Saturday, December 6, 2014

Terminal Services Device Redirector Missing

We have a client using SBS 2008 that is unable to use printer redirection to print locally when connected to the server via RDP. Printer redirection is basic functionality in RDP and normally works without any setup at all. We took over maintenance on this server from another organization about 4 years ago, but never had any need to test or use printer redirection until recently.

After taking a look at the event logs, we saw EventID 1103 for Microsoft-Windows-TerminalServices-Printers with the following message:
An internal communication error occurred.  Redirected printing will no longer function for a single user session.  Check the status of the Terminal Services Device Redirector in the System folder of Device Manager.
The Terminal Services Device Redirector is a device driver that is responsible for printer redirection. On this server, the Terminal Services Device Redirector did not exist in Device Manager. So, we need to install it.

Conveniently, several web sites provide instructions on how to use the devcon utility to install the RDPDR driver and get this going again. However, many of these are for Windows Server 2003. On Windows Server 2008, which is 64-bit, the included devcon utility doesn't work properly because it is 32-bit. The 32-bit version of devcon can query drivers, but not change or add them. It will give a delightfully generic error message of "Devcon Failed".

So, step 1 is to download the 64-bit version of devcon. It is included as part of the Windows Driver Kit. This article describes how to download the 600 MB Windows Driver Kit and extract only the 64-bit version devcon from it:
After you have the correct version of devcon, installation of the Terminal Services Device Redirector is easy. Run the following command and then restart the server (note the space between inf and root):
  • devcon -r install %windir%\inf\machine\inf root\rdpdr
After a reboot I was able to redirect printers properly. I have no idea how this went missing in the first place.

Microsoft has a TechNet article about this event ( but I found at least one item in it may be inaccurate. The article states that there should be a registry key for the RDPDR at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\Root\RDPDR. The system I was working on did not have this registry key before or after I fixed it by installing the Terminal Services Device Redirector. Instead, there was some information added to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\Root\System\0003. This may be because I added it manually.

The article also mentions the idea of reinstalling Terminal Services as a fix. Given that this server did not have Terminal Services installed, I'm not sure how we would have accomplished that. It had remote access enabled in Admin mode, but not full on Terminal Services.

If what I have written doesn't fix your issue with Terminal Services printing, take a look at this article by It has a whole bunch of issues to look at:

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