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5 Common Printer Redirection Problems with Remote Desktop Services (RDS)

Many organizations rely on remote desktop services (RDS) to provide them with lean, flexible computing environments. Many of those same organizations also struggle with remote desktop printer problems, which detracts significantly from the benefits of RDS. 

At the end of the day, admins just want printers to print without hurting productivity and overloading their team with helpdesk calls. However, obstacles like heavy WAN traffic and failed printer redirections tend to result in unpleasant downtime for organizations—and increased workload for IT.


5 Common Problems with Printer Redirection

The full list of potential problems is a long one, but there are ways to simplify and streamline everything about enterprise printing in RDS environments—which we will discuss later. Here are five common cases of RDP redirection not working when using Windows print servers and what you can do about them.


1. Print jobs disappear

This is one of the most frustrating of all the possible remote desktop printer problems. After connecting to the server, the client can see the desired desktop printer in the list of available printers. The client can successfully send a print job to the printer, and it even appears in the queue. But then—poof!—it’s gone, and the print job is never actually printed.


2. An installed printer is not visible to the remote client

In this scenario, a printer appears to have been successfully installed on the administrative side but that printer is not showing in the remote desktop session. It might be problematic for just a single client, or it might be an entire client pool. Whatever the case, the client (or client pool) is unable to locate it and therefore unable to print.

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3. Print jobs execute but the text is garbled

When a print job fails to print or an RDP printer is not showing in the remote desktop session, you can at least isolate the problem to a single step in the printing process. But what about when the print job appears in the output tray with garbled text or symbols instead of text?


4. Long printing delays

Sometimes everything in the printing process will work fine. The printer is accessible, the print job is successfully relayed to the printer, and the document prints out just as it should. However, this process will take an inordinate amount of time—far longer than it should actually take for data to travel from the local client to the printer via the remote server.


5. Application-specific RDP problems

This can test the limits of an admin’s sanity. Here the end user can print from the word processor, for example, but can’t print from the accounting software. It can be a matter of one particular printer not showing in the remote desktop session for that particular application, or that a printer is accessible but the print job will not execute for some reason.


RDP Redirection Troubleshooting Tips

Though it’s very hard to pinpoint the exact cause of each of these remote desktop printer problems, the general troubleshooting advice is that they often result from a driver issue, especially if you’re relying on non-manufacturer print drivers. Try updating the driver on the client or moving to a newer version of your non-standard driver. And as soon as you attempt to print, check the Event Viewer and print server logs. Those error messages should offer you some more specific direction.

If none of these methods help, the reason could be one of the following:

  • The client may not support RDP and/or the user isn’t using a Microsoft device
  • Group Policy may be halting redirection 
  • The server can’t identify the printer 

I’m sure you’ve discovered the common theme by now: RDP redirection is more trouble than it’s worth. It shouldn’t be this hard for users to print in RDS sessions. That’s why we have one more option to help you enhance printing in RDS environments. 


Want to get rid of RDP redirection issues for good?

A more comprehensive, long-term, and cost-effective solution to all of your remote desktop printer problems is PrinterLogic. Our next-generation print management software removes issues with RDP redirection not working with Windows print servers by seamlessly replacing or enhancing your conventional print infrastructure.

In short, we eliminate your print servers and enable you to manage your entire printer fleet on our SaaS platform. 

No print servers means you can deploy printers without GPOs or scripts and empower your end users with self-service installation while enjoying centralized administration, precise automated deployments, and effortless printer and driver management. You can even use PrinterLogic to deploy session printers instead of using printer redirection in your RDS environment. So if you find yourself battling remote desktop printing problems, PrinterLogic is the quickest way to get rid of them permanently.