Wacom tablet usage in 2012 R2 RDS

Posted on 2016-07-22
Last Modified: 2016-08-17
Setting up a RDS server on 2012 R2 for a medical client.
Everything is going swimmingly except for the doctor who likes to use a wacom graphics tablet.
He uses it for writing script orders, signing labs, etc.
In any case, it is a vital part of his work, and he needs to use it.
when he uses it in his RDS session, it sometimes misses when he picks the stylus up from the tablet, and so he will have a solid line from the bottom of on letter to the top of the next - as an example.  When he writes at a normal pace, it gets bad enough that it is difficult to read - he prints, so even though he is a doctor, his normal handwriting is legible.
The closer to his normal speed he gets, the less of the words and letters are actually picked up.
It is a small practice, so I really don't want to buy citrix or another pricey RDS enhancer... is there a tweak that can be done to Server 2012 R2 that will speed up his stylus?
The RDS host is Server 2012 R2, the client is Win 7 Pro Sp1, both fully patched.  The network connection is a 1Gbps synchronous WAN link at a COLO for the server, and a 100/10 broadband link at the practice.
Question by:Digital_Skream
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Expert Comment

by:Adam Brown
ID: 41725461
There isn't much support for Pen input in RDP sessions just yet. Particularly with Windows 7. Windows 10 is better able to handle transitioning digitizer input through RDP, but it won't be fully supported until Server 2016 is released.

The only tweak I can find that may improve things is to add DWORD "Min Send Interval" (no quotes) at
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Terminal Server Client
with a value of 1. That should decrease the amount of time between "Mouse" input changes that get sent to the server's session. But like I said, there isn't yet any real support for pen/digitizers in Remote Desktop right now.

Expert Comment

by:Casey Weaver
ID: 41725805
I've done lots of work in this (see my previous posts through the years). Even went as far as using VDI and remote FX. Nothing really works. Only Citrix makes it work. There's a reason it's so expensive, they are making things work in a remote environment that Microsoft has refused to do for a decade. I tried every registry and driver tweak I could find.

Author Comment

ID: 41734563
How about just making the mouse cursor glide smoothly in RDP?
I've tried the min send interval setting at 1, and it helps, but is not as good as it could be.
Any other ideas?

Expert Comment

by:Casey Weaver
ID: 41734565
We set the absolute minimum by both registry and on the thin client software we were using (Wyse ThinOS 8.0.1 for server 2012 R2) and while it got close it was never smooth. Citrix made it butter smooth.
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Accepted Solution

Digital_Skream earned 0 total points
ID: 41754073
I found a solution.
I noticed that when i was using a Wacom Bamboo pen & tablet in RDP, that every time I touched the pen to the tablet surface, a ring would expand from the cursor.  I then did some testing in paint, and found that I could easily make a trail of dashes with my mouse, even if I went pretty quickly, without skipping lines, or having one dash connected to the other, etc.
dashes made by mouse
Now, if I used a Wacom Bamboo to do the same thing with default settings, the dashes would skip, miss, and lose a lot of data.
dashes made by pen & tablet
Then I found a setting in the wacom drivers, under the pen mapping area, called 'Use Windows Ink'.
Wacom drivers showing location of Use Windows Ink setting
Once I turned that OFF, the ripples that I got when the pen touched the tablet went away, and the pen worked just like the mouse!
dashes made by pen & tablet when Use Windows Ink is disabled.
The is using the normal Server 2012 R2 Remote Desktop Server, with Windows 7 Pro as the client utilizing the built-in Remote Desktop Connection application in Windows.
No special registry settings were required, and this test was performed successfully on multiple computers, running various versions of Wacom drivers and different Wacom tablets (Intuos, bamboo, etc.).

Expert Comment

by:Casey Weaver
ID: 41754126
Can you draw completely smooth lines with it? When we messed with Windows ink we didn't get much better, but that is feeding the tablet through a Wyse thin client with the USB device registering directly onto the server, not the pen acting as a mouse in a client OS passing directly to a RDP session.

Author Comment

ID: 41754213
If you zoom in, you will see that there are some angles, but for our purposes, it is more than sufficient.
tablet_test4.pngPlease note, that I am using an older bamboo tablet that I have zero experience with, and it looks that shaky/bad on my pc, not just in RDP, mainly because I have trouble writing while looking at the monitor.

When I used a touchscreen monitor ( which supports a stylus, it was just like I was writing on paper inside the RDP session.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 41759067
I found the only solution that worked.

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