Occasional Contributor
First published on CloudBlogs on Aug, 22 2012

Hi, my name is Elton Saul. I am a developer on the Remote Desktop Virtualization (RDV) team. Our team is responsible for developing Microsoft RemoteFX in the Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 release .

Windows 8 is designed to be used with a keyboard, mouse, and touch. However, from its inception through to the Windows 7 timeframe, RemoteFX has only supported the keyboard and mouse as input devices. Because Windows 8 will be used on devices without a physical keyboard and mouse, the ability to use remote touch over a RemoteFX connection is essential to ensure a fluid and seamless user experience when connecting to Windows 8 devices. For this reason, RemoteFX in Windows 8 now supports rich multi-touch remoting. This feature is known as RemoteFX Multi-Touch.

How does RemoteFX Multi-Touch work?

Rich multi-touch remoting involves more than simply sending touch gestures (such as tap, pinch, zoom, and pan) to a remote computer. Instead we transmit touch frames that contain rich metadata from client to server. Each transmitted touch frame describes the complete set of touch contacts that are active at a given moment in time (across all active touch digitizers), and includes details such as the on-screen location of each contact, the bounding rectangle associated with each contact, and timing information relative to the previous frame.

Advantages of RemoteFX Multi-Touch

What are some of the advantages of RemoteFX touch remoting?

  • Touch frames: Because all of the active touch contacts are sent remotely as frames, contacts in the remote session can be injected as a single logical group, resulting in strong cohesiveness and synchronization between injected contacts.
  • Contact rectangle: Sending the contact rectangle associated with a contact to the remote session can help the Windows targeting subsystem figure out what control the user was trying to touch.
  • Relative timing: Intra-frame timing information helps us to correctly pace touch frame injection on the server, resulting in more fluid touch interaction with remote objects.

How many simultaneous contacts can we send remotely from client to server? For Windows 8 we have a limit of 256 active contacts, which should be more than adequate for most humans. By the way, we also support touch remoting in multi-monitor Remote Desktop and RemoteApp scenarios. That means you can connect up to 16 touch monitors, and the touch interaction with each monitor will be sent remotely.

How to get started

To use remote touch over RemoteFX connections, you need to run the Remote Desktop Connection client (to establish a remote desktop or RemoteApp connection) on a Windows 8 operating system, or use the Windows Store Remote Desktop app, on a computer with a connected touch digitizer, and then simply connect to a Windows Server 2012 RD Session Host or RD Virtualization Host server running Windows 8 virtual machines.

Want to see a demo? Take a look at the following video that runs through some touch remoting scenarios:

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We hope you enjoy using RemoteFX to get a great remote touch experience, and we look forward to hearing from you.

NOTE: Questions and comments are welcome. However, please DO NOT post a request for troubleshooting by using the comment tool at the end of this post. Instead, post a new thread in the RDS & TS forum at http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverTS/threads .