GPGPU on Server 2008 R2 – added after the fact…

Hello again,

I came across a customer issue recently where the customer was recommended to install a GPGPU to make Windows Movie Maker (a free video editor in Windows Essentials 2012)  function inside Remote Desktop Services on Server 2008R2.  Unfortunately, Movie Maker still wasn’t working after basic installation of the GPGPU – what’s making this fail?

Initially, the customer was trying to setup Movie Maker in an Educational environment so a class can work with editing and polishing raw video footage.  Being in the Education sector, there isn’t a lot of money to go around, so their solution was cost effective server, with Movie Maker being virtualized in RDS and students accessing the RD sessions with thin clients.

However, due to the requirements of Movie Maker – specifically, requiring DirectX 9c compatibility or newer, it could not be run on stock server hardware.  The integrated video card was a Matrox 200er and even with the Dell drivers installed, the card just doesn’t support DirectX (we tested with this tool:  dxdiag.exe).  Here’s the error message that the customer was getting when trying to run Movie Maker:

When the customer came to Dell ProSupport, he stated that someone had recommended putting in a GPGPU to make it work, but it still wasn’t working.  This was right after school had started for the year and it was becoming an urgent issue.  We actively troubleshot the issue for several hours, just making sure that everything was installed properly, from RDS to Movie Maker to AMD FirePro.  After coming to the end of the troubleshooting path, it was decided to reproduce the issue in our lab and find a workaround/fix for the scenario.

After a bit of scrounging and seeking assistance with scrounging hardware, we came up with an R730 and an AMD FirePro S9150 card.  After doing some beating on it, I finally found the root issue – RemoteFX was needed in the RDS session to be able to offer DirectX capabilities (namely Direct3D Acceleration) to the application.

Following the process to install RemoteFX, which in Server 2008R2 was designed for RD-Virtualization, I got the RemoteFX driver onboard and also had to install the MS Video Capture driver to redirect video into the RemoteFX shim driver for the RD sessions.  Once this was accomplished, console video was also redirected into RemoteFX – an unfortunate side-effect, but you can still administer the server over RDS.

Now, a login through RDS allows Movie Maker to work and we see this in DXDiag:



The DDI Version is 11 and we have Direct3D Acceleration capability now, which covers the requirements of Movie Maker (note Movie Maker running in the background).