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How to Print to a Local Printer from a Remote Desktop Session?

The Ongoing Question of Cyber Security

Have you ever had to print locally from a remote desktop session?

If you have, you already know that it is useful when it works as expected.

Unfortunately, remote printing is often not as simple as it should be.

Here are the standard steps to printing from your remote desktop to your local printer using Microsoft. As well as our very own TSplus solution to do away with remote-to-local printing hassle.

How to Print Remotely via RDS to a Local Printer?

At a time when remote work and flexible office hours are on the rise, printing to our home printer, a few steps away from our home workstation, can be surprisingly complicated. Indeed, when remotely logged in to the office, there can be hurdles to printing that wouldn’t otherwise exist.

The basics should be that you simply select the print option on your remote desktop document, select your local printer in the print window and then click “print”.

But, if your local printer remains invisible, if you are printing remotely for the first time or if you know it hasn’t yet been set-up, below are the steps to take to enable your local printer as a Local Resource using a Remote Desktop Connection client (mstsc.exe). You can follow these straight away, or read on first, before choosing a course of action.

Step-by-step to Print Locally from Microsoft Remote Desktop Sessions

  1. On the local PC, Open Remote Desktop Connection (RDC).
  2. In the remote workspace, click “Show Options”.
  3. Click “Local Resources”.
  4. Under Local devices and resources: Check the “Printers” box.
  5. Go back to the “General” tab and click save settings.
  6. Make sure this has been applied by restarting.
  7. This should now be automatic on subsequent uses.

Last but not least, it is always worth remembering that, whether you log off your session or disconnect from it, the print queue will be deleted, and any incomplete or pending jobs will be lost.

Printing Locally to a Remote Printer in an Ideal Printing World

So, in a perfect world, you would click “print” within your remote session and Windows would automatically handle all requested processes for sending your document into your local printer. At least that is what you would expect, whether using mstsc.exe or similar methods. Unfortunately, it is not always that easy.

What if my Local Printer is not Visible in my Remote Desktop Session?

Indeed, it could be that even if you know it should be visible, your local printer may not be in the list. There are a few considerations in this case, starting with one your may brush off initially but that is actually the best place to begin.

At home, regardless of having suitable permanent office space or not, cables may be played with by small hands, paws, etc. or less well plugged in than they need:

    Is the printer plugged in, switched on, not idle?

Drivers, Settings and other Factors when Printing to a Local Printer from a Remote Desktop Session

Once you have made sure the printer is properly plugged in and that it is on, here are, in no particular order, further important questions to consider:

  • Can you fix this yourself?
  • Do you rely on an administrator or technical support person? What info (name of your computer, its IP address, printer ID…) might they need?
  • “Does my local printer require a compatible driver not available on the remote computer?” Configuring your local printer may include ensuring the same print driver is installed on both the local and the remote desktop systems. Indeed, this is necessary for your printer to appear locally while you are connected to your Remote Desktop session.
  • Do you need to install an older driver supported by both computers? (Then probably manually redirect printing.)
  • Is your printer networked? (It needs to be locally connected for the RDS to access it.) Redirection will need setting up should the standard protocol fail to manage a USB printer.

Wish for a Driver-less Solution for Remote to Local Printing?

Hopefully, these steps have made it possible for you to print locally from a remote session. Otherwise, here’s an alternative to get it sorted.

In the real world, your remote Windows system cannot know which of a plethora of printers may be installed in your home, hotel and other remote working places from where you could need to print something.

There are so many kind of printers, so many different printer drivers and so many potential devices to combine. A remote Windows system cannot predict what must be done end-to-end to print a given document.

This is precisely why so many people have trouble printing remote jobs locally and it applies on-site and from home. It is a serious matter in any office. Whether some users can fix things themselves or whether it is a job for a support team, this needs solving and is definitely enough to make anyone wish for a driver-less solution.

Multiple Device Connections when Printing Remotely to a Local Printer.

Chances are, if you expect to connect from home, you will also want to connect from different kinds of devices: PC, MAC, Smartphone or tablet. This means that the Remote Desktop Client could be mstsc.exe, RDesktop, or any other RDP client for Android or IoS. Some of these deliver the necessary printer features. Others do not.

Hence why TSplus Remote Access now includes our printing solutions as standard, enabling you to access Windows remotely and print locally without the usual barriers.

When using the TSplus Web Portal solution to open your session, you will use a pure HTML5 Remote Desktop connection client. The great thing is that you have nothing to install on your local device. You just use Chrome, Firefox or another browser to open your remote session. Browsers know what to do when receiving a PDF file. You can locally read your remote document, save it locally or remotely, print it or combine these. It’s that simple.

Printing from Remote Servers and PCs to Local Printers with TSplus

For the long term, this easiest and most reliable of solutions is at hand as we have gradually improved and enhanced it since our team of developers created it over 15 years ago. Both the Universal Printer and the Virtual Printer driver solutions are included in our TSplus Remote Access and TSplus Remote Work software and bundles.

Our goal for all TSplus Remote Access and TSplus Remote Work users is to provide the most affordable, secure and hassle-free software. Amongst other things, TSplus Virtual Printer driver and TSplus Universal Printer make it possible to remotely print any document with your local printer, wherever and whenever you need to.

PDF Printing to Simplify Remote to Local Printing Processes

TSplus Universal Printer lets you print over our HTML5 client! With it, you can print to PDF, from your remote session onto your local desktop, bypassing all the incompatibility issues that come up with other solutions. That way, whatever your setup, you’re sure to be able to print locally from your remote desktop.

Our connection client is a small program for use on a Windows PC to start your TSplus Remote Access session. You run it locally once and it automatically sets up what you need on your side. When you choose to print, this program will receive the remote PDF print file, then either display it or redirect it automatically to your local printer. It uses the default PDF reader tool installed on your local device to process the local printing job, be it Acrobat or any other.

Unusual Formats and Label Printing from Remote Sessions to Local Printers

For more formats and flexibility, such as label printing etc., the TSplus “Virtual Printer Client” is a versatile tool. The Virtual Printer solution uses a different technology to the Universal Printer. The Virtual Printer driver will create a Network Printer on your remote system. When you open your session using the TSplus connection client, this program will recognise your local printer and it will assign it to our Network Printer. It eliminates the potential end-to-end driver issues, and the Remote Desktop Protocol will recognise your local printer.

You will see your local printer listed and re-directed amongst your available printers. The benefit is quite significant if you wish to use of your local printer’s specific features such as special paper format, bar codes, labels or special character sets.

Two Versatile Solutions for Remote Printing to Local Printers

So, if your main concern is freedom to display and to print documents from anywhere, then the TSplus Universal Printer is the best solution for you. Meanwhile for unusual or special printing requirements, the TSplus Virtual Printer is the smart way to directly print to just about any printer.

For the past 20 years, remote printing has been a complex and technical matter even for IT experts. Internet, the Cloud, and now the widespread use of remote access requirements, have made it even harder to handle remote printing efficiently. This is why, year in, year out, TSplus has maintained its investments on this specific feature in order to deliver a reliable, flexible and scalable printing solution to meet and exceed customer expectations.

To Conclude

Remember, TSplus products can be simply deployed, for any desktop configuration, regardless of device, browser, and connection speed. TSplus Remote Access, like any of our products, is available as a free 15-day trial, and you can set it up in a few clicks.

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