Access Windows with Parsec

Connect to Windows VDIs with Parsec

CoreWeave supports Parsec Remote Desktop for our standard Windows images. This guide explains how use the Cloud UI or Kubernetes CLI to deploy a Virtual Server with Parsec and includes several performance tips to improve the experience.

Deploy with Cloud UI

In most cases, Parsec is the preferred choice on Windows. It's selected by default when deploying from Cloud UI.

Teradici can't be enabled at the same time as Parsec. Parsec Teams is optional and information about how to obtain an enrollment key is found in Parsec's documentation.

Important

Parsec requires Virtual Display. When Virtual Display is enabled, Windows uses the attached GPU, making the VNC terminal in Cloud UI and virtctl vnc inaccessible. For serial console access (Windows Special Admin Console), use virtctl console instead.

Deploy with Kubernetes CLI

When deploying a Windows Virtual Server from a Kubernetes manifest, Parsec is enabled through Cloud-init. In the manifest YAML, make sure that both parsec and edid are enabled.

spec:
  cloudInit: |
    parsec: true
    edid: true

See the Cloud-init configuration options section for more details.

Configure the Virtual Server

Before Parsec is available on the server, it must be logged in to an account. To do this, first connect to the server with Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Windows clients have Remote Desktop pre-installed. Linux clients need to install an option such as Remmina, and macOS users should install Microsoft Remote Desktop from the App Store.

Launch Remote Desktop and connect to the Host DNS name, found on the Virtual Server's information page.

Connect to the Virtual Server with RDP.

After connecting with RDP, launch Parsec from the Windows start menu.

Log in with an email address and password, SAML SSO, or create a new account with the Sign Up link. If the Virtual Server was deployed with Parsec Teams, use Set up as Team Computer with an enrollment key.

Next, navigate to Host Settings and verify that Hosting is enabled.

Return to the home screen and wait a moment for the Virtual Server to appear, indicating that it's ready to serve requests.

Disconnect from Remote Desktop to continue.

Tip

The Share button creates a URL for someone who isn't logged in to the same account.

Assuming that the client logs in to the same account as the server, there's no need to click Share.

Access with a Parsec client

Parsec offers software clients for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and Google Chrome. Navigate to their download page, then follow the installation instructions.

Log in to same Parsec account as the server, and click Connect.

Hardwire the network connection

It is strongly recommended to use a hardwired network rather than a wireless network connection (Wi-Fi). Wireless connections often add latency and jitter, with bursts of packet loss when there is interference. A hardwired network connection prevents these issues and delivers a smoother experience.

Global performance options

Global settings are changed in the client's Settings page by clicking the gear icon in the left-hand vertical menu.

Enable H.265 (HEVC) encoding

H.265 (HVEC) video coding is considered the contemporary standard video codec for streaming video, and this codec is the recommended choice.

Additional Resources

Read more about video coding on the Parsec website.

Always run Parsec in full screen

For best results, always use Parsec fullscreen mode.

Set "Immersive Mode" to Keyboard

Parsec's "Immersive Mode" passes Windows-native hotkeys to the host machine.

Session performance options

After connecting, use the floating Parsec button to adjust the session options. When clicked, a fly-out menu appears.

Set bandwidth limit to 50Mbps

After connecting to an instance, use the session settings menu to navigate to the Bandwidth Limit option and select 50 Mbps.

Use the local display resolution

For most cases, matching the VDI resolution to the local display resolution will yield the best performance and visuals in Parsec. Choose this from the Parsec menu as shown below, or with the VDI's NVIDIA Control Panel.

The Parsec menu only includes standard Windows resolutions. When using a non-standard resolution, such as a MacBook Pro's 2880x1800, use the NVIDIA Control Panel to make this adjustment.

  1. Launch NVIDIA Control Panel from the Windows Start menu.

  2. Navigate to Change Resolution in the task list.

  3. Select the display to change, then select the resolution.

  4. Click Apply.

Prefer 4:4:4 color

The default Parsec color stream is 4:2:0, which is the standard for video encoding. 4:2:0 color reduces the amount of chroma (color) information while keeping luma (brightness) intact, in order to reduce the amount of data used.

4:4:4 color is preferred, if the client workstation has a compatible NVIDIA or Intel GPU, because it retains chroma information. Learn more about 4:4:4: color and hardware requirements on the Parsec website.

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