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When I fire up remote desktop on Windows and connect to my server (Windows Server 2008), the fonts look pretty smooth. I just installed Ubuntu 10.10 yesterday and when I use rdesktop to connect the fonts look terrible.

I've looked at all the settings but had no luck. Maybe there's some secret switch, or do I need to use a different client?

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hmmm... looking at terminal services client, it only supports RDP 5.0. ClearType was added in RDP 6.0, looks like I might need a different client. – Andy E Jan 20 '11 at 10:35
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Use one of the following experience options:

rdesktop -x 0x8F mywinserver   # modem default + font smoothing
rdesktop -x 0x81 mywinserver   # broadband default + font smoothing
rdesktop -x 0x80 mywinserver   # LAN default + font smoothing


Fonts will be better

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+1 and the green tick — excellent find, thanks! – Andy E May 22 '11 at 18:28

My guess is that you want to check out remmina ( which has quality options for RDP 5. I'm not aware that there's an RDP 6 client for us for the time being.

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Thanks for your answer. Unfortunately RDP 5 doesn't support ClearType. I looked at Remmina and it's based on FreeRDP, which is a fork of rdesktop. Both only support upto RDP 5. – Andy E Jan 20 '11 at 15:21

Perhaps not completely helpful, since Wishi has already suggested it, but for the record, there's no reason that Remmina should be displaying "terrible" fonts. You won't get Cleartype, sure, but they should still be slick and readable.

Here's a screenshot from my Windows 2003 box :

Remmina RDP Client

That's running 16-bit colour, though. In order to try that, go to the settings page in Remmina and change it from 256 colours to 16-bit :

Remmina Settings Page

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use the latest freerdp and give it the parameter -x 80 , this is the user experience flag which enables everthing that freerdp supports so it should be identical to being directly on the box. (or at least it is for windows7)

these flags are documented by microsoft here:

i still have to enable font smoothing each time i reconnect to my windows 7 box and haven't found a way round that yet.

edit: xfreerdp flags kan be read here

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