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USB for Remote Desktop. How to redirect USB device to RDP

Apr 7, 2021

You will probably agree that it’s often a challenging task to access a locally attached USB device when working over RDP in a remote desktop environment. As a workaround, you can try to connect the required peripheral directly to the remote machine but, as you know, this is not possible in most cases.

For example, you are working with a thin client which has limited functionality and need to connect to a server that is more powerful. You access the server machine over RDP and run an application installed there. If this program requires some data provided by your local USB peripheral, it can be quite problematic to redirect it to the app.

android remote access

Fortunately, there’s a solution that lets you forget about the problem of remote access to USB over RDP once and for all. In this article, we are going to tell you about an efficient and user-friendly software application that allows providing USB for remote desktop with nothing more than a couple of clicks.

Software solution to share USB over Remote Desktop Protocol

If you want to connect to a local USB device from a remote desktop, there’s probably no better solution than USB Redirector by Electronic Team, Inc. This dedicated app is designed to redirect USB peripherals over RDP in such a way that they appear on a remote machine like they were physically attached to that computer.

USB for Remote Desktop Software

USB Network Gate (UNG) allows you to share a USB port to which a USB device is connected. If you unplug one peripheral and plug another, it will be shared automatically.
UNG logo

USB Network Gate

4.9 Rank based on 179+ users, Reviews(72)
Download 14-day trial, You can share only 1 local USB-device
 USB for Remote Desktop

To take advantage of the app’s powerful functionality, you should install the utility on both computers: the one that has the device attached (UNG Server) and the one that will connect to it remotely (UNG Client).

USB Network Gate is a convenient tool that combines both Server and Client parts in one app.

  1. 1
    On your local PC (where you run Microsoft RDP client), you’ll need to use the Server part of the software in order to share peripherals for redirection over RDP.
  2. 2
    On the remote computer (where RDP Server component is installed), you should use the Client part of USB Network Gate for creating a remote connection to the shared device.

It’s worth noting that USB Network Gate requires registration. You need to register the software for using it on the server computer (UNG Server). It will give you the ability to share USB ports and devices connected to them. As for the Client part, it doesn’t need to be registered. You can install the app and use the Client module on an unlimited number of remote machines and connect to shared devices for free.

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14-day free trial

So, once you create a connection to a shared peripheral with the help of RDP USB redirector software, the device shows up in the Device Manager of the RDP Server and all applications installed on that machine recognize the peripheral as though it were attached locally.

Note: Starting from version 7.x, USB Network Gate supports the ICA protocol, which means you can forward devices from a thin client to the terminal server over ICA.

How to redirect USB device to remote desktop

Here’s how USB redirection over RDP works. Let's consider the process step-by-step:

What you should do on the local PC (thin client):
Install USB Network Gate and start it.
Find the required USB port/device in the “Local USB devices” tab and click “Share” next to it.
 USB for Remote Desktop
Connect to the remote desktop via Remote Desktop Connection.
Once you are done with the setup, click ‘Finish’. You might have to restart your PC or laptop to see the storage drive.
On the remote server:
Once connected to the remote server via RDP, start USB Network Gate and go to the “Remote devices” tab.
 RDP USB redirection
What’s convenient is that the software will display only those USB devices that are shared on the host computer. Though you’ll still be able to search for USB devices on the network.
Also, you can enable the “RDP auto-connect” option, and all of your connections to devices in the Remote Desktop session will be re-established automatically without the need to start the program GUI.
Share any USB device over Remote Desktop
 Printer and scaner
Printer and scaner
USB webcam
 Hard disk drive
Hard disk drive
 Barcode scaner
Barcode scaner

Useful features of USB redirector RDP software

USB over RDP features
  1. 1
    USB Network Gate is a cross-platform solution that works perfectly well on Windows and Linux platforms. This program allows you to connect USB equipment to remote desktops over Microsoft RDP and Citrix ICA protocols and makes it possible to forward local devices to Hyper-V, Citrix XenDesktop, VMware, and other virtualization apps.
  2. 2
    The utility supports a wide range of USB devices, starting from standard USB flash drives and finishing with USB Wi-Fi adapters, portable thermometers, and game pads.
  3. 3
    As USB Network Gate is aimed at sharing USB ports rather than devices, it will redirect any newly-plugged peripheral automatically immediately after you connect it to a shared port. In this case, you don't even have to make any additional configuration.
  4. 4
    When dealing with Remote Desktop sessions, you can control access to connected peripheral USB devices by isolating the device. You can grant access to the device using Per-session isolation. This means that a RDP session can freely access the device as long as the session is active.

Try USB redirector RDP software now
14-day free trial

Challenge of USB redirection to Remote Desktop

When it comes to sharing USB devices over RDP within small companies and big enterprises, system administrators should always keep track of networks used by employees and devices they try to redirect to a virtual environment.

There are many factors that should be taken into account before trying to redirect USB to a remote desktop:

  • IT team needs to ensure that the network used for USB over RDP forwarding will handle the requirements of the device that’s going to be shared.

  • Latency, bandwidth, and sporadic reliability can all negatively impact the network’s ability to provide a quality user experience when redirecting USB to a remote desktop.

  • Wide area networks (WANs) can be used to link remote computers to USB devices and are especially useful for those workers who have to often change their location. Unfortunately, at times WANs can offer not enough throughput, which means limited access to the functionality of local devices accessed from a virtual desktop.

  • Local area networks (LANs) which are widely used by employees on-premises often work better for sharing USB among multiple remote computers. With a LAN, the network latency rate can be less than 20 milliseconds, which is rarely possible to achieve with a wide area network.

  • Another factor that is important for network administrators is keeping their VDI software updated. They need to make sure that the operating systems and servers they use can support USB redirect RDP functionality.

Are there any devices that are not recommended to be shared with remote desktops?

USB device not visible with RDP

Some devices provide better performance when used in a USB over RDP session. This should be taken into account by an IT team that selects peripherals to be used with USB redirector software.

Devices that require substantial resources are not good candidates for USB redirection.

For example, scanners fall into this category for their reliance on sequential processes. In some cases, USB redirection software will not allow scanners to be shared over the network or will only work with a limited set of their features.

Inordinate bandwidth consumption is another problem that you may face when trying certain types of devices for USB redirection. This is certainly true of video and audio devices. Redirecting their data can result in slowing down the work of the whole network. These types of devices are not recommended for use with USB redirection software.

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s not a good idea to redirect USB peripherals with high resource requirements, such as scanners. This is mainly due to scanners’ reliance on back-to-back processes. There were instances when USB redirection apps were unable to share a scanner over the network or caused a substantial drop in their functionality.
The USB RDP Redirector software has versions for Windows, Linux, and Mac so any server-client combination is possible. For example, your Windows PC can easily connect to a USB device shared over IP on Mac, or the other way around.
Absolutely! Thousands of our customers have successfully integrated our product into their software and hardware solutions and thus solved a whole lot of technical challenges, along with ensuring maximum effectiveness.
Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) is an application server system by Citrix Systems similar in operation to Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol. It was specifically designed to forward over the network both graphical format data and control input from keyboard and mouse.

The USB over RDP software has ICA support, so during a remote session over ICA, you’ll be able to see any USB device connected to a thin client.
Top choice

USB Network Gate

  • Rank 4.9 based on 179+ users
  • Requirements: Windows (32-bit and 64-bit): Windows 7/8/10, Windows Server 2008 R2/2012/2016/2019. 5.45MB free space.
  • Version 9.2.2333. (5 Jan, 2021). Release notes