Autodesk Recap via Remote Desktop (RDP)

I learned a new trick today and it works pretty slick. One of my users was trying to do a presentation in a conference room using Autodesk Recap. Recap works great on his workstation, but since he has a machine that is physically big he doesn't want to schlep it around the office for a presentation. Unfortunately, when he tried to run Recap through Windows RDP, he kept getting the message "Autodesk Recap needs graphics card with driver that supports openGL 3.3 or newer." Recap simply won't let you run it without the supported version of openGL.

It turns out that RDP uses the client machine’s graphics card (i.e. the not-so-powerful laptop in the conference room). If the client machine has an unsupported graphics card, Recap won't run.  The good news is there are a few workarounds to avoid programs like Recap from crashing.
  • The first workaround I found kind of falls into the “duhhhh” category  J  : Open the product on the host machine before initiating remote desktop.  That way RDP doesn’t try to change the graphics driver. This would only work if you were physically in the same office or was able to get one of your minions to launch the program for you.
  • If you are not in the office, you could create a little batch file that forces the client machine into console mode. Log into the remote machine normally, and then run this little 2-liner “kick me out and start Recap” script. You need to run the batch file as administrator. 

tscon 1 /dest:console
start "C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Autodesk ReCap\recap.exe"

where tscon is the tool to force a remote desktop session to act like a local session (using the local video card).

1 is the session number (your session number may vary – check the Users tab of Task Manager to verify)

  • tscon will kick you out of the remote session. Reconnect to the remote machine and (in theory) Recap will have launched with the graphics hardware of the remote machine.
  • You need to be a bit careful using this trick, since it leaves the remote PC unlocked for the remote desktop session.

This trick will work for any graphics-intense product that requires openGL.

If you try this – let me know how it goes!