How to Optimize Performance of Microsoft RDS for the Enterprise

Learn how to Optimize Performance of Microsoft RDS for the Enterprise

As more and more businesses move towards remote work, the demand for reliable and efficient remote desktop solutions has grown exponentially. Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is one of the most popular solutions for businesses of all sizes. However, optimizing the performance of Microsoft RDS for the enterprise can be challenging, especially for those not familiar with the intricacies of the platform. In this article, we will discuss some tips and tricks for optimizing the performance of Microsoft RDS to ensure a smooth and seamless remote desktop experience for your enterprise. 

In today’s remote work environment, a smooth and reliable remote desktop experience is essential for business productivity. Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is a cost-effective solution for remote access to Windows-based applications and desktops. By optimizing the performance of Microsoft RDS, enterprises can improve employee productivity and collaboration while reducing downtime and support costs.

Microsoft RDS is a powerful and versatile platform that enables remote workers to access their desktops, applications, and data from anywhere, at any time. With RDS, businesses can provide their employees with a secure and scalable remote desktop experience that is tailored to their specific needs. RDS can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment. However, RDS performance can be affected by a wide range of factors, including network latency, server hardware, storage IOPS, software configurations, and user behavior. To optimize RDS performance for the enterprise, it is important to identify and address these factors proactively.

Assessing Your Environment

Before you can optimize the performance of your RDS environment, you need to understand its current state. This includes identifying the hardware and software components of your RDS infrastructure, as well as the performance metrics that are most relevant to your business. Some of the key performance metrics to monitor include: 

  • CPU Usage: High CPU usage can cause delays and responsiveness issues in RDS environments.
  • Memory Usage: Insufficient memory can cause RDS servers to slow down or crash.
  • Network Latency: High network latency causes delays in screen updates and input responsiveness. 
  • Disk I/O: Slow disk I/O causes delays in application launches and file transfers. 

To assess your RDS environment, you can use Microsoft’s built-in performance monitoring tools, such as Performance Monitor and Resource Monitor. These tools provide real-time and historical data on CPU, memory, network, and disk usage, which can help you identify performance bottlenecks and plan for capacity upgrades. 

Optimizing Server Hardware

Server hardware is a critical component of any RDS environment. The performance of your RDS servers depends on the processing power, memory, storage, and network capacity of the underlying hardware. To optimize server hardware for RDS, you should consider the following factors: 

  • Processor: RDS servers can benefit from high-speed processors with multiple cores to handle multiple user sessions simultaneously. 
  • Memory: RDS servers should have sufficient memory to accommodate user sessions and prevent performance degradation. 
  • Storage: RDS servers require fast and reliable storage to ensure fast application launches and file transfers. 
  • Network: RDS servers should be connected to high-speed and low-latency networks to provide a smooth and responsive remote desktop experience. When accessed over the internet, the internet bandwidth must have sufficient throughput and low latency to accommodate the number of remote users. 


Please follow these leading practices in order to deliver great end user RDS experience: 

  • Use Dedicated Servers for RDS: avoid sharing RDS servers with other workloads to ensure consistent performance. If you must share RDS servers with other workloads, make sure that the underlying hardware has sufficient capacity in order to avoid resource contention.
  • Use SSD Storage: Solid-state drives (SSDs) offer faster read/write speeds than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), which can improve application launch times and file transfers. 
  • Use High-Speed Network Adapters. Gigabit Ethernet adapters can provide faster data transfer rates than standard Ethernet adapters. This can reduce network latency and improve screen refresh rates.
  • Server Density: Make sure to properly size the RDS servers with RAM and CPU that is required for the total number of users to do their work productively. In some cases, it is better to spread the load across multiple servers rather than add more RAM and CPU to cramp more users on one server. Proper testing and performance measurement will help guide the best configuration between scaling up resources or scaling out servers.
  • Use high-speed internet. A high-speed, low latency internet connection is a must for remote workers. Ensure that there is at least available bandwidth of 100Kbps per user for common usage. If conducting CAD and graphical work on RDS over the internet, plan for at least 1Mbps per user of available bandwidth.

Configuring RDS Settings

RDS settings can have a significant impact on performance and user experience. To optimize RDS settings for the enterprise, you should consider the following factors:

  • Session timeout: Configure session timeouts based on your organization’s security policies and user behavior. Longer timeouts can improve user productivity but increase the risk of server over-utilization.
  • Screen resolution: Set appropriate screen resolutions for user sessions based on the display capabilities of their devices. Lower resolutions can improve screen refresh rates and reduce bandwidth usage. 
  • RemoteFX settings: RemoteFX is a set of features in RDS that improves the performance of graphics-intensive applications. Configure RemoteFX settings based on the graphics requirements of your applications and the capabilities of your server hardware. 
  • Compression settings: Configure compression settings to reduce network bandwidth usage and improve screen refresh rates. However, higher compression settings can increase CPU usage on RDS servers.
  • Cache Bitmaps: Enable Bitmap Caching in order to reduce the amount of data that needs to be sent between the end user and the RDS server. This significantly improves the performance and responsiveness of remote desktop sessions and reduces the amount of data that needs to be re-transmitted.

To configure RDS settings, you can use the Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration tool or Group Policy settings. These tools allow you to configure session timeouts, screen resolutions, RemoteFX settings, and compression settings based on your organization’s requirements. 


Optimizing the performance of Microsoft RDS for the enterprise requires a holistic approach that encompasses hardware, software, and user behavior. By assessing your RDS environment, optimizing server hardware, and configuring RDS settings, you can ensure a smooth and seamless remote desktop experience for your employees. With the right tools and techniques, you can improve employee productivity, collaboration, and satisfaction while reducing support costs and downtime.