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Using USB Printers on Windows XP workstations

Added 11/1/02 - Article ID#: K000114


Many printers today have a USB interface (Universal Serial Bus) as well as a traditional LPT interface. RDP suggest using the LPT interface whenever possible. However, some printers only come with a USB interface. Also, some workstations today only have a USB port. USB printers can be used with RDP if the following conditions are met:

  • USB printers must be connected to a Windows XP Professional workstation only - RDP no longer support Windows 95, 98, ME, or 2000.  Please see the current hardware requirements.

  • USB printers will not work with Novell Client software Installed

  • USB printer must be set up as a windows shared printer 


The steps to installing a USB Printer are as follows:

  1. Connect the USB printer to a Windows XP workstation

  2. Install the Windows driver software with the CD provided with the printer.

  3. Test the printer from Windows and make sure it prints.

  4. In Windows, share the printer (see the section above "Testing Shared printers from the command prompt" for details) 

  5. On menu 98, use option 096 to configure the printer as a Windows Shared printer (RDP Printer # 5-99). Do NOT configure the printer in RDP as a "local" printer. 

  6. Test printing with RDP, using F2-Print Screen. Make sure to choose the correct RDP Printer #, which has to be #5 to 99. You cannot use 1-4 with shared printers.

  7. All workstations, including the workstation where the USB printer is physically connected should be able to print to the USB printer using RDP printer #5-99.

Troubleshooting - Windows XP Slow Printing

With Windows XP, Microsoft made a change that delays all DOS print jobs by 15 seconds. To accelerate printing, every computer using any version of Windows XP will need the changes described in the link below. This includes the Windows 2003 data server.  If using Citrix or terminal services, the changes must also be implemented on the Windows 2003 server running Citrix/Terminal Services, as well as each workstation that uses the Windows XP operating system.

Links to documents related to printing with RDP

Windows XP Users Must Be a Member of Local Administrator Group

Microsoft added significant local security to Windows XP.  A user with minimal rights does not have access to write files to the "C" drive or to re-direct printing to shared network printers, both of which are required for RDP software to function properly. 

To solve this problem, each user of a Windows 2000 or XP workstation must be a member of the administrator group on the workstation, which gives the user complete access and all rights for the local workstation.  

Note: network security is not compromised, since the user must only be a member of the local administrator group on Windows XP workstations.  All RDP users should not be a member of the domain administrator group.  To add a user to the local administrator group, see the link below:

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