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Printing to your local printer from a remote session

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Printing to your local printer from a remote session

Printer redirection routes printing jobs from the terminal server or Remote Desktop computer to a printer attached to your local computer (also called the "client computer"). There are two ways to provide access to local printers: automatic and manual printer redirection. Use manual redirection when your local printer requires a driver that is not available on the version of Windows that is running on the remote computer.

Automatic printer 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, or to a computer running Windows Professional or Server and Remote Desktop, any printers that are installed on the client (local) computer, as well as network printers, are automatically detected and a local queue is created on the server. The client computer printer settings for the default printer and some properties (such as printing on both sides of the page) are used by the server.

When you disconnect or end the session, the printer queue is deleted, and any incomplete or pending print jobs are lost. Information about the client's local printers and settings are saved on the client computer. On subsequent logons, the printer queue is created using the information stored on the client computer.

If a printer driver is not found on the server, an event is logged and the client printer is not created. To make the printer available, the driver must be manually installed on the server.

Manual printer redirection

Printers attached to LPT and COM ports on the client (local) computer can be manually redirected, although manual redirection of printers connected through USB ports is not supported.

To manually redirect a client printer, contact your administrator and provide the name of your computer (or IP address for a Windows-based Terminal). The client must be connected to the remote computer during manual redirection.

After the initial manual redirection, printers are automatically redirected during subsequent logons.


  • Redirected printers are available for use with applications running on the server. Redirected printers appear in the Printers and Faxes folder in Control Panel. For more information on redirecting a local printer, see Make your local printer available in a session.

  • When you disconnect or log off from a session, the printer queue is deleted, and incomplete or pending print jobs are lost.

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