Anybody out there fed up to the back teeth with firefighting printing problems on your remote desktops?

Bet it’s most of you.

I have found that a good deal of my management time in an RDSH farm is taking calls from users that can’t print from their remote session. There are such a huge range of printers and client desktops out there that installing printer drivers of the right sort on the server (or worse in a farm, many servers) becomes a management nightmare and can even lead to instability of the platform and availability issues for other users.

I needed another solution, and after discounting some really quite eye-wateringly expensive options that may have worked, but would have seriously impacted my deployment budget, I came across TSPrint from TerminalWorks.

This application is simplicity itself, you just install the server application on each server of your RDSH farm, and then each user installs a (free) client application on their workstation. Then when a client connects to the farm it forms a secure tunnel in which all print operations are sent to the client and processed locally with their drivers. On the farm you just select the generic “TSPrint” printer and there is nothing more to do.

The print channel is also compressed to make the best of WAN connections, and there are advanced options that allow you to select different printers if required, as well as a simple print to default printer option.

Since installing this product issues with printing have almost dropped to zero. I recently had an issue where at setup a user was printing fine for a week on standard RDP, then for absolutely no reason it stopped and refused to see the driver, even if the correct one was re-installed on the server and the server rebooted (which is outrageous in a multi-user environment for any software inctall).

It was driving us mad and consuming hours of investigation and testing, and annoyingly when I tested the connection myself it worked for me, but our support engineer with the same level of access (admin) saw the failure! This kind of scenario is draining, as I’m sure many of you will relate to.

I got them to use TSPrint and the problem was immediately resolved. Just this saving of support time paid for the license fee alone, and this is where we come to the good bit – cost:

TerminalWorks license the product on a per host basis for unlimited users, for $399, which includes (and this is the amazing bit) lifetime support and upgrades! So on a farm you just license each node and then forget about it. No more ongoing costs – how often do you come across that?

There are restricted licenses for very low numbers of users at $79 per user, so obviously once past 5 users the unlimited option is the way to go. You can mix and match as well, so if the client doesn’t have the app installed locally then RDP printing will still happen, and if you have users that are able to use RDP printing without issues you don’t need a license for them. However, the unlimited license really makes that immaterial, and whereas in other user based licensing schemes you’d end up being forced to minimise application use to save costs with TSPrint everybody can have it.

Nothing more to say except try it for yourself. They have free trials available and if your PoC runs over the term they’ll extend the trial for free! Gives you chance to try out loads of scenarios and if there are questions or issues support is available.