Windows Server 2022: Microsoft Office display issues on RDS

Windows[German]It's a strange bug that a blog reader just reported to me in the terminal server environment with Office. In a constellation under Windows Server 2022, reproducible display errors occur under Microsoft Office during an installation with Remote Desktop Services (RDS). In certain display constellations all text characters in a Word window disappear after some time. But there is a workaround, so I'll post it in the blog, maybe there are more affected people.


Swiss system engineer IT Mischa K. works for a service company and had a customer that uses Remote Desktop Services (RDS), also known as terminal server. However, in a constellation using Windows Server 2022, Mischa has encountered a reproducible issue that makes it impossible to use. Mischa describes the issue it this way:

We have brought up an RDS on Windows Server 2022 at a first customer and encounter inexplicable, but reproducible display errors in Office.

The following detailed descriptions of the display issues left me a bit puzzled. Mischa wrote:

  • After a few minutes of doing nothing in Microsoft Word (e.g. working on the 2nd screen in the browser), all characters on the Word page disappear. So it looks like you have an empty document in front of you, but the ribbon at the top of the window is fine. If you move the whole Word window a few millimeters, the text reappears.
  • The customer has the company logo in the Outlook signature. If you manually delete the logo in a mail draft, all the text, the subject line and everything above it looks normal. If you move the window a few millimeters the text reappears.

Mischa then wrote that the problem can be reproduced. For this purpose, he set up an additional test RDS under Windows Server 2022 in his IT company's network and then booted it up. There, exactly the same phenomenon could be reproduced, he wrote in an e-mail. Mischa K. then provided the following details about the system configuration in his mail.

  • Both RDSs mentioned are Windows Server 2022 (OS Build 20348.1249) running virtualized on Nutanix.
  • The problem only seems to occur when at least one monitor has a resolution higher than Full HD (tested with WQHD and 4K). If you also have a Full HD monitor, the problem also occurs on the smaller monitor. The scaling does not play a role.
  • If you only use Full HD monitors, the problem does not occur.
  • Office version: Office for Business version 2202 build 16.0.14931.20648 (semi-annual enterprise channel), occurs with 64 bit as well as 32 bit.
  • The connection to the RDS does not matter: either directly (RDP, port 3389) or via the RD gateway (port 443), with UDP enabled or disabled, the problem can always be reproduced.
  • The Visual Effects in the System Properties also have no effect on the behavior.
  • Addendum: Mischka added in a 2nd mail, that the session hosts don't use a a dedicated graphics card.

Finally Mischa K asked if I have already heard similar things from other administrators, which I had to deny. However, I'll post the issue here on the blog, maybe other administrators have already noticed it. Otherwise, take a look before you roll out RDS on Windows Server 2022 with Office.

I can only think of the story that Microsoft did not want to support Office 365 apps on Windows Server 2022, but then rowed back after customer complaints. I had picked this up in the blog post Windows Server 2022: MS 365 apps to be supported. I've left a link to the article here as a feedback on this MS page and on Twitter.

Workaround using group policy

Addendum: Mischa K. has looked again into the issue and found a solution after a series of tests. He wrotein a 2nd mail, that he went in the group policies to:


Computer -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Remote Desktop Services -> Remote Desktop Session Host -> Remote Session Environment

and deactivated the policy Prioritize H.264/AVC 444 graphics mode for Remote Desktop Connections.

Group Policy for RDS
Click to zoom

The policy Prioritize H.264/AVC 444 graphics mode for Remote Desktop Connections prioritizes H.264/AVC 444 graphics mode for non-RemoteFX vGPU scenarios. If the policy is enabled on the RDP server, the server will use the H.264/AVC 444 codec if the client also supports it. After disabling the use of this codec, Misha K. writes the following.

This solved the problem No. 2 [Outlook graphic] described yesterday. No. 1 [Word problem] I could not recreate on my WQHD screen. If mentioned policy is activated, the problem does not occur either, but the graphics quality is noticeably worse.

I'll run this policy at the customer's site and have it tested on the 4K monitors, and let you know if the problem is permanently solved.

In any case, this is progress. I've reported the problem to Microsoft. Maybe someone will pick it up there and it will be improved – or the above hints will help someone affected for once.

Addendum 1: Unfortunately, the test at the customer's system didn't brought a solution. Mischa wrote in another mail:

Unfortunately I have to report that the problem is even more complex than initially thought. The test at the customer's machine showed that the GPO did not provide any improvement on 4K monitors. On the other hand, the problem also occurs with FullHD monitors at the customer's site, which I could not verify at my site.

Currently there is no final solution or workaround. Even a test of the latest Office (Monthly Update Channel) did not help.

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12 Responses to Windows Server 2022: Microsoft Office display issues on RDS

  1. RH says:

    Thank you for posting the link to this at (I wasn't finding this via Google). I found the exact same issue. Then on Jan 10, 2023 I tried updating to Current Channel (previously I was using Semi-Annual Channel; I tried the Semi-Annual Jan 10 update as well with no luck), and it appears to go blank (white for the whole content window) sometime after the first run, and as you mention, if you move/click or interact with Word it displays the content again. However, unlike Semi-Annual Channel version, it only seems to do this once, and then never again. I tried both 1920×1080 and 4k.

    It seems like it might be related to the "See what's coming soon" first launch stuff. However, unlike the DisablePreviewPlace reg value for Outlook, unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a corresponding value for Word.

  2. JR says:

    The workaround for this that I have found is to change your local resolution settings to less than HD, log into your RDP session and then switch back to HD on your local machine.

    This seems to then be stable and not give 'white outs'

    Also RDP'ing into another session from within an RDP session does not produce the whiteouts, even if using HD screen settings.

  3. Rudie says:

    We have the same issues with multiple RDS environments. we just found out the following.

    When using Word or Excel when signed-in via office365 the screen will turn blank or characters will dissapear. when we sign-out the problems go away.

    Can you also confirm this?

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  5. davidtg says:

    I've been fighting the same issue in our RDS environment with centrally installed Office 2021. In the Outlook email compose window or a Word document the text disappears when the window looses focus after approx 30seconds. It issue doesn't happen all the time but when its affecting a specific user it does happen consistently. I was able to reproduce it and did some testing finding some additional behaviors,

    In an Outlook compose window – scrolling through the quoted email text – the text would consistently disappear when I scrolled to a specific point where there was a graphic. If I continued to scroll up or down all of the text would re-appear. Other users reported some similar behavior that I think is graphic elements in the email related.

    In this same compose window, going to full-screen mode, scrolling didn't cause any text to disappear and the compose window never went blank after loosing focus for 30 seconds. Still in this same compose window, go out of full-screen mode, all of the issues return – went blank after 30 seconds and scrolling to the specific point would cause it to blank.

    Also tested with two Outlook compose windows open side-by-side, one for O365 email account and the other for a gmail account, only the O365 account compose window blanked the text. I've not tested but based on the above its possible that the graphic in my signature line for O365 email is related cause. My gmail account sig doesn't have such a graphic.

    After closing and restarting Outlook the issue stopped for me. Some users report the same but after some time – like a day – the issue returns.

  6. Sander says:

    We have the same problem, it looks like the problem only exist when there is a user with a touch screen device on the same RDS server.

    As soon as i log in with a touch screen device i get the white screen in Word/Outlook when idle for about 40 seconds.

    Found no solution yet..

  7. Andries says:

    We have exact the same problem. We have implemtented the policy like described above. The problem was gone for a few days but its back now. The customer complains that the problem exist more often every day.

    Anyone found the fix for this problem?

  8. Jens says:

    We have the same problem, tried a lot of things, nothing helped. Looks like it happens when rdp clients with touch displays connected to the RDS.

    • Andries says:

      Our customer has a few Microsoft Surface devices connected to the RDS server. We disabled the touchscreen on all the devices but the problem exist…

  9. Evan R says:

    Has there been any update on a resolution to this, from Microsoft or otherwise? We are seeing this exact issue on our Citrix environment with Office 2021, Outlook windows and PDF programs losing their content after about 30 seconds idle as a background window

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