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Redirecting USB over RDP in Chrome Remote Desktop

Olga Weis Olga Weis Sep 15, 2021

This article will discuss the lack of native USB redirection in Chrome Remote Desktop and offer a third-party solution that addresses this flaw and enables the USB to remote desktop functionality.

chrome remote desktop usb redirection

Does Chrome Remote Desktop support USB over RDP?

Google Chrome Remote Desktop is a free and easy method of connecting to a remote computer or sharing your screen with friends or colleagues. With more people working remotely, the ability to connect to a work machine from home has become very important. The tool works with computers like a PC or Chromebook as well as iOS and Android devices.

Unfortunately, there is no native capability to share USB over Chrome Remote Desktop. This makes the solution less useful for remote workers as it limits the amount of information that can be obtained remotely. Without the ability to access external drives, printers, and other USB peripherals, many users will not be able to perform their jobs remotely using Chrome Remote Desktop.

This is a problem that has plagued Chrome users for years, and a quick look at online forums will turn up a lot of complaints about the lack of USB support. People are finding that the limitation severely hinders their ability to use Chrome Remote Desktop. To date, there is still no native support in the tool, but there are other ways to implement Chrome Remote Desktop USB redirection.

Is there a way to share USB over Chrome Remote Desktop?

Fortunately, there is a third-party software utility that addresses the inability of Chrome Remote Desktop to share USB devices. USB Network Gate solves the problem and enables users to gain full control over USB devices from Chrome Remote Desktop.

USB Network Gate provides Chrome Remote Desktop users with the ability to work with remotely located USB devices with the same level of functionality achieved with a direct physical connection.

Share USB to Chrome Remote Desktop
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This USB over Remote Desktop software solution runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. Any combination of client-server platforms is possible, allowing you to easily share USB devices among computers running different operating systems.

To share USB devices with a remote desktop, USB Network Gate needs to be installed on the machine that is directly connected to the USB device you wish to share, which will be called the ‘Server’. The software also should be installed on the computer that will share the USB device remotely, which we will call the ‘Client’.

How to redirect USB to a Chrome Remote Desktop instance?

Use the following procedure to set up USB redirection over RDP on Chrome Remote Desktop.
Install USB Network Gate on the ‘Server’ with the physical connection to the USB device.
 install usb network gate
Launch the application and locate the desired USB device in the Local USB devices tab. Click the Share button next to the device name.
 share usb chrome remote desktop
Use Chrome Remote Desktop to connect to the remote desktop.
 connect to another computer chrome remote desktop
On the remote ‘Client’ computer, launch USB Network Gate and navigate to the Remote devices tab.
 connect remote USB in chrome remote desktop

USB Network Gate will display the USB devices that are shared from the remote computer and can be connected. If the device is not in the list, you can also search the network for shared USB devices manually indicating the IP address/name of the server machine.

BTW, enabling the RDP auto-connect option retains connection settings in the Remote Desktop session so connectivity is automatically established without requiring you to start the USB Network Gate GUI.

Redirect USB devices on Chrome OS

The Android version of USB Network Gate lets you redirect USB traffic from a peripheral connected to a device running Chrome OS. With the Chrome OS support for Android apps, the device can then be accessed through Chrome Remote Desktop.

Share USB devices on Chrome OS
14-day free trial

The following steps let you remotely access a USB device attached to a machine running Chrome OS.

  1. Download and install USB Network Gate on both the Chrome OS device that will be attached to the USB peripheral, and the remote client machines.

  2. Connect a USB device to the Chrome OS machine. It should be displayed immediately in the USB Network Gate’s interface.

  3. Share the USB device.

  4. Click Connect on the remote computer to access the shared device.

Once the connection is established, the remote client has the same level of control over the USB device as if it was directly connected to the equipment.

The Android version of USB Network Gate only operates as a server. It only allows you to share USB devices physically connected to the Android machine.

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