Admins in remote desktop environments often rely on redirecting printers in Windows Server 2012 to deliver local printers to their end users. But printer redirection isn't always the most dependable or hassle-free method to get those printers out. There are a couple of problems that can crop up, resulting in failed deployments, software crashes or an inability to print.
First off, let's take a look at how printer redirection works.
When redirecting printers in Windows Server 2012—and, in fact, all versions since Server 2000—a list of local printers that are installed on the remote client is relayed to the server, which then creates the print queue within the remote session. Before printing, the remote client queries the server for suitable drivers, and if the server does indeed have those drivers, the printer is then redirected.
As this multi-step process makes clear, there are many opportunities for things to go wrong between the time a user logs into a session and tries to print out a document. Printer redirection is also challenging from a printer management standpoint, because it can complicate deployments. Some of the telltale signs that printer redirection is not working are:
- A redirected printer is not showing up: Despite the printer having been installed correctly, it remains invisible to the remote client (or a group of clients) in the list of available printers.
- Vanishing print jobs: All the waypoints in the print chain between client and printer seem to be functioning properly, yet print jobs mysteriously drop from the queue.
- Delayed printing: Even though print jobs appear to be executing successfully, it takes an unusually long time for them to do so.
- Crashes and errors: If there is a driver conflict or remote clients are being instructed to search for or fallback to drivers that do not exist, this can cause spooler crashes and hard-to-pinpoint software errors.
Another issue that can occur if you're redirecting printers in Windows Server 2012 is when applications handle print jobs differently. This can result in a frustrating scenario where a print job completes successfully in one application but fails to execute in another.
Because printer redirection problems are so varied and difficult to isolate, traditional print environments don't offer a single surefire solution. Most of the time admins are stuck sifting through driver repositories looking for duplicates and problematic versions, or poring over server logs in the hope of finding the cause of the possible error. In some cases when a redirected printer is not showing up consistently in the list of available devices, they'll have to manually uninstall the printer and redeploy or replace it. And with printer management being so cumbersome in traditional print environments, that process can eat up a lot of time.
The one-stop solution to these printer management issues is PrinterLogic. Our next-generation print management software integrates seamlessly with all remote desktop environments, not to mention Citrix and VMware, and gives you the choice between printer redirection or session printers for greater flexibility. Because PrinterLogic leverages proven direct IP printing to create one-to-one connections between clients and local printers, either method ends up being far more reliable and easier to manage from our unique centralized administration console.
PrinterLogic's advanced, streamlined approach to printer management allows you to deploy printers without GPOs or scripts and lift some of the burden from your IT team through our acclaimed self-service installation portal, which empowers end users with the ability to identify and install nearby printers with a single click. Many organizations have even used PrinterLogic to eliminate print servers altogether. Not only do you end up solving your printer redirection problems, you get a whole lot more besides.
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.