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How To Access USB Dongles In Remote Desktop—Extended Guide

Olga Weis Olga Weis Jan 10, 2023
How To Access USB Dongles In Remote Desktop—Extended Guide

Remote desktop sessions using the RDP often face a specific type of connectivity problem. If you try to run a license-protected app on a remote server, you’ll find that you have trouble recognizing your local USB devices over RDP (dongles in our case). In many cases, vendors disable the ability to access security keys over RDP, leading to reduced productivity and wasted time.

This article demonstrates a simple and convenient method of using USB dongles in remote desktop sessions with a dedicated and very efficient software solution.

Table of contents

Use USB dongles on remote desktop (multiple users)

Donglify is a specialized software solution that addresses the problem of accessing a security dongle in a remote desktop session.
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Native features and functionality make it difficult to use a USB dongle with Windows Remote Desktop. Donglify enables you to access a locally attached USB dongle from a remote desktop session. The dongle will be recognized as if it is directly attached to the remote session.

Donglify is simple to use and install. The tool does not require any extensive configuration and is compatible with virtually any USB dongle.

Donglify’s main features

  • Multiconnect feature. Donglify can resolve the issue of sharing a security dongle with multiple remote desktop users in different physical locations.
 Donglify
  • This connectivity tool lets you attach a USB dongle to a physical machine and share it with multiple users over the network. This enables a team to access the dongle’s functionality at any time and from any remote session.

  • Does not rely on the Remote Desktop Protocol. Donglify establishes a connection between the locally connected USB dongle and a remote desktop session using the TCP/IP protocol.

  • Advanced security. 2048-bit SSL encryption protects data transfer between the the dongle and remote session.

  • A complete solution. Donglify is a simple and comprehensive solution for sharing dongles in remote desktop sessions. No extra hardware or cabling is necessary to connect USB dongles to the remote desktop.
Connect USB Dongles to Remote Desktop
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How to redirect a USB dongle to a remote desktop session

The following video guide shows you how to redirect a USB dongle to a remote desktop session.

 Donglify

Or you can follow the steps outlined below.
1
Create a free Donglify account.
 register donglify account
2
Install Donglify on the computer that is connected to the USB dongle you wish to attach to the remote desktop. This machine is known as the server. Donglify also needs to be installed on all remote computers (clients) that you will connect to over RDP.
 install donglify
3
Launch Donglify on the server and client computers and log in to your account.
 log in to donglify account
4
Click the “+” icon on the server to display a list of connected USB dongles.
 display usb dongles
5
Select the device you want to share by checking the radio button next to its name. Click the Share button to share the device.
 redirect usb dongle to remote desktop
6
On a client machine, find the USB dongle you want to access remotely and click Connect.
 connect usb dongle to remote desktop

After establishing the connection, the client machine’s Device Manager will recognize the dongle as if it is physically attached. The full functionality of the security key will be available to the user in the remote desktop session.

Connect USB Dongles to Remote Desktop
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Share USB dongles over RDP (natively)

USB Network Gate is a versatile software tool that has many uses when working with remote USB devices. Using this capability, USB Network Gate can connect a remote desktop session with a USB dongle.

This USB dongle redirector software enables users to connect to locally attached dongle keys over RDP. A connection made in this way makes the license dongle over RDP appear as it has a direct connection to the remote session.

USB Network Gate eliminates the problem of being unable to use the features of a protected app on your remote session due to issues with dongle connectivity. This simple method of redirecting a USB dongle over RDP ensures your session will be able to recognize and access the key’s information.

Share USB Dongles over RDP
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How to redirect a USB license key over RDP

Here is a handy video that will help you get started.

 USB Network Gate

How to redirect a USB license key over RDP

The following simple steps are all you need to implement access to a security dongle over RDP:
1
Install USB Network Gate on the computer with a direct connection to the security key.
2
Launch the application and open the “Local USB Devices” tab.
3
Locate the dongle you want to share and click “Share” next to it.
 share usb dongle over rdp
4
Use the RDP client to connect to the remote desktop.
On the remote server:
1
Once the RDP session is established, start USB Network Gate and open the “Remote Devices” tab.
2
Select the security dongle and click “Connect”.
 connect usb dongle over rdp

A nice feature of USB Network Gate is that it only displays USB devices that have been shared by the host machine. You can search for other available network-connected USB devices with the app.

There is also an “RDP auto-connect” option that automatically establishes remote desktop dongle connectivity so you can get right to work without opening USB Network Gate’s interface.

Share USB Dongles over RDP
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Here are the pros and cons of using USB Network Gate:

Pros:

  • It’s a cross-platform solution that can use the Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and Raspberry operating systems as a host or client.
  • A wide variety of USB devices (not just USB dongles) is supported by the app.
  • Does not allow connecting the same dongle to multiple remote desktop instances.

Cons:

  • To implement USB dongle redirection, a network connection is required.
  • Does not allow connecting the same dongle to multiple remote desktop instances.

Summary

In this article, you’ve learned how to securely and efficiently attach USB dongles to the remote desktop session. Depending on your preferences and use case, it can either be done with Donglify, which is specialized in sharing security dongles among multiple users, or with USB Network Gate, which is more tailored towards sharing USB dongles natively over RDP.

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