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DameWare Mini Remote Control Performance Settings

 
The information in this article applies to:
  • DameWare Mini Remote Control

Every network, machine, piece of hardware, driver, and every link in-between can vary dramatically in performance.  Therefore, within the DameWare Mini Remote Control (DMRC) program users have a multitude of settings that make the software as flexible as possible. Tweaking these performance settings within the software can produce acceptable results under any possible scenario.

It is important to note that it is uncommon for a single setting to be the ultimate solution to a performance issue.  All factors should be taken into consideration when tuning performance.  It is recommended that all information in this section be considered prior to modifying settings.


Performance:

There are many factors that affect the speed of a DMRC connection, and many more that are outside of DameWare's purview such as: CPU, memory, video hardware, video drivers, NIC hardware, NIC drivers, etc.  One factor that affects the speed of the DMRC connection is the color depth on the remote machine.  Enabling the "Force 4-bit" or "Force 8-bit" options under the Display Options Tab (select the host entry, click on the Setting button, and select the Display Options Tab) can improve performance.  For Example: a remote machine running 1024 x 768 resolution and 32-bit color depth has to send approximately 4MB of data across the wire to paint the screen on the local machine.  Enabling the "Force 8-bit display" for this connection only requires about 780K of data.  Just reducing the color depth increases the data transfer rate by approximately 75%.

Another factor that affects the speed of the DMRC connection is large bitmaps on the remote machine's desktop.  Try disabling the remote machine's wallpaper, pattern, and font smoothing (select the Settings button, then the Remote Options Tab).  Large bitmaps as well as high color depths on the remote machine will decrease the performance over the connection.  Disabling Active Desktop on the remote machine could also help.

Yet another factor that affects speed, as well as CPU utilization, is the remote machine's Video Card and Video Drivers.  Unlike NetMeeting and Remote Desktop that are integrated within the Operating System, the DMRC program (and most all remote control programs) use standard Microsoft Windows API calls to interact with the Operating System and the Video Card/Video Drivers on the local and remote machines to "scrape" the screen.  It reads the remote machine's Video Memory.  However, as mentioned before, there are factors outside of DameWare's purview such as old/outdated/faulty hardware, old/outdated/faulty drivers, and even slow or poorly configured memory that can affect the performance of the connection.

Version 4.5 and above included a significant performance enhancement over older versions of the software, however, not by using the same "older" performance settings that worked in the older versions.  For Example: Machines in a Test LAN were set to the following performance settings and improvement was noted: Compression = 0, Scan Blocks = 14, Delay between Scan Block Updates = 4.  Resulting performance was near real-time.  A Test "home" machine connecting over a 128k VPN connection used the following settings without complications or performance issues: Compression = 9, Scan Blocks = 32, Delay = 5-10.

Increasing the Scan Blocks will divide the remote monitor's display into an increased number of "bands" or rows.  Initially, the entire screen is sent over and displayed on the local monitor.  After the initial screen is displayed, only the bands that change are sent from the remote machine back to the local machine, thus reducing the amount of data being sent back and forth.

Compression settings can be modified for better performance as well.  With a fast network link, try reducing Compression because of the time and resources it takes to compress and decompress data sent across the pipe.  A large amount of data can potentially be sent over the wire when Compression is reduced.  For example, a remote machine running 1900 x 1200 resolution at 32-bit color with Compression set to 0 (zero) will have to send 9MB of data over the wire to paint the entire screen.  For slow network links, try increasing Compression to 9.  This may take more time to compress and decompress the data, however, it will also reduce the amount of data sent over this slow link and thus help increase performance.

There are additional factors that can affect the performance of a DMRC connection.  Consider the following:

1.  DSL/Broadband users may have large bandwidth for downloads, but upload speeds are usually much slower.  For example, despite a download speed of 3MB, upload speed may be only 256k.  Therefore, connecting from a "home" machine to a "work" machine may work without issues, but reversing the direction of the connection could slow it down dramatically.
 
2.  Although running the DMRC program over a Terminal Services/RDP connection will work, it is not supported.   Instances have been observed where the Terminal Services/RDP connection becomes "bogged down," thus making it appear there are performance issues in the DMRC connection.  The problem actually exists within the Terminal Services / RDP connection.  The following is one DameWare user's feedback:

"I have 128-Kbps VPN access from my home PC to our office network.  I am able to access my home machine from the office over this fairly small data path with both the DameWare Mini Remote Control and Microsoft Remote Desktop Client.  When connecting with Microsoft's Remote Desktop, for performance reasons, I setup the connection as stripped down as possible.  I am pleased with this performance which is quite responsive even over the slow VPN link.  When connecting to my home PC with the DameWare Mini Remote Control, I am able to match or beat the performance of the Windows Remote Desktop connection by tweaking the Mini Remote Control's performance settings.   One final note about my personal example that is worth mentioning is that my home PC is setup as a media server that offers me a 20-Kbps audio stream allowing me to listen to commercial free radio from my home here at work via Windows Media Player.  When connecting to my home PC with the DameWare Mini Remote Control I am able to continue to listen to the audio stream without disrupting the audio and without any noticeable decreases in the Mini Remote Control's performance, however when connecting with the Microsoft Remote Desktop the audio stream is broken immediately due to the Remote Desktop connection."
 



CPU:

With most hardware currently in use, CPU% is not considered a major issue with the DMRC connection as its load is typically less than ten percent.  However, the DMRC program is designed to yield to other running processes.  Performance settings can be tweaked within the software to reduce CPU%.  Encryption can drastically affect CPU usage.  Turning off all encryption options (select Host Entry, click on Settings, Encryption Options Tab) should also help with CPU utilization.

The remote machine's Video Card and Video Drivers can affect not only CPU% but speed as well.  The DMRC program uses standard Microsoft Windows API calls to interact with the Operating System and the Video Card/Video Drivers on the local and remote machines.  Old/outdated/faulty hardware, old/outdated/faulty drivers, and even slow or poorly configured memory are factors beyond the software that can increase CPU% and decrease speed.

Reducing Compression (to zero depending on bandwidth availability), and increasing Scan Blocks and Delay between scan blocks should also help with CPU utilization.  Enabling the option to "Force 4-bit" or "Force 8-bit" under the Display Options Tab, disabling the remote machine's wallpaper, pattern, and font smoothing, and also disabling Active Desktop can optimize CPU utilization.

Please note that although the previous suggestions may reduce the CPU%, they may also decrease feedback/performance during the DMRC connection.  It is possible to find an optimal balance for every type of network environment.

Task Manager/CPU usage should not be viewed over the DMRC connection because the Task Manager's Refresh will add CPU% and the measurement will not be accurate.  View it remotely via the DameWare NT Utilities Processes View to get a more accurate number.

In version 4.8 and above, additional enhancements were made with regard to performance.  If the Default settings have been modified, select the Host Entry, click on the Settings button, and click on the Default button to reset these settings to the Default settings.  It is important to perform the task of adjusting the Settings back to Default; otherwise the old settings will still be operational.  The new default settings are Compression = 3, Scan Blocks = 32, and Delay between scan blocks = 12.

It is possible to reduce CPU% from over 30% to 6% on certain machines by applying the new Default settings.

 

***Special Note for 64-bit Operating Systems:

Some users have reported isolated incidents of video slowness and horizontal lines of noise within the MRC window when a remote control connection is established with a remote machine running a 64-bit Operating System.  In these cases, changing the "IPv4 Large Send Offload" from Enable to Disable on the NIC of the remote machine has resolved the issue.


Knowledgebase Article: #201028
Category: How To Guides
O/S Info: Microsoft Windows 95/98/Me Microsoft Windows NT4/2000/Xp/2003/Vista/2008/Windows 7
Last Revised: Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Keywords: performance, settings
Description: How to optimize the performance of the DameWare Mini Remote Control to fit specific network environment requirements
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