Computer Lab Remote Access: Desktop Displays as a Small Box in Middle of Screen on Mac


If you are using a Mac computer to connect to a remote lab computer, you may notice that after connecting the desktop appears as small box in the center of the screen surrounded by black when in Full-Screen mode.  This is usually due to your personal Mac having a "Retina Display".  You will need to optimize your Microsoft Remote Desktop application for Retina Display.

Note: If you are experiencing this issue, please sign out of your current session and follow the steps below.


  1. Go to
  2. Click the computer lab listed under the Computer Labs navigation
  3. Click Connect button next to an available computer
  4. Click Download button
  5. Open the folder where the connection file is but DO NOT open it
    • Note: Files that have been downloaded are normally in the Downloads folder.
  6. With the folder open, open the Microsoft Remote Desktop app and place both windows side by side
  7. Drag the connection file into the Microsoft Remote Desktop
    • Note: The connection file will now appear as a Tile in the Microsoft Remote Desktop app. 
  8. Click the   edit icon
  9. Click the Display tab and check the box for Optimize for Retina displays
  10. Double click the original Tile to continue connecting to the computer with the Computer Lab Remote Access instructions