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Appendix 13 – Printing with Terminal Services

First ensure that your printer is installed correctly on your workstation, and that you can print a test page. Then install the same printer driver on the actual Terminal Server. If it’s not physically connected to the server do not accept the prompt to automatically detect it, but instead choose the manual option and say that the printer is on the server’s LPT1. All such printer drivers must be loaded on the server or it won’t know, for example, how to format a Word document for your particular model of Deskjet.

In the Dell 8200 workstation example, below, you can see local printer drivers set up for an Epson, three HP Deskjets and faxing…

In the Terminal Server example, below, you can see the server’s own two local drivers (i.e. Fax and HP Deskjet 970Cse), and also two “session” drivers that it has created for the Dell 8200 workstation (Fax and Deskjet 500). Although it won’t often do so, a workstation can connect to a Terminal Server more than once at the same time, hence each workstation’s “Remote Desktop” window is given a unique “session” number (e.g. Dell-8200/Session 1, Dell-8200/Session 2, etc). As the server has a local Fax printer definition it has been able to recognise the one on the Dell and created a version of it for the Dell’s current “Remote Desktop” session. When you’re setting-up a new printer sometimes you don’t need a CD because the drivers are already present in the Windows operating system. The driver for the HP Deskjet 500 is an example of this, and as you can see below, even though the server didn’t have an actual local printer definition for the Deskjet 500, it was able to create a session version, because it did have the drivers pre-installed as part of its own Windows operating system. In contrast the Terminal Server was not able to create session versions for the Epson or two other Deskjets on the Dell.

So while it’s connected to the “Remote Desktop” the Dell 8200 above could print to the HP Deskjet 500 attached to itself, or to the HP Deskjet 970Cse attached to the server. If working from home, via the Internet, this would allow you to choose whether to print the document in your home or in the office. The Dell 8200 could also fax through either its own modem (i.e. the session one) or that on the server. However it would not be able to print to its other two local HP printers or the Epson while running in its “Remote Desktop”.

No Printer Driver On Server

If you can’t load your actual printer’s driver on the server, then a useful tip is to install a simpler version of it locally (e.g. the “HP Deskjet 500” driver for any HP Deskjet printer, or the “HP Laserjet Series II” driver for any HP Laserjet). These simple drivers will already be present on the server and will automatically work.

USB & Multi-function Printers

If you have a multi-function (e.g. scan / fax / copy) printer with a USB connector, like the HP Officejet, then in most cases you’ll be unable to install it on the server. To resolve this you should install an HP Deskjet 500 printer on your local workstation, selecting the same USB port as used by the Officejet, as shown below. The server will then automatically be able to format your Word docs, etc, using its compatible Deskjet 500 session driver, which it will then redirect to the Officejet’s port. The downside is that the HP Deskjet 500 driver can’t print in colour, though you could always try other drivers instead.

Shared Printers

In the example below for a workstation called “Veronica-PC”, you can see the Deskjet 970Cse on the server (which has now been shared), Veronica’s HP Deskjet 500 session printer (which in reality is an HP Officejet), the Fax on the server, and finally a shared version of the server’s HP Deskjet 970Cse. Shared printing works perfectly well under terminal services, but in this example a document printed from her “Remote Desktop” to this shared printer would go first from the server to her workstation, then from her workstation back to the machine sharing the printer (i.e. the server in this instance), then finally out to the printer. So as far as is possible you are advised to avoid such convoluted routes with their potential for clogging-up the network. Remember that if sharing a printer on a Windows 2000 or XP workstation you will have to enter the user names of all the people who are going to share this printer via Control Panel / Set-up users.


Almost all Windows Terminal Servers will have the ability to fax, provided they have a suitable modem attached, which all “Remote Desktop” users can benefit from. Simply select “Fax” as the printer to use for any document you wish to fax.