Acrobat Reader Fails on Terminal Sever

We had an interesting issue crop up whose solution was not obvious while working with the end user over the phone. The issue that was reported was that while using Windows XP the user can connect to the terminal server and view PDF files that are generated by the LOB. However, when she connects with her new Windows 8 computer Acrobat Reader throws an error while opening. The error was very generic, as in Acrobat stopped working and needs to close.

We immediately went to printer drivers. What’s really different between XP and Win8 as a RDP connection device? Well, there’s keyboard strokes, mouse clicks and redirected printers. This turned out to be a rabbit hole. The issue wasn’t printer related.

The user also reported that she was having trouble viewing some websites. Our thought immediately turned to Trusted Sites, Compatibility View, etc. Since we were momentarily stumped on the RDP issue instead of working on that remotely, we said “you know something is going on that we aren’t seeing here. We’ll be right over.” Sometimes you have do be onsite. It was a case of customer service over efficiency.

To make a rather long troubleshooting story short, what the user wasn’t telling us was that her session looked different when she connected from the two computers. This was because her Win8 RDP client was somehow set to High Color 15 bit. You can imagine what this looked like. It was a pixelated mess. Of course websites we’re displaying incorrectly. But to the user these two issues were separate unrelated problems. And honestly we probably would have thought the same thing. But a change to High Quality 32-bit fixed not only the ugly website issues but also allowed Acrobat Reader to load properly.

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