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Tips for Configuring Microsoft RDS Universal Printing

Posted by Chris Summerhays on October 26th, 2017

Starting with Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft debuted a new addition called Easy Print. This feature was designed for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments that were looking to increase printing stability and simplicity by limiting the number of drivers that are mapped when using the client printer redirection method.

Now, before I get too far into describing how remote desktop works with Easy Print in Server 2012 (it's important to note that the feature didn't change in later versions of Windows Server), let's quickly revisit types of printer deployment in RDS environments. That will make a bit more sense of Easy Print and RDS universal print drivers.

In RDS environments, printers are deployed in one of two ways:

  1. Printer redirection: Using this method, the printer is connected to the RDS session through the remote client. When a user prints, the print job travels from the server to the remote client and then to the local printing device.
  2. Session printers: Here the printer is connected to the remote client via the RDS server. When a user prints, the print job is sent directly from the server to the local printing device.

The reason this distinction is important is because Easy Print only works with the printer redirection method. That means if you're using remote desktop with Easy Print in Server 2012, you're limited to print redirection should you want to make use of Easy Print's RDS universal print driver for universal printing.

But from an administrative standpoint, this also gets very confusing because there is a "Do not allow client printer redirection" setting under the system-wide "Printer Redirection" options, which is separate from the "Use Remote Desktop Easy Print driver first" option. Both of these are determined and set using group policy objects (GPOs). The redirection option can be disabled at the uppermost rights level but can be optionally enabled at lower tiers, so if you do choose that route, you will have to pay careful attention to where exactly it's enabled and where it isn't across your RDS environment.

You will also want to consult the "Specify RD Session Host server fallback printer driver behavior" setting. The Easy Print option will allow you to determine whether the Easy Print driver should be used and what a client should do if a suitable driver isn't found. Additional options allow you to grant priority to other drivers over the Easy Print driver, making it a fallback to PCL or PS versions.

As you can see, this can get very complicated very quickly, which is why you’ll want PrinterLogic on your side. Our next-generation print management solution gives you the choice of using both printer redirection or session printers to support an RDS universal print driver, and in both cases there are major advantages. In contrast to enterprise printing setups that hinge on using remote desktop with Easy Print in Server 2012, PrinterLogic has the ability to streamline print management across the organization by providing you with a centralized management console and printer/driver deployments that don't require GPOs at all.

PrinterLogic also brings reduced WAN traffic through proven direct IP printing, relaying print jobs directly from the endpoint device to the local printer. That means you can continue to use an RDS universal printer driver while enjoying increased print availability and simplified deployments—as well as the ability to eliminate print servers entirely from your organization through PrinterLogic’s low-footprint solution.

For universal printing in your RDS environment, Easy Print can be anything but easy. That’s why your organization ought to have PrinterLogic as its print management solution. It simplifies and enhances print management in even the most intricate RDS scenarios.

Chris Summerhays
Chris Summerhays
Before becoming PrinterLogic's Technical Product Manager, Chris spent more than four years as a Technical Product Engineer, Systems Engineer, and Sales Engineer—working side by side with IT professionals to eliminate print servers from their environment. He has a B.S. degree in Information Technology and loves learning about all of the new and innovating solutions that continue to revolutionize the IT industry.

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