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Remote Desktop printing issues checklist

Nov 24, 2021

Resolving problems with Windows printing can be very challenging. When faced with redirected printers not printing under the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), multiple items need to be checked to identify the issue.

This article discusses some of the most common reasons Remote Desktop printer redirection is not working in Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

If you are using a Windows computer and your installed printer is not visible in your Remote Desktop session, it could be for a variety of reasons. These are the most likely causes of RDP printer redirection not working.

The Printer is not recognized by the server

If a local printer is not showing in Remote Desktop, you need to verify that the server recognizes the printer. On the remote server, open the Print Management console and then expand the Printers section in the print server. The printer you want to use should be listed here. You should also look into the Drivers container to ensure you are using the right driver for the printer.

Print management

The Ports container should also be checked. It should verify printer redirection is active from the client. In the example below, a client is redirecting printer activity to a remote print server using port TS005. If your printer is not recognized, you may have a driver or port issue.

Check print management

The remote computer is not configured as a print server

If printing over RDP is not working, it could be that the remote computer is not correctly configured to be a print server. The machine needs to be set up as a print server even when the printers are not directly connected to it. By default, a Windows Server system is configured to be a print server, but this function may have been disabled and be the cause of your problem.

To check if the Print Spooler service is running, open the Run app and type in SERVICES.MSC to open the Service Control Manager.

Service Control Manager

Open Server Manager and choose Print Management from the Tools menu. Verify that the server’s name you want to print from is listed in the Print Servers section.

Verify the server’s name

Printer redirection is not enabled

The Microsoft RDP client rather than terminal services is used to control printer redirection. If a Remote Desktop redirected printer is not printing, it may be due to the client setting used to facilitate hardware redirection. If print redirection has been disabled by a system administrator, print jobs will not be sent to the remote printer over RDP. Instead, the jobs will be sent to a locally mapped printer.

The procedure for verifying the state of printer redirection is simple and varied based on the RDP client version. When using Windows 10, use the following steps to see if device redirection has been turned off on your system.

  • Open the RDP client and click the Show options located in the bottom-left corner.
  • Click the Local Resources tab to view connected devices.
  • Ensure that the Printers checkbox is checked for the printers you want to use.
Local Resources tab

Group Policy is misconfigured and blocking printer redirection

A misconfigured Group Policy can be the reason that Remote Desktop connection printer redirection is not working. A setting within the Group Policy controls whether printer redirection is permitted or not.

Navigate to the printer-related settings which are located at: Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Remote Desktop Services > Remote Desktop Session Host > Printer Redirection.

Group Policy settings

If the Do not allow client printer redirection setting is enabled, it will result in RDP not printing to a local printer. Disable this setting to allow printer redirection and ensure your other redirection settings are configured correctly.

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