How to fix Remote Desktop DPI scaling with high resolution laptops

More and more laptops are equipped with high-resolution screens, like the Microsoft Surfaces and (in my case) the Dell XPS devices. Do you also have a very high-resolution display on your laptop like I do? And is everything too small to see within your Remote Desktop Connection, I found the following solution very useful.

This issue is caused by lack of not being DPI scaling aware of the Remote Desktop Client. If you open a Remote Desktop connection to a server or other computer the native resolution of the computer is used instead of the scaling to 1920×1080, so you’ll get very small icons etc. There are (Remote Desktop/Management) tools available who seems to fix this issue also. But I was looking for a solution that works with my current mstsc.exe. The solution is to create a manifest file. A manifest file is a (XML) configuration file to configure special settings, in this case for mstsc.exe. Follow the steps below :

First, tell Windows to look for a manifest file for an application by default. This can be done by setting a registry entry.

Open regedit and navigate to the registry key:
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SideBySide
Right-click, select NEW -> DWORD (32 bit) Value
Type PreferExternalManifest and then press ENTER.
Right-click PreferExternalManifest, and then click Modify.
Enter Value Data 1 and select Decimal.
Click OK. Exit Registry Editor.

Next step is to make the manifest file, mstsc.exe.manifest. Copy the contents below and put it in Notepad or similar tool and save it to a file as %SystemRoot%\System32\mstsc.exe.manifest. Download of the file is also available, here. Important is that you save the file in the same directory as the Remote Desktop Client executable (mstsc.exe).

You can also copy/paste the following code into the manifest file :

There are a couple of things you have to keep in mind. The mouse pointer still stays small. I found this not so big an issue and still haven’t found a workaround for this. I’ve heard that updates like Microsoft 1709 overwrites the manifest file. So you have to re-apply the manifest file. I’ve also noticed that the warning do you trust this certificate warning doesn’t appear any longer 🙂

 


How to boot Windows 10 into Recovery Mode

It’s very easy to boot a Windows 10 machine into the Recovery Mode. Yust power on the Windows 10 machine and wait for the login screen. Hold down the Left Shift and choose the restart option (hit the Power icon at the bottom right)

Windows 10 Recovery Boot

So choose the restart option and after a couple of seconds you notice that you’re booted into the Recovery Mode :

Recovery Mode 1

Recovery Mode 2

Now you are ready to restore a system image (see previous post) or go to safe mode or command prompt.


How to quickly create a Windows 10 Image in VHD format

For testing purposes I quickly wanted to create a master image using a VHD file. The Master VM was running on VMware so I decided to use the Windows 10 built-in functionality. Just run the sdclt.exe command with administrator privileges.  (This was introduced some time ago with Windows Vista).

sdclt

Create System Image

Confirm your backup settings:

Confirm System Image

Sleect the Create System Image function and specify a location where you wish to store the VHD file. In this example I use a network location. Follow the default options and wait a couple of minutes. At the network location I just specified there is now the VHD file present.

Note : You can use this file also when you boot in the Windows Recovery Environment.

Windows System Recovery

(Choose System Image Recovery and point to your created VHD image)


How to export your Windows 10 product key

The product key for new computers that come preinstalled with Windows 10 has the product key stored within the motherboard firmware. Users can retrieve it by issuing a command from the command prompt.

  1. Press Windows key + X
  2. Click Command Prompt (Admin)
  3. At the command prompt, type wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey

This will reveal the product key.

Windows 10 Key


How to create a bootable ESXi installer USB drive

Follow these steps to create a bootable USB installer.

Download Rufus here. You might also want to download the ESXi installer here. Now connect the USB drive to your computer and open rufus :

Rufus Image

Select your VMware ESXi ISO image :

Rufus Select ISO

Leave all the default settings to default and click Start! Now you’re all done!


How to configure PFsense to PXE boot using FOGProject

For testing purposes I’m using PFsense to allow my clients to PXE boot using the FOG TFTP server.

This are the settings which are working :

PropertyValue
Next serverIP Address of FOG Server
Default BIOS file nameundionly.kpxe
UEFI 32 bit file nameipxe32.efi
UEFI 64 bit file nameipxe.efi

 

You can find these settings in the PFsense DHCP service menu.


Recommended Quest Virtual Appliance specifications (K1000)

The K1000 Virtual Appliance is configured, by default, to utilize 2 vCPUs and 4 GB of memory (this is also the minimum system requirement for the K1000). However, this minimum specification is only designed for the average customer up to 1000 managed devices. For larger implementations, more resources are required.

This chart below lists the recommended vCPU, RAM and NIC specifications based on managed device count (i.e. client systems with a K1000 agent installed). This is only a general guideline, as the results can vary widely based on how the K1000 is configured. It’s possible to have less then 1000 managed devices, for example, and require more than 4 GB of memory. Details about the K1000’s performance are available in Settings > Logs, then click System Performance in the drop-down menu.

Managed Device CountRecommended VM ResourcesNetwork interface
0 - 10002 vCPU & 4 GB RAM1 Gigabit
1000 - 20004 vCPU & 8 GB RAM1 Gigabit
2000 - 40008 vCPU & 16 GB RAM1 Gigabit
4000 - 800016 vCPU & 32 GB RAM1 Gigabit
8000 - 1600024 vCPU & 64 GB RAM10 Gigabit

How to convert OVA to VHDX for Hyper-V 2

If you have found yourself in a scenario where you would like to use Hyper-V as a test environment for your virtual machines, but you are using VMware ESXi Server,Citrix XenServer or VirtualBox then this tutorial is for you.

Required software

  • Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0 available here.
  • WinRar (or any tool you prefer to extract .tar files)
  • Your OVA export unzipped into a folder.

Preparations

  • Download and install Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0.

An OVA file is simply a tar archive file containing the OVF directory. First you rename the .ova file to a .tar extension. Now you can use WinRAR and extract the .vmdk files within to get the virtual machines disks. VMDK is an open format used by VMware and other vendors.

Convert The Image

Next we will need to convert our VMware Image in order for Hyper-V to run it. This can be done using Powershell:

Copy you .VHDX to the folder containing you Hyper-V virtual machine.  When creating your new virtual machine, you must ensure you select “Generation 1” when choosing the generation of the virtual machine :