ESXi 5.1 and Windows 7 VMs, redirected printers.

Harold used Ask the Experts™
We have a client with ESXi 5.1.0 build 799733 running. ESXi host a Windows 2008 server and 8 Windows 7 Pro workstations. All the VMs have redirected printers in Devices and Printers, rather than just a single install of the printer needed.

Some printers are connected via ethernet and some via USB, then shared off primary workstations.

Is there a reason for these redirected printers?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Are these redirected printers, mappings from their local printers attached to the workstations ?
HaroldNetwork Engineer


Andrew: can redirected ports be picked up by the RDP: Local Resources, Printers check box. I noticed my printers actually should up in the server and I RDP into that server to work.

I can install a printer ethernet or USB(shared) and the look back in the Devices and Printers a second time and there will redirected printers of the same and they are not removable.

Mapping like a drive, no.
Spike99On-Site IT Technician
So, I guess I don't understand what the problem is. Is that problem that the VMs have printers installed on them so you don't need the redirected ones?

If you'd like to block printer redirection, you can block it using group policy (or on each VM using local policy):
Computer Configuration | Policies | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | Remote Desktop Services | Remote Desktop Session Host | Printer Redirection
Enable the setting called:  "Do not allow printer redirection"

Or, if you would just like to reduce the number of printers which are showing up, in that same policy group you could enable the setting "Redirect only the default client printer" instead.  That setting alone will greatly reduce the number of redirected printers on the remote desktop.

This page has a good description of that "do not allow" setting:

This MS page goes into much more detail about printer redirection. It also details how to disable or change printer redirection settings by changing TS Config settings :
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HaroldNetwork Engineer


Alicia: I'm trying to understand where this Printer Redirection comes from. I have other ESXi networks that this doesn't do this with printers on those networks. The difference in this one is, all the W7 workstations are VMs to, along with the server. These redirected printers, just appear, we don't add them.
On-Site IT Technician
I think printer redirection is enabled by default.  So, if the driver for that particular printer is installed on the VMs and printer redirection is not blocked, then the printer will be redirected when a user connects.

By default, Server 2008 will try to use the Terminal Services Easy Print driver.  If the client PC doesn't meet the requirements for that, then, the printer will be redirected using the print driver installed on the server.  But, that driver has to have the exact same name as the client's print driver for client printers to be redirected.   If matching drivers aren't installed on the server, the user's printer will not be redirected and you will see an Event ID 1111 error in the system event log.

On that other ESXi network, you might want to check to see if printer redirection is disabled.
This technet article goes over the different way that can done:

Or another thought just occurred to me:  since the Win7 clients for the network in question are on the same ESXi host as the server, they probably meet the requirements for TS Easy Print. That might explain why you're seeing redirected printers on one network and not on the other, all else being equal.

If you check printer properties, are those redirected printers using the Easy Print driver?
HaroldNetwork Engineer



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