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Is printing easily supported through Microsoft Terminal services?

Posted on 2008-06-12
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Last Modified: 2013-11-21
I have a server running Windows 2003 R2 Standard Edition.  I have to give access to a particular remote employee via VPN / Terminal Services to run an application which requires printing on the remote employees printer.  The printer is a USB connected DELL 1710.  The application must be run on the server via Terminal Services.  However, if the employee cannot print data from the Terminal Services application to their own locally connected printer then it would be useless to them.

Server:  Windows 2003 Server R2 Standard running Terminal Services
Remote PC:  Windows XP SP2;  Using Remote Desktop Connection
Remote Printer:  Connected to Remote PC via USB; DELL 1710 - supports XP, Windows 2003 Server

I have heard that printing can be tricky over terminal services, however, I am not sure if this scenario which sounds not too complex is worth investigating?  Can it be done?  Are there any limitations?
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Question by:dandacci
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6 Comments
 
LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 21775507
This should be supported, but it can be tricky to setup without third party printing software for the terminal server.  You will need to make sure the client and server are configured to accept USB printer redirections and then make sure you are using EXACTLY the same driver version for exactly the same model printer on both the server and the client.
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:authen-tech
ID: 21776021
You can do it.  Just install the driver on the local employee machine for the printer.  On the printer properties you have to set the port as the TS-001 port.  There should be 1-4 ports  starting with TS.  Try them all.  That should work.  

Good luck!
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Lee W, MVP earned 1600 total points
ID: 21776073
I slightly misspoke - standard USB Printers ARE redirected, provided the correct drivers are installed.  HOWEVER, USB Printers that use special OEM ports (HP DOT ports for example), need to have settings adjusted before they will be available.  Reference:
Printers That Use Ports That Do Not Begin With COM, LPT, or USB Are Not Redirected in a Remote Desktop or Terminal Services Session
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/302361

With regards to the drivers, as I said, they need to be IDENTICAL.  Or at least they MAY need to be identical.  I had a Brother USB printer that refused to redirect - one had the "network" version of the driver and the other the USB version.  And then when I updated it correctly, the versions were different and it still didn't work.  So I reinstalled the same version driver on both systems and the printer was finally seen.

The point being, printing CAN be easy... or a nightmare... Third party tools/print systems exist that can make this VERY easy, but they can also cost $1000+.
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LVL 10

Assisted Solution

by:TekServer
TekServer earned 400 total points
ID: 21779133
This shouldn't be a problem for this printer.  The Dell 1710 uses fairly standard drivers.  Just download & install the latest drivers on the workstation, then download and install the same drivers on the server.

If your printer is not seen by the server, you can try the attached registry script on the workstation.  This will make the workstation map all printers through TS, regardless of what port they're on.

Where you run into the tricky situations is typically with All-in-One devices, such as the HP Officejet series, and the cheaper Inkjet printers that have drivers highly integrated into installed software packages (HP Deskjet series).  I generally tell customers now that if they have one of these types of printers, it will be cheaper for them to buy a new printer than it is to pay for my labor to make the one they have work in TS.

Oops!  Sorry, leew, didn't mean to step on your toes.  The script I have attached is the result of the steps in the Microsoft KB article you linked.  Well, it's still handy to have around in script form...

:)
RDP-Printer-fix.txt
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:TekServer
ID: 21779165
Hmm... that's weird.  Despite the "Possible File Type Mismatch" above, the file I attached is exactly what I described and intended to upload.  I have no idea why the system thinks it's a "MPEG Audio File".

:)
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Author Closing Comment

by:dandacci
ID: 31466809
Thank you leew and TekServer.  Your advice will save us time and money.
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