Introducing Terminal Services Easy Print: Part 3

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[Part III in a series. Jump to Part I, Part II, Part III]

In Part 1, we introduced the main benefits of Terminal Services (TS) Easy Print: a “driver-less” solution for printer redirection over a TS session. In part 2, we introduced a new group policy for default printers and the support for per-session printers. Part 3 describes a few changes made based on feedback received in the Windows Server 2008 Beta 3 release.

Change #1: Renaming of redirected session printers:

In Windows Server 2008 Beta 3, the redirected printers had the naming format as shown in the screenshot below:


We got feedback that just having the session ID in parentheses after the redirected printer’s name did not clearly convey that the printer is redirected. So, for Windows Server 2008, redirected printers will appear with the term “redirected” suffixed to the print queue name as shown in the screenshot below.


By adding the keyword “redirected”, users can now distinguish their redirected printers more easily.

Change #2: Ability to view and manage session printers:

Another piece of feedback received is that administrators may want to monitor printer usage by all Terminal Server users. This functionality has now been incorporated.

Members of the “Print Operators” group can monitor users’ printer usage through the “Print Management Console”. To view all session printers in Print Management Console, the administrator must take following steps:

  • Add themselves to the “Print Operators” group,
  • Install the “Print Servers” role on the server using these steps:
  • Go to Start -> Administrative Tools -> Server Manager
  • Select “Add Roles”
  • Select “Print Services” and complete the wizard
  • Launch “Print Management Console” as follows:
  • Go to Start -> Administrative Tools -> Print Management

Redirected printers from all sessions are displayed in the “Print Management Console” as shown below:


By default, members of the “Print Operators” group can only view all redirected printers. To manage any redirected printer, members of this group need to take ownership of that particular printer. “Print Operators” can take ownership of any redirected printer as follows:

  • Open “Print Management Console” and right click on the session printer to be managed
  • Select Properties
  • Select Security tab
  • Select Advanced option
  • Select “Owner” tab
  • Select “Print Operators” and click either “Apply” of “Ok”
  • Close the properties dialog
  • Re-open the printer’s properties
  • Select Security tab
  • Give the Print Operator “Manage Printer” permission on the session printer

This screenshot shows how to take ownership of a redirected printer:


This screenshot shows how to give “Manage Printer” permission to the “Print Operators” group:


Print Operators should use the “Manage Printers” permission only to perform the following tasks:

  • Delete any redirected printer,
  • Open the print queue of any redirected printer,
  • Manage jobs of any redirected printer.

All other actions on the session printers such as rename, set printing defaults, printer properties, printing preferences etc. are not supported.

There is one noticeable drawback to being able to manage all redirected printers. If “User Access Control” is disabled or if applications are opened with elevated privileges, redirected printers from all active TS sessions will be displayed when trying to print from the application.

Supported platforms:

TS Easy Print can also be used with Vista SP1 Beta as the client connecting to Windows Server 2008. Other requirements for using Easy Print remain the same as mentioned in the “What is needed to use TS Easy Print” in Part 1.

At WinHEC 2007, there was a detailed drill-down session on TS Easy Print where the feature’s design was discussed in great detail. The WinHEC slide deck is available at:

For more details on “Print Operators” group:

For more details on “Print Management Console”:

For more details on “User Access Control”:

Please leave comments or questions below. If necessary, we will put out a part 4 blog entry in the Easy Print series.

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  • The thing I don't understand, is that you guys act like you have made all this from scratch!!  Citrix has had this capability in their solutions for years.  Yes, from a technical standpoint maybe yours acts a little differently, but from an end user standpoint the end result is the same.

    The TS team has zero innovation.  Come up with something new!!!

  • I make a living deploying Citrix, but technically Citrix has had this capability only since Presentation Server 4.0 was released in May of 2005.  The TS team is adding features we have asked for, so what's your complaint?

    If you want to be fair, Citrix added their EMF Based Universal Printer Driver six years after companies like UniPrint and Emergent Online (now Provision Networks) debuted this feature with their PDF Based Universal Printer Drivers for Citrix.  So you see, Citrix did exactly what Microsoft did, added a feature that their customers demanded.

  • is there any way that the names of the printers (windows 2003 TS) as not sown as printerxxx (session1)?

    I have an ERP program that has to be access via terminal server but the users cannot print due to the fact that the printer names keep changing...

  • This can be done two ways:

    1.  Share the printer and map the printer in the session via logon script so it is connected as a network printer (if the printer is on the same network as the TS)

    2. Use a Universal Printer Driver that has this option, i.e. Provision Networks Print-IT offers the option to append the printer name with ":username", or to print to network printers using a Universal Driver, each of which would have static names, and UniPrint Server uses one printer queue on the Terminal Server called UniPrint, which forwards the print job to the UniPrint Client.

    Patrick Rouse

    Citrix Technology Professional

    Microsoft MVP - Terminal Server

    Provision Networks VIP

    President - Session Computing Solutions, LLC

    (949) 433-9422

  • When trying to RDP map a Brother HL-2140 the server responds "Unable to find driver. Please contact your administrator."

    If I understand correctly the server should use the "Easy print" driver when the driver does not exist.

    Can anyone help?

    I'm using Windows 2008 RC1 as a server and another Windows 2008 RC1 as a client.

  • Have you configured Group Policy to use Easy Print?

    Patrick Rouse

    Microsoft MVP - Terminal Server

    SE, West Coast USA & Canada

    Quest Software, Provision Networks Division

    Virtual Client Solutions

  • If I understood Microsoft correctly the server should use "Easy print" without need of any ekstra configuring.

    But when I could not get it to work I tryed using both enabled and disabled without ant luck.

  • This works great if you have XP SP3 or Vista SP1 with the RDP 6.1 client.  What about W2K3 SP2 machines or thin clients?  A thin client usually comes with XP embedded and you cannot have the entire .Net Framework 3.0 SP1 loaded on them or the XP SP3.  Will there be a “lite” version of RDP 6.1 that can be installed on thin clients?

  • Responding to the query that Easy Print was not available by default on Win 2008 RC1 client:

    Easy Print requires .Net 3.0 SP1 framework on the client machine. Win 2008 RC1 does not have .Net 3.0 SP1 by default. Please install this on the client machine and check if printers are redirected with Easy Print.

  • Very annoying that redirected printers has the information (redirected x) in the name field of the printer. Is the only way to work around this behaviour really third party products? It is really the only thing standing between a total success case with Terminal Server in Windows Server 2008 instead of a couple of angry users in our local office that can't print from our major corporate application.

  • Hi,

    Currently my users log on to Terminal Services they see the printers as i want. However, the printers have a session number after them. This obviously changes depending on the time of day / when they log on etc.

    Is there any way i can remove this feature as it is quite annoying and is causing problems for 3rd party applications.



  • As you can see above I have the same problem. Yesterday my colleague found a third party program named RenPrinters that might work. We haven't tried it yet and it feels like a bit of a "dirty" solution but what the hell...

  • I have a workstation with windows xp servicepack 3 and .net 3.5.  In the remote session all my redirected printers show up but when I try to print out of them, no page comes out of the printer with no error as well.

  • Is there any way to keep changes for a redirected printer even after client logs out so that when he logs in again these settings are maintained? In server 2003 this did work.

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Introducing Terminal Services Easy Print: Part 3