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I have two users with a specific request that I am struggling to figure out. They each use a 27" iMac with Retina display and 2 additional external monitors connected via USB Type-C utilizing the 2 Thunderbolt ports on the iMac. They're running MacOS 10.15.x (Catalina).

I have a Windows 10 enterprise VM for each user and use Microsoft Remote Desktop 10.4 (current vers.) to RDP into the VM. The VMs are on a Hyper-v server.

The users need to run MacOS on the iMac display and use the other 2 monitors for the Windows VM. On the PC version of Remote Desktop that is achievable by editing the config file with selectedmonitors:s: However, on the Mac version, that switch is not available. As far as I can tell, the MacOS version only supports using either 1 display or all displays.

I have been able to get it working sometimes by turning on "Use all monitors" in RDP prefs and then once the VM is connected, pull up the dock on the iMac display. That doesn't always work though and it's confusing for users because any window on the PC that would have been on the iMac screen is not visible.

I understand the "Displays Use Separate Spaces" command in Mission Control, but that doesn't help me. I have also looked at some display management software, but nothing I found seems to fit my use case.

Any ideas?

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  • I have the same setup and same problem - I'd love to find a solution to this. I run a full windows machine though, rather than a VM, so cant test this, but with the external monitors connected to a USB dock you could perhaps pass the USB directly through to the VM (and switch it back to the mac when you want them back on the mac). Most VM software provides an easy way to do that
    – madz
    Dec 22, 2020 at 3:16
  • Wow, that's disappointing. I was thinking I could deploy a couple of PCs to fix the problem. I really thought the problem was limited to a VM because of the way the display properties are mostly locked on a VM. I will look into a USB dock but I am not hopeful as Hyper-v seems to have a lot of limitations compared to VMware. Dec 22, 2020 at 23:00
  • I'm not sure it'll matter whether you are remoting onto a physical or virtual PC - but if you were thinking of trying to deploy a physical PC, how were you planning to limit the RDP session on the mac to only the 2 external screens? (I could perhaps try out that here to see if it works)
    – madz
    Dec 24, 2020 at 0:50
  • @madz Just getting back to this. I thought (hoped) that with a real PC and not a VM, I could somehow use the monitors control panel on the PC to arrange the monitors so it would work properly. Thought my problem was that I didn’t have any way to arrange monitors on the PC side because the VM has all that stuff disabled. However, if you have the same problem with your setup, then that’s probably not the case. Feb 1, 2021 at 21:38

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