Display issues when connecting to RealVNC Server running on Windows


In some circumstances, your remote computer running Windows will not display correctly in RealVNC Viewer. The commonly reported issues are:

  • a black or blank screen
  • application windows are white
  • the Start Menu is smaller than expected

The issue is most commonly seen when connecting to a computer with no monitors attached (headless), or a monitor using HDMI/DisplayPort is connected but powered off.

In the above situations, Windows does not correctly report graphical updates to be captured by RealVNC Server using DirectX.

Please find below a list of workarounds that you can use to mitigate this issue:

  1. Change your Power settings on the RealVNC Server computer to never turn off the monitors/displays and that Windows is not set to a "Battery Saver" power mode.
  2. If RealVNC Server is running on a laptop, do not completely close the laptop lid.
  3. If HDR is enabled for a particular monitor, try disabling HDR support in Windows display settings.
  4. Disable DirectX tracking in VNC Server's Options, Troubleshooting section:
    1. On the remote Windows computer, open the RealVNC Server dialog, using the Start Menu or taskbar icon.
    2. Select Options from the hamburger menu at the top right
    3. Select Troubleshooting from the left menu
    4. Disable the checkbox for DirectX and click Apply.
      • This can also be changed:
        • In RealVNC Server's Options, Expert section using the CaptureMethod parameter and setting a value of 1, or;
        • In the Registry under HKLM\Software\RealVNC\vncserver by creating a String value named CaptureMethod and with a value of 1.

          RealVNC Server must be restarted after manually editing the Registry.
  5. Connect an EDID emulator to the VNC Server computer. An example EDID emulator can be seen here.
    Note: RealVNC have not tested this particular emulator and it is only provided as an example.


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1 comment
  • OPs solutions 1 and 3 didn't help for me, and I don't have an HDMI dummy available. However, I found the following solution which works on my Acer Notebook:

    Make sure that your Laptop lid is opened while you do this!

    "Here are the steps:

    1. Open Device Manager (search it in the Start menu).
    2. In "System devices" find "ACPI lid".
    3. Open "ACPI lid" properties, and go to the "Driver" tab.
    4. Select "Update driver".
    5. Choose "Browse my computer for driver software" and "Let me pick.."
    6. Uncheck "Show compatible hardware".
    7. In "Manufacturer" select "(Standard system devices)", or in Windows 8 and 10, choose Microsoft as the manufacturer - different place, but the hack still works
    8. For model, select "Volume manager".
    9. Restart the system and it works!"

    From: https://superuser.com/a/380038

    EDIT from RealVNC: The steps above are at user's own risk, they have not been tested by RealVNC.

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