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how to make Terminal server read PDF faster

Posted on 2013-12-09
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Last Modified: 2013-12-23
hi,

we had a branch office at US through VPN and Terminal Server (server 2003) accessed  Head office server, but we found out when open file like word, excel, especial for PDF, is very slow to scroll down, if any software I can make if faster, I have tried Ericom Blaze, that seems not bad, but it need to pay annually, do you know other software is similar like this but less cost?
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Question by:Simon Chen
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by:arnold
ID: 39707816
Setting up a DFS that will replicate main office documents to the other location will provide access to read-only documents faster.  Modifiable documents will run into issues if two people modify the same file, the changes will reflect last file saved.
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by:nappy_d
ID: 39708252
How fast is your upstream internet speed and how many users are connected when you notice this slow scrolling?
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by:BlueCompute
ID: 39708308
Hi irietek,

We faced this exact issue with image-heavy PDFs and in fact PDFs in general.  AFAIK there is no way to resolve this for a 2003 terminal server.  If you upgrade to Windows 2012 then you will take advantage of the significant developments in the RDP protocol over the last 10 years.  (Bear in kind that Windows 2003 will go out of support soon, so the server will need replacing anyway).

In our scenario we eventually implemented Citrix XenApp and found the performance on slow/narrow links to be very good.  It completely resolved our problem of laggy PDF scrolling.
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by:David Atkin
David Atkin earned 375 total points
ID: 39708482
Something else to consider as well.  You can change various settings of the Remote Desktop connection to improve the speed.

Right click the RDP Icon and select Edit.  

Click on the Experience tab.  Change the connection speed as required and untick the un-needed items from the list.

You can reduce the colour quality on the Display tab which will also improve the performance.
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Steve earned 375 total points
ID: 39710993
Hi irietek,

The issue here isn't the software or the TS, it's the speed at which the data flows between your clients and the TS.
it is most noticeable when viewing documents like PDFs & word docs because they fill most/all of the screen and can contain images and graphics.
As you move around the document the entire screen has to be updated over the internet link, which causes the delays.

If you would like to confirm this is the issue, try making the PDF window much smaller so it only takes up 1/4-1/2 of the screen. you should find the display and navigation of the PDF is faster as less of the screen needs to be updated.

Options to consider:

As mentioned above, upgrading to a newer version of terminal server may help as RDP has improved over the years. This probably wont make much difference but is worth considering.

Reducing the RDP screen resolution/colour depth may improve the speed at which the screen can be updated.

copying the document to the client so the document can be edited locally, if viable (DFS would certainly be on option, as noted above)

Improving the internet line to allow the screen to update faster.
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by:BlueCompute
ID: 39711362
The issue here isn't the software or the TS, it's the speed at which the data flows between your clients and the TS.

Tonto - that's not actually the case.  The problem is inherent in the remote desktop protocol, in that it transmits screen bitmaps across the wire.  Each time you scroll down 1 'bump' on the image/pdf the whole screen is bitmapped and redrawn which proves very inefficient.  Even if you knock the quality and window size right down you will STILL have laggy PDFs because the images aren't handled in a sensible way (GDI or caching on the client).
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by:gurutc
ID: 39713835
Also in the RDP Connection Options, Experience Tab, an important setting is 'Persistent bitmap caching.'  turn that on. That has always helped me.

But for the rest of them turn them off!

- gurutc
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Author Comment

by:Simon Chen
ID: 39717834
I have tried all your said, but seems scrolling pdf still very slow. smaller windows, change resolution, check the bitmap caching, not really big increase. but I did see th different when I using Ericom Blaze. so any other brand software you recommand?

Just wondering if i change my T1 1.5M line into T1 3M , will it give me much better perfomance? or just little bit better?

thanks
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by:BlueCompute
BlueCompute earned 375 total points
ID: 39718589
I have tried all your said, but seems scrolling pdf still very slow. smaller windows, change resolution, check the bitmap caching, not really big increase. but I did see th different when I using Ericom Blaze. so any other brand software you recommand?

Just wondering if i change my T1 1.5M line into T1 3M , will it give me much better perfomance? or just little bit better?

Ericom Blaze is actually cheap for what it does.

changing from 1.5 - 3 mbps won't fix it.
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by:nappy_d
ID: 39718761
That's why I asked about your internet speed going to a 3meg line will show you a drastic improvement for remote workers over RDP.

Your current T1 is probably shared by other internet communications and this also affects performance.

One other thing you can do is to implement QOS on your firewall.  Consider giving RDP traffic priority during high business usage hours.
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by:arnold
arnold earned 375 total points
ID: 39718776
As others pointed out, the delay deals with how quickly the data reflecting display changes can be sent.  one way to reduce the amount of data is to configure the RDP settings for a lower color bit rating. i.e. if the existing settings are at 32bit drop it to 16/15 bit.
instead of millions of colors you'll have ~66,000.
Limit what local resources are attached to the connection, printers, drives, serial, etc.
Adjust the experience settings i.e. the less esthetics the less data.
i.e. no menu annimation, desktop background, etc.  

Less frills less data needs to be sent.
i.e. a blue background merely indicates that the background is blue in the data stream, if you have an image as a background, the image data needs to be transferred. The rendering of the information in the client might also contribute to the slowness as it has to be refreshed .....
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