Remote Desktop Printer Redirection

I had a Remote Desktop stumper recently. My company has people all over the United States accessing some of our servers and services over the Internet. They log in with their Windows accounts and get busy on a few work applications. People really like the printer redirection functionality in MS Remote Desktop Services (RDS). This allows for printing from an RDS session straight to their local office printer. So local PC printers and their drivers are virtually ‘installed’ or redirected from the RDS session back to the PC – this allows for printing a report or spreadsheet to your office printer in Texas from a server being accessed via RDS in California. Pretty cool!

But one day this functionality stopped. It was a busy day and the issue was not considered a top priority, but given medium level status. I checked a few PCs via remote support (using TeamViewer) and did not see anything wrong with the local printers. Employees could print from their PC to their printers. So I restarted the print spooler service on the RDS server. This did not resolve it. I scoured the logs, checked the application settings and it printing requirements. I noticed the administrator printers were not being redirected, i.e. were not showing whatsoever. Normally on an RDS session you can check the profile’s printer folder and see you PC’s redirected printers readily available.

It turns out there was a service that had suddenly stopped causing the trouble. I had never heard of this service, as seen in this image (screen shot after I started it):

I resolved this issue after having gone into the Services panel: this is a viable, quick way to be sure services are running – sort the columns by startup type, get to the Automatic services and be sure the critical ones are running. Once I started it the issue was resolved. I am not sure why it stopped and also I need to verify whether or not I got an automated alert on this from my monitoring application (and overlooked it?) or if it was not logged for some reason. I will fix that to be sure I get notified as I do with other issues.

But the service is running and employees are printing again and that is a good thing!