[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.
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.
Windows Server 2022: Microsoft 365 Apps unsupported
Windows Server 2022: MS 365 apps to be supported
.NET updates (Dec. 13, 2022) fixes vulnerability CVE-2022-41089, but causing issues
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Thank you for posting the link to this at techcommunity.microsoft.com (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.
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.