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Ribbon on a terminal server

We have a ribbon working quite nicely on a child form unless the user is logged in via a terminal server.
We've spent some time trying to hunt down why we couldn't seem to register the correct version of the srpcontrol on the terminal server when it seemed to work properly everywhere else.

Have just figured out however, that it is using the correct version of the control and it is just the appearance of the ribbon that is the problem. So our registration of the control was not the problem.

The problem obviously lies with the ts environment, but the question is what about the environment would prevent the ribbon from displaying properly?
What do I mean by not displaying properly? The whole ribbon is basically black with none of the individual elements visible other than the tab captions showing through the black. The buttons and comboboxes appear to not be there (though they probably are, we just can't see them through the black).

I've just found out that they have ActiveX turned off on the terminal server so the first specific question to you is "is the underlying control that you purchase, the ActiveX or the Visual C++ version?"
If it is the ActiveX version then we may already have the answer. If it is not, then any thoughts on what we might need to check/uncheck in the ts environment to allow the ribbon to display correctly?


  • Mark,

    You mentioned the environment is terminal services. Is this a 2003 server? Terminal services was renamed to remote desktop services in Server 2008 and later. I still have a habit of using them interchangeably but in this case want to clarify since it could be important if the Server is 2003, 2008, or 2012.

    One more question, does your remote desktop server allow themes and are themes enabled in your remote desktop client? When you connect do you see a themed GUI or is it a basic non-themed gui?
  • The SRP Controls are all ActiveX controls written in Visual C++.
  • Thanks Jared and Kevin.

    Jared, I've passed your questions on to the customer as I won't be back there till next week to check for myself.
    I do normally refer to it as RD but use the term TS in this case because that's how the customer refers to it.

    I can't answer the questions for you because whilst I can remote (rd) in, I do so direct to the app server and everything works just fine that way. Internally though, they remote into a terminal server and run the app from there. That's when the problems present themselves.
    I don't know if that helps you at all but I will provide the answers to your other questions, when I receive them.
  • I have the same problem. I have just updated the client OI application software to include the ribbon control but NO icons appear on any part of the ribbon (Button, Backstage, Quick access and the Tab Bar Controls). All the other aspects of the ribbon control are functional including the Tab control, Button click, Button text and drop down details etc.
    The ribbon is functional at another client but I do not know what is missing on the server at this new site.
    I will be visiting the client tomorrow and see if the same problem occurs at the work station.

    Any advice would be grateful.


  • Chris,

    I believe your problem is different from Mark's but it sounds very similar to a problem that was recently reported to us by another customer. All fingers point to Terminal Server. Are you using any other SRP controls on your forms that display images? Are those working as expected?

    Please provide as much configuration information about the Terminal Server environment as possible. We are creating our own internal Terminal Server to see if we can duplicate the problem. Obviously it would help narrow down our search if we could find commonalities between the systems that exhibit problems.
  • Had sort of forgotten about this one but have now followed it up.
    The terminal server is 2008 and it has essentially all visual "stuff" turned off. Apparently that's standard practice for a terminal server.
    The customer is going to see if they can turn themes on and then check what difference, if any, that makes.
  • Just came back from the client and still have NO icons/images displaying anywhere on the ribbon on the terminal server.

    1. All work stations displaying correctly.
    2. Got the IT dept to enable theme on terminal server. (No change)
    3. Got the IT dept to install and enable theme on the application server. (No Change)
    4. Other SRP images (other than ribbon) displaying correctly.

    As I do not have control nor any idea of what configuration is turned on/off or what settings are missing I cannot advise where to go from here.
    Cannot deploy the new ribbon software until this issue has been resolved.

    Is there any other information you may need to zero in on the problem?

    any advice would be grateful.

  • Chris,

    I don't think we need any more information at this time. Your circumstances mimic our other incident report identically. In this other customer's case, he does have a Win2008 server which works and another one which does not work. We are trying to compare the two to figure out what the key differences are. I am beginning to suspect it is not as simple as obvious configuration options.
  • After a lot of work, we think we have the issue narrowed down. You need your Terminal Server to run in 32-bit color depth for the ribbon to render correctly. This has to do with how tightly coupled the WinAPI's image routines are to the device's capabilities. By default, TS on Win 2008 is set to 16-bit color depth, which causes the 32-bit PNGs to fail loading up.

    We plan to write up some instructions on setting up Win 2008 TS correctly (and making sure the client Remote Desktop is also setup). When that is done, we'll post the information on the Wiki for future reference. In the meantime, I wanted to give you a general reason why the Ribbon is failing for you in this regard.

    As far as we know, this is not a problem in later versions of TS because later versions default to 32-bit.
  • Thanks Kevin.
    I may know on Monday whether this worked for us as well.
    I'll let you know.
  • No RDP Ribbon Icons I have set the RDP display controls to maximum and 32 bit and still no icons on the ribbon control.
    Are there terminal server settings that need changing to get the icons to display on the ribbon.
    I have sent the previous advice to the IT department without success.
    Did you post some setup instructions for the server.

    Any advice would be grateful.

  • You need to set it up on the Terminal Server side. Win 2008 Terminal Server forces 16-bit color depth, regardless of how the client side RDP is setup. We are going to do a write-up on this, but it won't be ready for a day or two. In the meantime, you can Google search how to fix this. That's we had to do. I can't tell you off the top of my head where the setting is because I wasn't server administrator at the time we investigated the issue.
  • You can now download step-by-step instructions on how to force 32-bit color depth on Win 2008 Terminal Server here.
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