Windows Remote Desktop Printer Redirection Problems – Clever Solution
You want to print to your local printer (redirect) when connected to a remote Windows PC through Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) but the printer refuses to show up on the remote PC’s Printer’s list.
- The Event Viewer may be showing an error relating to Term or TermServDevices similar to the screenshot below.
- You successfully connected to a remote Windows PC through RDC but your local printer is not showing up as an icon in Control Panel > Printers Faxes or in the Print dialog in any application.
- Other Local resources such as Disk Drives show up and are accessible without any problems
- Other printers installed on the remote PC (if any) have no known problems
- The printer you are using may be a local USB printer or a network printer
The remote desktop printer problem happens because either:
- the Printers check box is not selected in the Local Resources tab of remote desktop and/or
- if it is selected, the correct printer driver is not installed on the remote PC
If you have an error showing in your event viewer of the remote computer similar to the screen shot above then it’s likely that you need the correct printer driver installed. The steps below should sort it.
Step 1 – Enable Printer as a Local Resource
Perform these steps on the local computer
- On the local PC, open Remote Desktop Connection (RDC)
- Enter the address you want to connect to
- Click Options
- Click the Local Resources tab
- Place a check mark in Printers in the Local devices and resources section.
- Click Connect, enter your username and password details if required and allow it to bring up the desktop
- On the remote PC, check to see if the printer is visible as an icon in the Control Panel > Printers screen
- If the printer installed correctly then you’re finished! If not, then continue to Step 2
Step 2 – Install the printer driver on the remote PC
Perform these steps on the remote computer
- Firstly verify if you need to install the printer driver on the remote PC by checking that the printer driver is the problem as described in the symptoms section of this article.
- The easiest way to get the printer drivers installed in the correct place in Windows is by installing a dummy local printer on the Remote PC.
- Click Start > Printer & Faxes
- Click Add Printer
- Click Next > select Local Printer
- Uncheck Automatically detect and install my plug and play printer > Click Next
- Select a Printer Port: select Use the following port: FILE: (print to file) > Click Next
- Click Have Disk
- Browse to the location of the printer driver for the printer you are trying to use, select the INF file and click OK
You will probably have to download the printer driver from the manufacturers website to the remote PC and store them in a folder somewhere convenient such as the desktop. Links to the major printer manufacturers driver download pages are available below.
- Select the printer from the list and click Next
- Give the printer a name select that it should not be the default printer > Click Next
- Select Do Not Share This Printer > Click Next
- Do not print a test page (it’s only a dummy printer!) > Click Next
- Click Finish – Windows will now copy all the required drivers and complete the install.
- Disconnect from your RDC session by clicking Start > Disconnect
- Reconnect to the remote PC through RDC
- Check the Printers list – you should have 2 printers installed now (in addition to any other printers on the remote PC of course); the dummy one and the real one.
- You should be able to tell the real one from the dummy one because the dummy one will have a little picture of a disk beside the printer icon.