Windows 10 V1903: Remote Desktop shows Black Screen

[German]Users of Windows 10 who have upgraded to the May 2019 update and are using the Remote Desktop for remote sessions may suffer from the fact that only a black windows appear. This applies only to users in corporate environments where Remote Desktop is available and occurs only on older hardware. Here are some information and backgrounds.


Remote Desktop issues affected Windows 10 users for years

If you search the internet with the terms "windows 10 remote desktop black screen" you will find hits back to 2017 and earlier. If you add the term V1903, the hits on the Windows 10 May 2019 update are narrowed down. I found this thread in the Microsoft Answers forum at the end of May 2019.

Windows 10 1903 (May update) black screen with Remote Desktop

I upgraded my secondary machine from 1809 to 1903. When I access it now using Remote Desktop all I get is a black screen in the RDP windows. I then upgraded my primary machine to 1903 hoping that would help, but no. Fortunately I also have GoToAssist installed so I was able to log into the secondary machine that way and checked for updates, still no help. Finally I reverted it back to 1809 and Remote Desktop once again works. I could keep using GoToAssist but RDP over my local LAN is much faster.

As long as this version as been (more or less) gold before going public, I can't possibly be the first one with this issue. It's no big deal to me that my secondary is running 1809, it's primarily a file server, but upgrading would be nice.

Granted, that secondary system is an older Core2 Quad, but at 3.3GHz and 8GB of memory and a SSD, it's plenty fast enough. I suppose I could try a different video card, but it shouldn't be necessary for a feature update.
Anyone have some insight into why RDP isn't working. I've already been through all the "guesses".

After upgrading to Windows 10 V1903, the user was facing the issue that his remote desktop only showed a black window. He then tried several machines without success.

What I doen't like nower days at MS Answers ate the 'background noise of useless hints' of the 'Independat Advisors'. However, I understand from the thead that the user was not alone. There was other users affected, and there are hints to older display drivers as a root cause – so a driver update can help.

And I came across the blog post Remote Desktop Black screen in Windows 10 1903 update, which appeared in the Surface Tablet blog. There a user described the effect for a Surface Pro 5. The author states that older hardware such as AMD Radeon R7 350X or the Intel Q45/Q43 graphics chipset are not compatible with Windows 10 V1903 – the current driver of the display adapter are causing issues. Result: The remote desktop session shows only a black screen, while mouse and keyboard take over the control. Then you can only terminate the process via Task Manager.

Microsoft confirms and explains the issue

I quickly checked the status page of Windows 10 V1903 – there is nothing of this problem to be found. Now Windows Report mentioned that Microsoft employee Denis Gundarev confirmed that it was a known issue.

Display drivers report some of their capabilities upon load. In previous Windows versions this reported data wasn't used or verified. Because of that, some of the old versions of the legacy display driver may report invalid data and it would be ignored. Starting with Windows 10 1903 RDP uses this data to initialize the session.

Microsoft stated that developers are working on a permanent solution. Meanwhile, those affected should contact their hardware manufacturer to update their display driver. From Windows Report, there is this old 2018 guide that describes possible fixes. Any of you affected?


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14 Responses to Windows 10 V1903: Remote Desktop shows Black Screen

  1. Ho Ka Lok says:

    We faced this problem last month and found that it's related to XDDM vs WDDM display driver model. Finally solved by using GPO to force use back the old XDDM display driver. In [Computer Configuration->Policies->Windows Settings->Administrative Templates->Windows Components->Remote Desktop Services->Remote Desktop Session Host->Remote Session Enviroment], set the Policy [Use WDDM graphics display driver for Remote Desktop Connections] to Disabled.

  2. Norio says:

    Excellent! Thank you very much.

  3. Pingback: More bugses with the July Win10 version 1903 cumulative update @ AskWoody

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  5. Daniel says:

    There is another issue with RDP which makes the CPU load go up after the remote desktop session ends:

    This is not fixed with the GPO setting unfortunately. :(

    • Ho Ka Lok says:

      We found this problem in June, but kept on installing latest patches (dated 10 Jul 2019, KB4509096/4507453) and the preview patch KB4505903 seems make the problem appear less frequent.
      However, is this related to the old method(since win10 appear) of "Wallpaper/Theme/Screensaver/magnifier/hardware acceleration in office" help ?
      We're already installed the lastest available graphic driver anyway.

  6. Alex Prise says:

    Hi there,
    You are right. It works.
    It runs Win 10 Pro v. 1903 on pretty old hardware. Exactly as you described.
    Thanks a lot.
    Aug. 2019

  7. Laurie says:

    A very big thank you from all the way over in Australia. Saves us from replacing a bunch of very old HP machines that have been working perfectly for about 13 years (until this). They've been upgraded from XP to Win7 (with SSD), then Win8, then Win8.1, and then 3 versions of Win10 (OMG!).
    They will live a little longer now thanks to your post.

  8. Andreas says:

    Thank you so much. Works like a charm. Finally frustration-free homeoffice is back again :-)

    The symptom with my pc@home connected through a vpn to my pc@company was more or less that the picture was suddely stuck, while still accepting keyboard/mouse input.
    I had to manually reconnect and then it worked again for an unpredictable amount of time. Never thought of an RDP but VPN issue since this has been rock solid for years.

    I'm so happy everything is fixed,now.

    Target System is on 1909

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