Display issues when connecting to VNC Server running on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016/2019

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In some circumstances, your Windows 10 (1803 or later)/ Windows Server (2016 or later) remote computer will not display correctly in VNC 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.

It appears that in the above situations, Windows does not correctly report graphical updates to be captured by VNC Server using DirectX. At this time, there are some known workarounds you can try below:

  1. Upgrade VNC Server to version 6.5.0, as this version contains some changes to try and automatically recover from a blank screen
  2. Change your Power settings on the VNC Server computer to never turn off the monitors/displays
  3. Check that Windows is not set to a "Battery Saver" power mode
  4. 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
  5. Change the VNC Server CaptureMethod parameter:
    • On the remote Windows computer, open the VNC Server dialog.
    • Select Options from the hamburger menu.
    • On the Expert tab, filter the list for CaptureMethod, and set the value to 1
    • Restart VNC Server

      This can also be specified using the Registry, in the HKLM\Software\RealVNC\vncserver key. Create a String value named CaptureMethod and set a value of 1.
      Note: If you have an Enterprise subscription, you can configure computers remotely or in bulk using Group Policy.

 

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  • In addition to what is stated in the article, I also found it necessary to make sure Gamestream for Nvidia shield is turned on under the Geforce experience settings menu. If this setting is off, the GPU will not properly utilize DirectX screen capture.

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  • 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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