Enabling Audio over RDP on a Windows Server, sans hardware soundcard

Please note, it is not necessary to install audio hardware to enable audio for applications installed on a Windows Server.

Steps to enable audio over RDP on Windows Server:

Preparing Remote Desktop Connection:

  1. Launch Remote Desktop Connection
  2. Click to expand Options, if it is not already.
  3. Click the Local Resources tab.
  4. Under “Remote computer sound”, ensure that “Bring to this computer” is selected.
  5. Login to the server which needs audio enabled.
  6. If you hear the windows startup sound upon login, skip to “Making sure Audio is configured correctly for all applications.”

If you didn’t hear the windows startup sound:

  1. Launch tscc.msc (Start-> Run-> tscc.msc) on the remote computer.
  2. Open the Connections folder in the left sidebar.
  3. Right-click RDP-Tcp, select Properties
  4. Click “Client Settings” tab
  5. UNCHECK the “Audio mapping” checkbox.  Note that all checkboxes under this section are below a blurb that states “Disable the following:”, thus anything checked here is disabled.  Audio is disabled by default.
  6. Click OK, and close tscc.  A warning may be generated which says this change will not take effect for any currently-connected RDP sessions.  Click out of that.
  7. Log out.
  8. Log back in.

You may hear the windows startup sound at this point, even still, proceed to the next section.

Making sure Audio is configured correctly for all applications:

  1. Open the sound control panel (Start-> (Settings->) Control Panel-> Sounds and Audio Devices)
  2. Click the Audio tab.
  3. Select “Microsoft RDP Audio Driver” for the default playback device, if not already specified.
  4. Check the “Use only default devices” checkbox at the bottom of the dialog.
  5. Click the Voice tab.
  6. Select “Microsoft RDP Audio Driver” for the default playback device, if not already specified.
  7. Click OK.

Test DirectSound over RDP:

  1. Find a WAV file.  (Start-> Search, *.WAV)
  2. Double click the wav file so it comes up in Windows Media Player.  If Windows Media Player is not the default audio handler, launch it manually. (Start-> (All) Programs-> Accessories-> Entertainment-> Windows Media Player)
  3. Don’t be concerned if the audio doesn’t play or if you get an error here. 
  4. Right click the title bar, selecting Tools-> Options
  5. Click the Devices tab
  6. Double-click Speakers
  7. Ensure that “DirectSound: Microsoft RDP Audio Driver (emulated)” is selected in the “Audio device to use:” box.
  8. Click OK
  9. Click OK
  10. Close Windows Media Player
  11. (Start WMP again if it wasn’t the default player, or) double-click a WAV file from your search from step 16.  I chose “tada.wav”.  About 6 seconds after double-click, you should hear the sound thru your speaker or headphones, assuming all was done correctly.

This concludes configuring Windows Server for Audio over RDP.  This should permit just about any server to run just about any application requiring audio