interested in that.

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