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TS Easy Print technology was first introduced in Windows Server 2008 as an alternative to the use of traditional printing subsystem on Remote Desktop servers. Easy Print avoids the installation of drivers for the redirected printers on a terminal server and allows mapping of client redirected printer to the Easy Print driver. This significantly increases the stability and performance of work of the Print Spooler service and RD server as a whole.
Easy Print functionality is based on the specifications defined in the standard XPS (XML Paper Specification) for printer’s drivers. The main advantages of XPS format: open document format, portable and independent from the hardware platform, low requirements for channel bandwidth (through the use of more lightweight XML standard). XPS print job through an RDP session are transferred to the client PC and processed by a local print driver.
Easy Print — Client Side Settings
To use the Easy Print on the client side, it must meet the following requirements:
- Operating System — Windows XP SP3 or higher
- RDP client 1 (mstsc.exe — 6.0.6001) or newer
- .NET Framework 3.0 SP1 or .NET 3.5
- In the properties of RDP connection properties on Local Resources tab – Printers redirections should be enabled
If instead of the client mstsc.exe, you run preconfigured RDP shortcut (.rdp), make sure that it contains the following string: redirectprinters:i:1
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How to Enable Easy Print on the Remote Desktop Server Side
Easy Printer Driver is installed on the server when you deploy Remote Desktop Services role, and in the printer list appears a new printer named Microsoft XPS Document Writer. This print driver supports a variety of printer models.
You can enable the Easy Print on the side of RDS server running Windows Server 2012 R2 only via Group Policy.
- Open the local (gpedit.msc) or domain (GPMC.msc) Group Policy console
- Navigate to Computer Configuration –> Administrative Templates –> Windows Components -> Remote Desktop Services –> Remote Desktop Session Host -> Printer Redirection (similar settings are available in the user GPO section)
- Edit and enable the policy Use Remote Desktop Easy Print driver first
Tip. If the client doesn’t support Easy Print driver, RDS server looks for a matching printer driver on RD server.
Now, it’s time to test the policy.
- Update the policy on the RD server by running command gpupdate /force
- Finish your remote desktop connection and login again as an RDP user
- Go to Control Panel -> Devices and printers
- Find your redirected printer and open it properties
- Make sure that Remote Desktop Easy Print driver is used in the Advanced tab
- Send the test print job and make sure that it is properly printed on a local printer
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By default, the number of redirected printers is limited to 20. This behavior can be corrected by adding to the registry key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Terminal Services
parameter MaxPrintersPerSession and set it value to the desired maximum number of redirected printers.
For better performance, you can redirect only one default printer from clients PC. In this case, enable the policy named Redirect only the default client printer.
Thus, by using the Easy Print greatly simplified configuration of Remote Desktop servers. Another thing is that the Administrator will no longer need to install the same printer drivers on the server and the local computer.