What is Remote Differential Compression (RDC) and How Does it Work ?

Optimizing data transfer over networks is crucial in today’s interconnected world. Remote Differential Compression (RDC) offers a powerful solution to this challenge.

This innovative technology significantly reduces bandwidth usage and speeds up file synchronization by transmitting only changes between files.

Whether you’re managing cloud storage, backing up data, or collaborating on large projects, understanding RDC can help you optimize your operations and increase efficiency.

Here is a quick step guide to install remote differential compression:

  • Windows Server: Open Server Manager. Click Add roles and features. Follow the wizard, selecting Remote Differential Compression under server roles.
  • Windows Workstation: Open Control Panel. Go to Programs and Features, then click Turn Windows features on or off. Check the box next to Remote Differential Compression and click OK.

RDC can be a game-changer for anyone who transfers files regularly, especially over limited bandwidth connections. In this blog post, we’ll break down what RDC is, how it works, and how it can benefit you.

What is Remote Differential Compression (RDC) ?  

Remote Differential Compression (RDC) is a clever technology designed to significantly speed up file transfers, especially over networks with limited bandwidth. Here’s a detailed breakdown of what it is and how it works:

The Problem

Imagine you need to send a large file to a friend, but your internet connection is painfully slow. Traditionally, you’d have to transfer the entire file, bit by bit, which could take a frustratingly long time.

RDC’s Solution: Focus on the Changes

RDC takes a different approach. Instead of sending the entire file again, it focuses on the differences between the existing file on the receiving end and the new version you’re sending.

How RDC Works ?

  • Chunking: RDC divides both the original and new files into small chunks of data.
  • Fingerprinting: For each chunk, a unique “fingerprint” is created using a mathematical function (similar to a checksum). Imagine these fingerprints as unique identification codes for each chunk.
  • Identifying Differences: RDC compares the fingerprints of each chunk in both files. If the fingerprints match, it means the content of those chunks is identical. These unchanged chunks don’t need to be sent again.
  • Sending Only the Differences: RDC only transmits the fingerprints of the chunks that have changed in the new file, along with the actual data for those changed chunks. This significantly reduces the overall amount of data transferred.
  • Reassembling the File: On the receiving end, the program uses the received information (changed chunk fingerprints and data) to reconstruct the updated file, ensuring it matches the original version you sent.

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Benefits of RDC

  • Faster Transfers: By focusing on changes, RDC dramatically reduces the amount of data transferred, leading to much faster file transfers, especially beneficial for slow connections.
  • Bandwidth Savings: Less data means less strain on your network bandwidth. This is crucial for limited bandwidth situations or when transferring large files.
  • Reduced Network Traffic: By minimizing data transfer, RDC helps reduce overall network congestion, benefiting everyone using the network.

Limitations of RDC (Important Note)

Microsoft No Longer Actively Develops RDC: While still functional, RDC is not actively developed by Microsoft. There might be newer and more efficient solutions available depending on your specific needs.

Complexity for Certain Use Cases: RDC can be more complex to set up and manage compared to some simpler file transfer methods.

How to install Remote Differential Compression (RDC) ?

Most Windows versions (server and client) have included the handy feature Remote Differential Compression (RDC) since Windows Server 2003 R2. However, it’s important to note that it might not be automatically enabled.

Therefore, to ensure you’re taking advantage of this useful technology, here’s a detailed step-by-step guide on first checking its status and then installing it if needed:

Checking if RDC is Installed

Windows Server:

  • First, open Server Manager.
  • Next, navigate to the Features section.
  • Then, look for Remote Differential Compression under Features Summary. If it’s listed, RDC is already installed.

Windows Workstation:

  • To begin, open the Control Panel.
  • Next, go to Programs and Features.
  • After that, click on Turn Windows features on or off.
  • Finally, scroll down and look for Remote Differential Compression. If it’s checked, RDC is already installed.

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Installing Remote differential Compression (RDC) (if not already present)

For Windows Server:

  • First, open Server Manager.
  • Then, click on Add roles and features. This launches the Add Roles and Features Wizard.
  • Next, Pproceed through the wizard steps, selecting Server Roles on the appropriate page.
  • subsequently, under server roles, locate and check the box next to Remote Differential Compression.
  • Lastly, follow the remaining wizard prompts to complete the installation.

For Windows Workstation:

  • To start, open the Control Panel.
  • Next, go to Programs and Features.
  • Then, click on Turn Windows features on or off.
  • After that, scroll down and locate Remote Differential Compression.
  • Subsequently, check the box next to it.
  • Finally, click OK to initiate the installation.

Important Notes:

  • Depending on your Windows version, you might need administrator privileges to install RDC.
  • You might need to restart the system after completing the installation.

How to enable and disable Remote Differential Compression ?

Enabling and disabling Remote Differential Compression (RDC) on Windows is essentially the same process as installing it, just without the additional selection steps within the wizard. Here’s how to do it for both Windows Server and Workstation:

Enabling RDC

  • First, open the Control Panel.
  • Next, go to Programs and Features.
  • Then, click on Turn Windows features on or off.
  • After that, locate Remote Differential Compression in the list.
  • If the checkbox is unchecked, mark it to enable the feature.
  • Finally, click OK to confirm the changes.

Disabling RDC

  • To begin, open the Control Panel.
  • Then, go to Programs and Features.
  • Next, click on Turn Windows features on or off.
  • Subsequently, locate Remote Differential Compression in the list.
  • If the checkbox is checked, uncheck it to disable the feature.
  • Lastly, click OK to confirm the changes.

Note: You might need administrator privileges to perform these actions, and you may need to restart the system after enabling or disabling RDC for the changes to take effect.

Also Check: How to map a network in Windows 11 ?


RDC offers a powerful solution for optimizing file transfers, especially in bandwidth-constrained environments. By focusing on transmitting only the changes between files, RDC significantly reduces data transfer times and network congestion.

This technology can be a game-changer for cloud storage management, data backups, and large-scale collaborations.

While RDC comes pre-installed on most Windows systems, it may require manual activation. The process is straightforward, whether you’re using a Windows Server or Workstation.

However, it’s important to note that Microsoft no longer actively develops RDC, which may impact its long-term viability.

As we continue to rely on efficient data transfer in our interconnected world, understanding and implementing technologies like RDC can lead to smoother operations and improved productivity.


Frequently Asked Question’s (FAQ’s)

Should I disable remote differential compression ?

No. RDC uses minimal resources and helps transfers. Only disable it if:
You absolutely need to free up system resources (and know no apps use RDC).
You’re using a very modern, more efficient transfer method.

What is the differential compression algorithm ?

Differential compression focuses on changes between data sets. Instead of sending entire files, it transmits only the differences between a new version and an existing one.

How do I enable remote differential compression ?

Most Windows machines (servers/workstations) likely already have RDC enabled since Vista. Check by going to Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows features on or off.
If unchecked, find “Remote Differential Compression” and tick the box. Click OK to enable it.

Content Writer

Smith Ron, the writer at Assistme360. He has extensive experience in crafting straightforward, step-by-step guides for technical issues. His broad knowledge ensures accurate solutions. Kindly spare a moment to drop a comment down and express your opinions. Your feedback can be valuable in assisting others who may come across similar problems.

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