Remote Desktop Printer Redirection With Parallels

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Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS) offers a complete solution to access virtual applications and desktops from a wide range of devices with different operating systems: Android, iOS, Windows phone, Linux, Windows and Mac. RAS extends the traditional terminal server/RDS  and hypervisor technology making the virtualized environment more seamless and easier to manage. RAS offers some unique features that simplify both the administrative and end-user experiences. One of these is the remote desktop printer redirection or Universal Printing feature. Remote desktop printer redirection or Universal Printing is embedded in RAS, so that no extra configuration is required. The Universal Printing drivers render the print job in a universal format on the server and send it to the client’s local printing subsystem; the local print spooler handles the printer-specific rendering of the print job with its locally installed printer driver. This has many advantages, including:

  • No need to install the printer drivers on the server.
  • You can change the local printer without any effect on the server or printing capability.

Performance is generally improved because the files transferred over the network are smaller.

When using RAS, therefore, the printing process is greatly simplified by the Parallels Universal Printer, which is automatically installed when you install the terminal server/RDS server.

Remote Desktop Printer Redirection Overview

Remote Desktop Printer RedirectionVirtualization is a key factor in efficiently deploying and managing an enterprise network today. Server-based computing via virtual desktops and applications that can be accessed from different devices extends traditional offices, allowing employees to work anywhere. While it is easy to offer access to virtual applications, it is much more complex for the IT administrator to guarantee the same level of performance for printing on a local printer. In fact, it is not possible to print to a local printer connected to the device without a specific configuration in the virtual environment.

In order to allow a device – Android, iOS or a normal Windows workstation – to print, administrators have to implement remote desktop printer redirection. Printing commands from a virtual application reach the terminal server/RDS, and are redirected from there to the printer connected to the local client. There are different ways to do this, the most popular being:

  • Automatic printing redirection. Printer redirection is automatic when the local printer uses a driver that is installed on the server. When you log on to a session on a terminal server/RDS, the local printer is detected and a local queue is created on the server. Cons: Keeping the server updated with all the different printer drivers available on the clients is very complicated and time-consuming.
  • Manual printing redirection. Printers attached to the workstation can be manually redirected. Cons:The process is quite complex and the IT Administrator has to adjust the configuration individually for each client.
  • Easy Print. With Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft introduced the Easy Print feature, an innovative way to automate the process. The printers available to the client are mapped into the terminal server/RDS session. Cons: Easy Printing does not work on thin clients, mobile devices, Mac and Linux.

These popular routes to printer redirection are very complex and in most cases do not cover new devices, such as tablets and smartphones. This is inconvenient, considering that in 2014 the number of tablets in use has surpassed the number of workstations. In order to keep up with the times, businesses have to be able to print from mobile devices too.

Remote Desktop Printer Redirection Conclusion

Nowadays businesses have an incredible opportunity to boost their productivity using the advantages of virtual applications and desktops. The use of mobile devices has extended the traditional office, allowing employees to work remotely from anywhere. We can actually speak of a mobile workforce since many businesses have already implemented this flexibility for their employees. In order to allow any device to be a fully operational workstation, the ability to print from mobile devices is essential. With RAS, it is possible to print from anywhere. Try it out by downloading the free trial here.


Remote Desktop Printer Redirection:

Remote Desktop Printer Redirection:


Giorgio Bonuccelli is a Marketing and Communications Director at Parallels. Giorgio has extensive experience in cloud computing and virtualization, with a background of many years in multinational corporations (Dell, EMC and McAfee). In his career he has filled different roles, from sales to training and marketing. This wide-ranging experience and flexibility helps him simplify concepts and write content that is easy to read and understandable even by newcomers to the subject. As a blogger and technical writer he has published more than 1000 papers.