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Terminal Server and Printer Redirection

CC Hameed 24 Aug 2007 2:15 PM 31

A common issue we work with is Printer Redirection issues with Terminal Services on Windows
Server 2003. Although printer redirection seems fairly simple on the surface, the issues that we
work on can get somewhat convoluted. So today we're going to look at some common
troubleshooting steps for Printer Redirection issues. However, before we get to the
troubleshooting steps for tackling this problem let's take a quick look at Printer Redirection itself.

Printer redirection was first implemented in Windows 2000 Server.  Printer redirection enables the users to print to
their locally installed printer from a terminal services session.  The Terminal Server client enumerates the local print
queues to detect the locally installed printers.  This list is presented to the server and server creates the print
queue in the session. The TS client provides the driver string name for the locally installed printers and if the server
has matching drivers installed then the printers will be redirected.  When we look at Printers on the Terminal
Server, a redirected printer will have a name similar to what is shown below:

As you can see, the naming convention follows this format:

Client Printer Name (from Client Computer Name) in

Session Number

The printer queues created in this manner are referred to

as automatic printer queues. However the Terminal Server
administrator could also create manual print queues by
selecting the redirected ports in the Add Printer Wizard.

Seems pretty simple, right? Let's start looking at some problem scenarios ...

Scenario 1: Printer Redirection fails for all clients

The most common scenario is when Printer Redirection does not work for any of the Terminal Server clients.
There are a number of troubleshooting steps to take when this occurs:

Check the Windows Printer Mapping Check Box:

Launch the Terminal Services Configuration utility.  Double-click the Connections folder.  In the right-hand pane,
right click on RDP-Tcp and select properties.

Once you have the property sheet open, select the Client Settings tab.  At the bottom of the tab, there is a section
labeled Disable the following: as shown below.  Ensure that the Windows Printer mapping checkbox is not
selected.  If it is, that means that the Terminal Server will not allow client Printer Redirection.

Group Policy Settings:

Printer Redirection can also be configured through Group Policy. The setting to prevent client printer redirection
is located in the following container: Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows
Components\Terminal Services\Client / Server Data Redirection. The name of the policy setting is "Do not allow
client printer redirection" as shown below 11/11/2010
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If this policy is enabled, it will prevent client printer redirection. In addition, the Windows printer mapping
checkbox in the Terminal Server Configuration console is disabled.

Terminal Server Device Redirector:

The server side component responsible for printer redirection is RDPDR.SYS.  You can check the status of this
driver in Device manager as shown below. If the Terminal Server Device Redirector is disabled, as in the screenshot
below then device redirection will not work.

Make sure that Terminal Server Device Redirector is in enabled status.  You can also use the following command
to recreate this device: devcon -r install %windir%\inf\machine.inf root\rdpdr.  More information on the DevCon
utility is available in

Microsoft KB Article 311272.

Registry key verification

If you have implemented the  mentioned in Microsoft KB Article 268065 it will prevent printer redirection from
functioning.  As per this KB if the registry value fEnablePrintRDR is set to 0, Printer Redirection will fail even if the
Print Spooler is started on the Terminal Server.  This will not register any events.  As part of your standard
troubleshooting you should check whether the following value exists: 
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\Wds\rdpwd\fEnablePrintRDR. 

Scenario 2: Printer redirection fails for a single client:

When Printer redirection fails for a single client, there are a couple of things to check. First, check the settings on
the Remote Desktop client on the problem machine and ensure that the Printers check box is checked to allow
redirection: 11/11/2010
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The other thing to check (often overlooked) is the Remote Desktop Client version on the problem machine. You
should always ensure that you are running the latest RDP Client on your client machines.

Scenario 3: Certain Printers are not Redirected

In some situations, individual printers are not redirected. On the Terminal Server itself you may see an error
similar to the one below:

Type: Error
Event ID: 1111
Description: Driver drivername required for printer printertype is unknown. Contact the administrator to install the
driver before you log in again.

In many instances, the quickest way to work around this situation is to install the printer driver directly on the
Terminal Server.  However, with Windows 2003 Server Service Pack 1, you can use the Fallback Driver Capability
instead.  The policy for this is located under Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows
Components\Terminal Services\Client / Server data redirection\Terminal Server Fallback Printer Driver Behavior

When you enable the policy, you have the following options:

An extremely useful tool to use when troubleshooting Printer Redirection is the TS Printer Redirection Wizard
tool.  This utility scans the Terminal Server's System Even log and detects all Event ID 1111 events with a source of
"TermServDevices".  The tool then scans the registry for installed Version 3 MINI drivers, and prompts the
Administrator to substitute an installed driver for each of the printers that failed redirection.  Any changes are
written to a file where the custom redirected printer mappings are stored.

Sometimes multifunction print devices may not be redirected unless you are running Windows Server 2003 on 11/11/2010
Terminal Server and Printer Redirection - Ask the Performance Team - Site Home - T... Page 4 of 5

your local computer because they use DOT4 ports. Only W2K3 redirects printer port names that do not begin with
COM, LPT, or USB.  If you are using a Windows XP machine use the workaround mentioned in Microsoft KB Article

Last but by no means least, please do not forget to make sure that your printing subsystem is functioning properly
on both the Terminal Server and the TS Clients even before you start troubleshooting printer redirection issues in
Terminal Services.

And just as a quick note, Citrix uses different methods for redirecting printers and these troubleshooting steps
may not be applicable for Citrix servers.  And that brings us to the end of our post on Terminal Server and Printer
Redirection.  I hope you find this information useful, and if you have any feedback, please don't hesitate to let us

Additional Resources:

 How to redirect only the default printer of a Terminal Services client to a Windows Server 2003 Terminal
Server session
 Windows 2000 Terminal Services does not redirect network printers
 Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services

- Nithin Das


Terminal Server and Printer Redirection » D’ Technology Weblog: Technology News & Reviews 24 Aug 2007 3:27 PM
PingBack from

The Official SBS Blog 4 Sep 2007 7:12 PM

[Today's post comes to us courtesy of Damian Leibaschoff and the ASKPERF Blog] This is a topic that still

Sean Kearney 5 Sep 2007 6:22 AM

Now where was THIS article when I was giving myself a crash course on Terminal servers?

Right down to that last one.   We had a bunch of printers that wouldn't redirect, turned out to be only
TCP/IP.  That last article with changing the key to ffffffff did the trick.  Ended up writing a small batch file
with the Terminal icon attached to it for all the users to ensure printing was constant too.


Bryn Hackland 2 Nov 2007 12:12 PM

Trying to run the redirection wizard on Windows Server 2003 X64d getting 'error 3' no Version 3 Mini
Drivers Installed. Install at least one. Looked all over the support groups to find out how to install a
version 3 mini driver to no avail. Can anyone help?


Simon B 14 Nov 2007 11:57 AM

Fantastic article - great information which seems very hard to find.  Especially since the problems I was
having seemed very common.

All is well now though - Thanks.

lance 26 Nov 2007 9:22 AM

question: what kind of permissions are required for regular end users to add their own printers to
windows 2003 x64 terminal server?

Ray Ruete 28 Nov 2007 12:31 PM

We have several remote users running XP accessing terminal server (2003).  We

recently added our first Vista client, but when connected, none of the local 11/11/2010