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Dealing with Terminal Services / Remote Desktop Printing

Windows has an interesting way of getting the printers on your Client PC to accept print jobs that you create on the Terminal Server. Basically, when you connect, Windows asks the RDP Client to tell it what printers are connected to the client, then it looks in its own list to see if it has the correct driver (or a "Fallback Driver") - one that will work. However, the RDP Client only tells the Terminal Server about printers that have port names starting with LPT, COM or USB - many USB and network printer port names do not start with LPT, COM or USB. DOT4 is an example (some HP Printers.)

The request/provide process is pretty smooth for printers that Windows "knows about" on the Terminal Server and on the Client - Windows XP and Windows 2003 Server share a similar pool of known printers. The challenges start to come in when the Terminal Server thinks it does not have a suitable driver - or when the RDP client does not tell the Terminal Server about certain printers. If you have Windows 98, ME or 2000 on your client, this process is much more likely to fail, due to difference in the printer names and differences in the printer drivers.

If you sign on to your Terminal Server, and you do not see your printer in the Printers & Faxes folder, check to see if the printer you are trying to use is NOT on LPT1, LPT2, LPT3, COM1, COM2, COM3,COM4, or on a port that starts with "USB".

If the Printer is USB, or networked, you may need to download and install this file - fixXPprint.zip. This file must be saved to your desktop, then extracted and run. It will set your PC's registry to that the RDP Client will try to map ALL Printers on your PC - not just the ones attached to LPT and COM ports. This issue is discussed here - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/302361/en-us

After Windows reports that the information has been successfully entered into the registry, try to connect again. If you still cannot find your printer in the Printers and Faxes folder after a few minutes, then you need to ask the group in charge of the Terminal Server to install the manufacturer's printer driver for your printer model. It is likely that Windows 2003 Server does not have the printer in its native list of known printers. Once the Terminal Server has the driver, the RDP Client will be able to tell it about the printer, and it will be able to create your printer in its Printers & Faxes folder.

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