Enabling GPU rendering on Windows Server 2016 / Windows 10 RDP

Discussion created by JBoyle-esristaff Employee on Nov 29, 2018
Latest reply on Apr 6, 2020 by jdeweese-esristaff

I was recently helping a customer with RDP access and exposing the GPU to the RDP session.  By default, Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 do not enable the GPU for rendering over RDP. Changing a Group Policy can easily change this. 


As of Windows 10 / Windows Server 2016, you can enable GPU usage remotely as both operating systems natively support DirectX 11 / OpenGL 3+ over RDP.  It is as simple as setting a toggle in the group policy correctly on Windows 10 / Server 2016:


  • Open the Edit Group Policy tool from Control Panel or use the Windows Search dialog (Windows Key + R, then type in gpedit.msc)
  • Browse to: Local Computer Policy\Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment
  • Then enable “Use the hardware default graphics adapter for all Remote Desktop Services sessions


Doing this activates DirectX/OpenGL and the GPU over RDP. You can confirm it's working by launching ArcGIS Pro, opening a map, then hitting Shift + E, this will display the rendering information for your ArcGIS Pro session.








The RDP client you use to connect must also support GPU, So you'll have to be on Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016.


For more specifics from Microsoft, check out: Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) 10 AVC/H.264 improvements in Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview - Micros… 


** Edit ** Minor revision to indicate that both OpenGL and DirectX are supported.