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How to Solve Three Common Citrix Printing Problems

Posted by Devin Anderson on May 9th, 2018

More than 300,000 organizations rely on virtualization, networking, and cloud solutions from Citrix Systems. Many of these firms would be lost without Citrix's powerful and scalable virtualization software such as Virtual Desktops.

The rub is that printing in a Citrix environment remains a sore spot for many server admins. Even with improvements, Virtual Desktops poses challenges, and even highly skilled admins have to jump through hoops to deploy printers properly and carefully monitor the print environment. End users still struggle with routine printing when default printers are reset because of policy conflicts, or they crash due to driver incompatibilities.

Alas, there is a long list of Citrix printing issues. This is because virtualization software introduces variables into the print environment and each of these variables—such as basic printer compatibility with Citrix software and how drivers are deployed in the session—leads to possible flashpoints. Let's look at three common problems and their root causes and possible solutions:

  1. Citrix server print-spooler crashes. This one has been around for a while. Symptoms include the print spooler hanging or server CPU usage suddenly spiking, resulting in end-user frustration and help desk tickets. The typical solution is restarting the print spooler using the Services Console. Sometimes this works, but if a driver is at fault, the spooler can be unresponsive.

    To restart the spooler successfully—and keep it from hanging again—an admin needs to hunt for the problem driver and remove it before resuming printing. This will stem spooler crashes, but there are still clients who need to print. You can search for a different version of the driver, or force the affected workstations to use the Universal Print Driver (UPD), which is more forgiving. Using the UPD will reduce driver clutter on the Citrix server (and reduce the risk of driver conflicts), but comes with a trade-off in printer functionality.

  2. Printing policies are ignored. While print-spooler crashes are a longstanding Citrix printing issue, properly configured (but non-applied) printing policies can be equally frustrating. When there’s a conflict with an existing group policy object (GPO) or a related Citrix policy, the intended policy can be overridden. Anyone who's worked with GPOs and Citrix policies knows these assignments can become a tangle of priorities and precedence. Admins sometimes sketch them out on paper like Venn diagrams to diagnose which subgroup is affected by which overlapping policy.

    A sensible course of action is to run a dedicated test server within its own organizational unit (OU) while blocking all policy inheritance. Then log in using a new user account and confirm that the desired policy takes effect when nothing else is there to override it. Then it's safe to begin the process of logging out and logging back into the test account—each time adding another layer of existing policy. Sooner or later, you'll find the desired policy that was ignored and you will have identified the conflicting GPO.

  3. Improper printer deployment. This may seem like one of the most fundamental tasks in any print environment, but it can still be a problem in Citrix. Before deploying printers using Citrix, you have to choose one of two deployment methods:

    • Auto-create printers: This redirects printers already installed on the endpoint device to the Citrix session. The challenge here is not deploying the printers to the Citrix server, but rather deploying them to the endpoint device to begin with.

    • Session printers: Printers are initially deployed directly to the Citrix server. The challenge here is how to get the printers installed for use within the session, either a deliberate action on the part of the end user or automation via use of a logon script or GPOs.
    Without a solid print-management solution, neither method of deployment is ideal. GPOs can be complex and lead to policy conflicts that are hard to troubleshoot—especially in big, distributed organizations. Scripts must be custom coded and can slow down login times considerably. And unless end users have a simple, one-click route to printer installation, the intricacies of mapping printers can test the limits of their computer skills and leave them relying on help-desk calls to sort things out.

PrinterLogic is a comprehensive solution for Citrix printing problems
PrinterLogic is a solution for trouble-free, reliable printing in Citrix environments. Thanks to a centralized management architecture and deployment features that don't rely on scripts or GPOs—plus its ability to empower end users through an intuitive self-service portal—PrinterLogic solves the most common and persistent Citrix printing issues in one package:

  • When using auto-created printers, the PrinterLogic client is installed on the end-user workstation. Printers can be automatically deployed to the workstation and redirected in the session through the Citrix policy of printer auto-creation. This can leverage either native printer drivers (to retain important finishing options), or the Citrix UPD—which ensures broad compatibility.

  • When opting for session printers, admins deploy the PrinterLogic client in the session itself. The software client gathers information about the end-user workstation from the Citrix session. The client then manages printer security to ensure the correct printers are installed and appear automatically in the user’s session. PrinterLogic establishes direct-IP connections between workstations and nearby printers, and session printing lets end users print using full-featured native printer drivers.

Because PrinterLogic integrates seamlessly with Citrix environments, it feels and functions like a natural enhancement of Citrix printing rather than a bolt-on, third-party solution. It delivers streamlined print management and improvements in printer availability that save administration time and keep users productive. It helps reduce hardware infrastructure and demands on technical-support resources. PrinterLogic is a complete solution for Citrix printing problems and a comprehensive solution for enterprise print management as well.

Devin Anderson
Devin Anderson
With nearly 20 years of experience in delivering market leading IT solutions to Fortune 500 companies, Devin prides himself on driving simplicity into products that solve extremely complex IT problems. For years he has been focused on the end-user computing devices and delivering technology that provides valuable services to the end-user which enable them to be their most productive self. As Vice President of Product Management at PrinterLogic, he focuses on increasing the value customers get from the company's Enterprise Printer Management solution.

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