Introducing Microsoft RemoteFX USB Redirection: Part 3

Introducing Microsoft RemoteFX USB Redirection: Part 3

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In Part 1 of our series on RemoteFX USB redirection, we looked at an overview of the feature and what it can do, and how to set up a basic deployment of the feature. In Part 2, we discussed publishing, deploying for rich and thin clients, RD Web Access, and server device security. Now, let’s take a look at your most frequently asked questions about RemoteFX USB redirection.

What are the requirements for RemoteFX USB redirection?

  • RemoteFX USB redirection is only available when connecting to a RemoteFX-enabled Windows 7 SP1 virtual machine (VM) running on a RemoteFX-enabled Remote Desktop Virtualization Host server. For information about the requirements for RemoteFX, see Beta testing RemoteFX in Service Pack 1.
  • RemoteFX USB redirection is not available for connections to a Remote Desktop Session Host server.
  • RemoteFX USB redirection is available for connections to VMs through RD Web Access and for RemoteApp programs running on RemoteFX-enabled Windows 7 SP1 VMs.
  • The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) 7.1 client must be installed, and the Group Policy setting enabled. See Part 1 of the blog. You must restart your client computer for RemoteFX USB redirection to be functional.
  • The USB devices that you would like to use in the remote session must be plugged in before starting Remote Desktop Connection; devices plugged in during the session will not be redirected.
  • RemoteFX USB redirection, like the rest of RemoteFX, has been designed for LAN connections (< 20 ms latency); on the WAN, some USB devices may not function properly, or the user experience may not suitable.
  • Due to USB limitations, a device redirected by using RemoteFX USB redirection can only be used in one RDP session at a time, and cannot be used locally while it is redirected to the VM.
  • If you add a new device to the client computer that you want to redirect, you must log off from your virtual desktop and then log back on.
  • Drivers for redirected USB devices will be installed on the VM by using the same process that a physical Windows computer uses when a device is plugged in. Please ensure that Windows Update is enabled on the VM or that drivers are available for the device in question.

What devices are supported by RDP with RemoteFX USB redirection?

Device

Support status

Redirection method

All-in-One Printer

Supported

RemoteFX USB redirection

Printer

Supported

Easy Print

Scanner

Supported

RemoteFX USB redirection

Biometric

Supported while in a session

Not supported during logon

RemoteFX USB redirection

PTP Camera

Supported

Plug and Play device redirection

MTP Media Player

Supported

Plug and Play device redirection

Webcam

Supported (LAN only)

RemoteFX USB redirection

VoIP Telephone/Headset

Supported (LAN only)

RemoteFX USB redirection

Audio (not a USB composite device)

Supported

Audio redirection

CD or DVD drive

Supported for read operations

Drive redirection

Hard Drive or USB Flash Drive

Supported

Drive redirection

Smart Card Reader

Supported

Smart card redirection

USB-to-Serial

Supported

RemoteFX USB redirection

USB Network adapter (also includes some personal digital assistants)

Blocked

N/A

USB Display

Blocked

N/A

USB Keyboard or Mouse

Supported

Input redirection

The highlighted devices are supported by RemoteFX USB redirection. Other devices in this table are supported by high-level device redirection mechanisms.
Devices not listed in the table will be processed by using RemoteFX USB redirection; they may work, but are not considered officially supported.

How do audio devices work with RemoteFX USB redirection?

When redirecting a USB VoIP phone or other USB audio device to the remote session, you have a choice between high-level audio redirection and USB audio redirection:

  • High-level audio redirection allows you to use your default Windows audio playback and recording devices in the remote session. The devices can be used in both the local and remote session at the same time. This mode works on both LAN and WAN. However, extended VoIP phone functionality/call controls will not work in this mode.
  • USB audio redirection is the preferred mode for those who want to use USB phones in their remote session. USB audio redirection allows the use of all features of your USB VoIP devices in the remote session, including call controls. However the USB audio device can only be used by the remote session while it is redirected. This mode is LAN-only.

While high-level audio redirection is in use, USB audio redirection cannot be used, and vice-versa.

To adjust the audio settings for a remote session, in Remote Desktop Connection, go to the Local Resources tab, and in the Remote audio section, click Settings.

To use USB audio redirection: Set audio playback to Play on remote computer. On the Local Resources tab, in the Local devices and resources section, select the box to redirect the audio device over USB.

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To use high-level audio redirection: Set audio playback to Play on this computer and audio recording to Record from this computer. On the Local Resources tab, in the Local devices and resources section, do not select the box to redirect the audio device over USB.

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How can I verify that RemoteFX USB redirection was installed properly on the client?

In Device Manager, expand Universal Serial Bus controllers, and find any of the USB root hub, USB hub, or USB controller devices. Right-click the device, then click Properties. On the Driver tab, click Driver Details. If RemoteFX USB redirection is properly installed and enabled, tsusbflt.sys will appear in the list of driver files provided.

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Notes on specific devices

Webcams/VoIP devices
  • Older LifeCam devices (VX6000) may not function in the remote session. Please use a newer LifeCam device.
  • Older LifeCam drivers may not start when the webcam is redirected. Please ensure you are using the latest LifeCam drivers.
  • In order for the LifeCam software to recognize the webcam, the webcam microphone must be redirected (follow the steps for USB audio redirection listed above). The webcam can be used in other applications even if the microphone is not redirected.
  • A USB webcam microphone cannot be used at the same time as the local non-USB speakers. Resolution: Install either an extra microphone or USB headset/speakers.
  • Some internal notebook webcams will not work with RemoteFX USB redirection.
  • Webcams and VoIP devices are not supported on WAN. Attempts to use these devices on high-latency networks may cause the VM to crash.
  • For best videoconference performance, please ensure the connection type in the Remote Desktop Connection client is set to LAN.
  • Office Communicator may need to be restarted to recognize newly added USB VoIP/webcam devices.
  • For best performance with Office Communicator* VoIP phones, please use Office Communicator 14 (“Lync”) in the VM, and ensure that the following registry key is set:
    Path: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Communicator\EnableTJOCPairingRemoted
    Type: REG_DWORD
    Value: 1


* The usage of Office Communicator in a remote session is not officially supported at this time.

Mass storage devices (hard drives, CD/DVD drives, memory card readers, USB flash drives)
  • Mass storage devices are redirected via drive redirection, which provides file system level access to the device. These devices are not redirected via RemoteFX USB redirection. Exception: When an all-in-one printer is redirected, the memory card reader in the device will be redirected via RemoteFX USB redirection.
  • Drive redirection does not provide low-level access to the redirected drive. As such, the following are not supported in the remote session:
  • CD Burning (However, drive-letter access (DLA) using an appropriate DLA application installed on the client will function in the remote session.)
  • Audio extraction/CD “ripping”
  • Playback of encrypted DVDs
  • Copy-protected games
  • Managing BitLocker-encrypted USB storage
Portable devices
  • Some older Windows Mobile PDAs cannot be used with Windows Mobile Device Center in the remote session if the device appears as a network adapter. Workaround: On the Windows Mobile device, go to Settings > Connections > USB to PC (or equivalent) and clear the Enable faster data synchronization check box.
  • In order to use an Apple iPhone/iPod Touch in the remote session from a rich client, iTunes needs to be installed on the client, and the device must be redirected by using RemoteFX USB redirection. If the device does not appear in the list of “Other supported RemoteFX USB devices” but does appear in the list of “Other supported Plug and Play devices,” please uninstall the device in Device Manager and reinstall the device (Scan for Hardware Changes).

For more information

To learn more about RemoteFX USB redirection, see the “Configuring USB Device Redirection with Microsoft RemoteFX Step-by-Step Guide” on the Microsoft Technical Library: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff817581(WS.10).aspx .

I hope you’ve enjoyed our series of blogs on RemoteFX USB redirection. If you have any questions or comments, please post them to the blog. We look forward to hearing from you!

Leave a Comment
  • Please add 7 and 7 and type the answer here:
  • Post
  • Do you have any information regarding support for hardware dongle license such as Hasp HL?  www.safenet-inc.com/sentinelhasp.  Many CAD style applications use this sort of licensing.  As an ISV, our customers are looking to move the 3D CAD applications to VMs and which to use their dongle licensing on the VM.

    So far we have been able to have the remote desktop client defect the HASP HL, but have yet to see it work on the VM.

  • Quote:  "RemoteFX USB redirection is available for connections to VMs through RD Web Access and for RemoteApp programs running on RemoteFX-enabled Windows 7 SP1 VMs."

    According to this, If I have a Windows 7 SP1 client and then make a (not RDWEB) RDP 7.1 connection to a Windows 7 SP1 VM on my Hyper-V box, it is not supported?  I seems so, because I can't get it to work.

    Why would I make a connection to a VM then try to run a remote APP from that VM and only then hope that I could use the scanner that is connected to my physical client?  I haven't tested this because I don't see this as a real world scenario.

    This USB RemoteFX redirection seems like it would be a highly desired feature yet it has the MOST baffling of all of the things that I've tried to get working in Microsoft's VDI offering.

    Maybe I'm just too far out on the edge.

  • The article states:

    +++++++++++++++++

    To use USB audio redirection: Set audio playback to Play on remote computer. On the Local Resources tab, in the Local devices and resources section, select the box to redirect the audio device over USB.

    In the situation I described, I am assuming the 'remote computer' is  20012TS1 - the Terminal Server hosting the session/desktop the user is working with not the physical Windows 7 computer the person used to run RDP to the Terminal Server i.e. Win7physical.

    +++++++++++++++++

    " On the Local Resources tab, in the Local devices and resources section, select the box to redirect the audio device over USB."

    What devices are referred to here by "Local Resources and Local Devices"  - devices on 2012TS1? Or devices on Win7physical?

    ++++++++++++++

    "High-level audio redirection allows you to use your default Windows audio playback and recording devices in the remote session. The devices can be used in both the local and remote session at the same time. This mode works on both LAN and WAN. However, extended VoIP phone functionality/call controls will not work in this mode.

    USB audio redirection is the preferred mode for those who want to use USB phones in their remote session. USB audio redirection allows the use of all features of your USB VoIP devices in the remote session, including call controls. However the USB audio device can only be used by the remote session while it is redirected. This mode is LAN-only."

    By WAN do they mean logging in via RDP from a computer across the Internet ?

    As far as WAN usage goes, do I not get any audio redirection at all via the USB Redirection or just not able to do VOIP type stuff over WAN? For instance with the USB redirection I was able to hear stuff on my headphones over the WAN.

    "The devices can be used in both the local and remote session at the same time."

    Does this mean if I had a USB phone directly attached to 2012TS1 as well as to Win7physical I could hear the audio on both - simultaneously?  And if I was logged in via the Internet I could hear audio on both simultaneously? In other words if someone was seated at the server with a USB phone while I was logged in either via RDP across the LAN or RDP across the Internet with my USB phone they could hear everything I could hear and vice versa? If that's the case what would happen if we both spoke at the same time?

    Your response to the above points is appreciated in advance.

  • I did all the steps,  though I can see my biometric scanner I can't use it. It keeps saying that the device is disconnected. What can I do?

  • Hi,

    Thanks for the article. I know it's an old post, but we still use RemoteFX for Windows Server 2012 (R2) today.

    RemoteFX is a amust for a VDI platform. The most we use is RemoteFX USB Redirection.

    The problem i found is Redirecting voice over RemoteFX (using USB headsets). We are encountering voice latency (delays when speaking). I wish someone can told us the best practices when implementing VDI/Voice (CPU, RAM, NICs, buffers, switches).

    (We encounter delays when using Cisco Communicator application)

    Thanks

  • I follow the instruction and I can see the drivers on both local ( WIN7 ) and remote ( Public Cloud ) but I can't let remote VM connect to my local headset still, I'm not sure where was wrong.

  • Hi,

    Thanks for the article.  I wanted to know if RemoteFX is not installed, can we redirect device to specific session for RDSH base OS.  

    If yes how is that achieved.  Is there a new driver that help to maintain session context and allow to redirect a device to specific session.

    Thanks,

    Jyoti

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