Why is Remote Desktop Printing so Painful?

Published on:
February 24, 2023

Why is Remote Desktop Printing so Painful?


It’s a familiar complaint from end users trying to print from a remote desktop. To an end user, it seems to be a simple task that most took for granted when working in the office. Now that more people are working remotely and using remote apps or desktops to do their work, printing—rather, the inability to print—has become a bone of contention between end users and IT.

What users don’t realize is that printing is much harder than it looks. Successful remote desktop printing is the result of the alignment of multiple requirements and dependencies. Here’s a list of the elements that need to go right.

Application Virtualization

Any application with a driver, including print drivers, is notoriously difficult to virtualize. One workaround is to virtualize the app and the user mode components separately and deliver the app print driver as a native install. If IT is virtualizing multiple apps that enable printing, each app will have its own print driver that IT will need to manage separately from the application.

Network Connectivity

If there are problems with the network connectivity between the printer and the server or the virtual desktop and the local printer and the virtual desktop or application, remote desktop printing won’t happen. The problem doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad internet connection—network connectivity issues can also be caused by firewalls, proxy servers, or other network security devices that prevent the virtual desktop from accessing the local printer.

Driver Compatibility

When users are working in the office, IT can ensure that the printers used onsite are supported by the virtualization vendor and that IT has installed the correct print drivers on the server and/or virtual desktop. When a user not in the office attempts remote desktop printing, IT has no control or knowledge of the user’s printer and can’t ensure that the correct driver(s) are installed, or even if the printer is supported.

Printer Issues

For end users working remotely, especially using a home printer unknown to IT, the printer itself presents multiple barriers to successfully printing. As mentioned in the section above, the printer may not be supported by the virtualization software, or the printer may need to be configured specifically for use with the virtualization software. If the printer is shared on a local network, there may be issues with accessing the printer from the virtual desktop. If the user does not have the necessary permissions to access the printer, printing will not work. If printer redirection is not properly configured, a print job may not be sent from the client device to the printer. Finally, if the virtualization or publishing solution uses RDP as its display protocol, and the printer is not compatible with the version being used, printing probably won’t work.

Printing Doesn’t Have to be so Painful.

GO-Global supports client-side printing on all client platforms. With GO-Global, end users run Windows® applications published on the GO-Global Host, eliminating the print configuration and support issues inherent in application and desktop virtualization solutions.

By default, GO-Global automatically detects the client's default printer information once the user has logged in to the GO-Global Host.This includes the default printer's port and printer driver. If the printer driver is not installed on the GO-Global Host, GO-Global will attempt to locate the driver and automatically install it.

GO-Global can obtain printer drivers from the following sources:

Universal Printer Driver: GO-Global includes a Universal Printer Driver that can print to any client printer. Enable this option to allow the use of the Universal Printer Driver for configuring client printers.

Windows Printer Drivers: Enable the Windows Printer Drivers option to allow printers to be configured using already installed native drivers.

Set access to print driver sources through the GO-Global Host Options dialog.

When running applications on GO-Global Hosts, users can print to network printers and to printers that are directly connected to their computers via serial, parallel and USB ports. IT Admins can easily set access to printer drivers and network or direct printers using the GO-Global Admin Console.

To learn more, request a demo or download a free 30-day trial.