{ 52 Intelligent Comments }

Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) Printer Not Working

Printer error icon.  RDC printer won't install.

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. Event Viewer Entry
  • 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:

  1. the Printers check box is not selected in the Local Resources tab of remote desktop and/or
  2. 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

  1. On the local PC, open Remote Desktop Connection (RDC)
  2. Enter the address you want to connect to
  3. Click Options
  4. Click the Local Resources tab
  5. Place a check mark in Printers in the Local devices and resources section.
  6. RDC Local Resources Options

  7. Click Connect, enter your username and password details if required and allow it to bring up the desktop
  8. On the remote PC, check to see if the printer is visible as an icon in the Control Panel > Printers screen
  9. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Click Start > Printer & Faxes
  4. Click Add Printer
  5. Click Next > select Local Printer
  6. Uncheck Automatically detect and install my plug and play printer > Click Next
  7. Select a Printer Port:  select Use the following port:  FILE: (print to file) > Click Next
  8. file_print_to_file

  9. Click Have Disk
  10. Browse to the location of the printer driver for the printer you are trying to use, select the INF file and click OK
  11. A helpful tip. 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.

  12. Select the printer from the list and click Next
  13. Give the printer a name select that it should not be the default printer > Click Next
  14. Select Do Not Share This Printer > Click Next
  15. Do not print a test page (it’s only a dummy printer!) > Click Next
  16. Click FinishWindows will now copy all the required drivers and complete the install.
  17. Disconnect from your RDC session by clicking Start > Disconnect
  18. Reconnect to the remote PC through RDC
  19. 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.
  20. 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.


Wow, 52 Comments! We've got a conversation going now. Join the discussion below!

  1. Jon says:

    The directions worked and were very easy to follow.

  2. Simon says:

    WOW. This works! Had to read through a bunch of sites before I found a working solution.

  3. Ethan Wilson says:

    Seriously, this was the best article I have ever read, this got everything working perfect!

  4. Numan says:

    Great Proposed Solution!

    Thanks a lot

  5. Numan says:

    Thanks again

  6. Jason says:

    Wow… Needed this solution. It was perfectly laid out… I got my client up and running in less then 30 minutes doing everything remotely. Microsoft had a tech article about this, but didnt explain when ONE printer was missing… Fixed them all up thanks to this post which I will bookmark for later.


  7. huevalisa says:

    just amazing.

    after hours i came to this great article.

    thanks so much

  8. Andres says:

    Thank You!!!
    This was the answer I was looking for.

    Well explained and straight to the point.

  9. Steve says:

    Thank you, very good article and solution.

  10. Rahul says:

    Thank you for simple explanation .

  11. vielen herzlichen Dank für die Lösung des Problemes.
    Hat sofort alles bestens funktioniert.


  12. Richard says:

    Thank you for ending a frustrating morning with a well-explained solution!

  13. orthohin says:

    we also had the same problem with using our local printer to print
    to remote desktop sessions. We got Tsprint software which is very nice. It’s a universal printing driver. Zero configuration needed in your Server and workstation.

  14. Bostjan says:

    this works great, google should put it on first site, it would save me hour of surfing betwen useless solutions, thanks a lot..

  15. I’m no longer certain the place you are getting your information, but great topic. I needs to spend some time studying much more or figuring out more. Thank you for great information I was on the lookout for this info for my mission.

  16. tiffany co says:

    It’s really a cool and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you just shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  17. TJS-SFO says:

    This solution did not work for me — nothing has worked for me — I am running MAC OX2 with RDC 2.1.1 trying to connect to remote server 1,000 miles away (Server 2008 R2) and none of my printers are re-directing – I’ve tried all the steps above, spent a week researching, no luck — installed drivers on the Server 2008, that didn’t work either. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Rosco says:

      Hi TJS-SFO…I presume when you say ‘MAC OX2’ that you mean ‘MAC OSX’ ?

      Can you give me an example of a printer that is not redirecting?

      I’ve just tries this very configuration on Mac OSX connecting to a Windows 2008 server with a Samsung ML-1670 laser printer even without installing the drivers on the Win 2008 server.


  18. Tjs-sfo says:

    Hi rosco : thanks for your response

    With my xp machines that we log in with you need to hve most recent version of rdc and net frame loaded for printer redirection to work on server 2008. Problem with Mac is there’s no net frame

    The printers initially were getting redirected with the Mac running most recent 2.1.1 rdc and then all of a suddenly it stopped and no matter what we do we can’t get them back

    I tried installing drivers on server and using file : as the port and that didn’t help (per instructions on other boards)

    Another strange thing server 2008 does is add the session name to the name of the printer and that increments each time you log in

    For instance I was able to initially see the hp2600n that’s connected to our microsoft office network in San Fran when I logged into the server 2008 in Los Angeles via rdc on the Mac and each time I logged I’m the name of the printer had a number next to printer name that increased by one each time with some wording in front of it like remote session X or something like that.

    If you have a Mac and tried logging into my server remotely chances are your printer would be redirected initially (assuming you’re using latest rdc 2.1.1 for Mac) but after a few log ins it will stop and won’t show up anymore.

    Anyway I have clue why the Mac osX and most recent version of RDC can’t redirect the printers with server 2008 … Any help would be appreciated

  19. vngauss says:

    Thank you very much.
    Your article helps me to resolve my problem.

  20. MattTech says:

    Awesome worked like a charm!

  21. Colin says:

    Anyone know a solution for RDP session on windows 7 pro not showing local printers, however same session on a windows XP Pro machine will show the local printers? All settings are the exact same..

    1. Diane says:

      Did you ever find a solution?

      1. Julien says:


        I don’t know if this can help but it can give some clue :
        Usually XP is a 32bits and 7 is a 64bits.
        You need to use Both drivers.

        That helped me sometimes. Anyone who knows better than me TSE will probably help to continue the solution.

  22. Stuy says:

    Another satisfied customer – I had the correct driver configuration – all I needed to do was to disconnect and reconnect. Thanks.

  23. Jason says:

    THANK YOU! This worked perfectly!

  24. stephane says:

    ok good for me too, the onnly solution is to install driver 🙂

  25. Shelby says:

    Still does not work. I have an HP laserjet 4100 hooked up to a print server. I have this printer installed on my laptop and have it setup with the LPT1 and actual printer port setup using the “enable printer pooling”. When I remote into my work, the HP laserjet 4100 shows up from the remote desktop session, however it does not show up from my laptop. Thoughts?

  26. Himanshu says:

    I have another problem. when i am printing from xp machine printer list dialog box takes 15 mins to show but when i connect from a win7 machine it printer list dialog box opens immidietly. can you suggest solution . thanks

  27. Alex says:

    Thank you.. this saved me…. very nice solution

  28. Zling says:

    Hi I have a problem with printing from the remote desktop, I can only print PDF files. When trying to print emails I get an error message that reads “printer not ready” and when trying to print excel documents get the following error message:
    “Your file could not be printed due to an error on Kyocera Taskalfa 250ci (2) redirected(7) on. There are several possible reasons:
    There may not be enough memory available. Try closing files and programs you aren’t using.
    If you use a network for printing, there may be a problem with the network connection or the printer driver.
    there may be loose cables or a bad connection between your computer and the printer”
    Would anyone know the solution to this? All options are ticked in the local resource tab on the remote desk top connection.

  29. CR says:

    No go. I installed the dummy printer on the server: HP LaserJet 2200 PCL5 (running 2008 R2), but it still does not redirect from the Windows 7 (32-bit) client after I log off then back on. In fact, during the initial install it did not even install/download any drivers – it just instantly added it like it already knew what it was, yet when my client logs in her locally attached HP 2200 does not show up at all.

  30. CR says:

    Found my problem – In a domain you have to go into Active Directory and enable the checkbox on the user profile to redirect printers and drives (similar to the checkbox on the client side in RDP settings). Once that was done they redirected perfectly!

    1. CR says:

      Came back later, and found some users were still having problems (but only those using really old printers). Once I disabled the ‘Use easy print driver first’ in Group policy on the terminal server, everyone was happy.

    2. Mike says:

      I had several users that I could not get the printers to redirect and this was my problem. Thanks.

  31. kuda says:

    Thanks a lot man, the article just made my day

  32. Peter says:

    Surely you’re not suggesting I install every local printer my users have on my Terminal Server?

  33. C R says:

    Peter – The only option is to disable local printer redirection via local server GPO and tell them they can only use the networked printers.

  34. Philippe says:

    It is strange. It does not work for me !!???!!!
    I can see my new installed printer but I don’t see the second, even after disconect/reconnect.

    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.

    Any idea please?

    1. I had the same issue but was able to solve it by changing the port on the “dummy” printer from File: to one of the open ports on my RDC connection. I did this by right clicking on the “dummy” printer, opening Printer Properties, and in the Ports tab selecting the new port.

  35. Ste Co says:

    Tks a lot. Works for me. After login you can delete ONLY dummy printer.

  36. Maup says:

    Works perfect,even under Windows 7. Thanks!

  37. dfx says:

    Thank you, this helped me a lot.

  38. Jemin says:

    Is it possible to same method in server 20008 r2 version?

  39. bmx says:


  40. Coscho says:

    Make sure you have .net Framework 3.5 installed

  41. Gill says:

    Thanks Worked

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  43. Michael says:

    Thanks! This worked perfectly. Avoided going around in circles or amending settings I had no interest in changing. Quick and easy.

  44. Robert says:

    Excellent solution here. Wish I had found it before I spent 3 hours on other fails!

  45. […] Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) Printer Not Working […]

  46. […] Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) Printer Not Working […]

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