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Managing printers in your environment is a multistage process:
Before you begin planning your deployment, make sure that you understand these core concepts for printing:
Printing concepts build on Windows printing concepts. To configure and successfully manage printing in your environment, you must understand how Windows network and client printing works and how this translates into printing behavior in this environment.
In this environment, all printing is initiated (by the user) on machines hosting applications. Print jobs are redirected through the network print server or user device to the printing device.
There is no persistent workspace for users of virtual desktops and applications. When a session ends the user's workspace is deleted, thus all settings need to be rebuilt at the beginning of each session. As a result, each time a user starts a new session, the system must rebuild the user's workspace.
You can customize how to perform these tasks by configuring options for printer provisioning, print job routing, printer property retention, and driver management. Be sure to evaluate how the various option settings might change the performance of printing in your environment and the user experience.
The process that makes printers available in a session is known as provisioning. Printer provisioning is typically handled dynamically. That is, the printers that appear in a session are not predetermined and stored. Instead, the printers are assembled, based on policies, as the session is built during log on and reconnection. As a result, the printers can change according to policy, user location, and network changes, provided they are reflected in policies. Thus, users who roam to a different location might see changes to their workspace.
The system also monitors client-side printers and dynamically adjusts in-session auto-created printers based on additions, deletions, and changes to the client-side printers. This dynamic printer discovery benefits mobile users as they connect from various devices.
The most common methods of printer provisioning are:
Citrix recommends the Citrix Universal Print Server for remote print server scenarios. The Universal Print Server transfers the print job over the network in an optimized and compressed format, thus minimizing network use and improving the user experience.
The Universal Print Server feature comprises:
A client component, UPClient - Enable the UPClient on each Server OS machine that provisions session network printers and uses the Universal print driver.
A server component, UPServer - Install UPServer on each print server that provisions session network printers and uses the Universal print driver for the session printers (whether or not the session printers are centrally provisioned).
The following illustration shows the typical workflow for a network based printer in an environment that uses Universal Print Server.
When you enable the Citrix Universal Print Server, all connected network printers leverage it automatically through auto-discovery.
Note: The Universal Print Server is also supported for VDI-in-a-Box 5.3. For information about installing Universal Print Server with VDI-in-a-Box, refer to the VDI-in-a-Box documentation.
Auto-created printers are based on:
Autocreation policy settings enable you to limit the number or type of printers that are auto-created. By default, the printers are available in sessions when configuring all printers on the user device automatically, including locally attached and network printers.
After the user ends the session, the printers for that session are deleted.
Client and network printer autocreation has associated maintenance. For example, adding a printer requires that you:
The term printing pathway encompasses both the path by which print jobs are routed and the location where print jobs are spooled. Both aspects of this concept are important. Routing affects network traffic. Spooling affects utilization of local resources on the device that processes the job.
In this environment, print jobs can take two paths to a printing device: through the client or through a network print server. Those paths are referred to as the client printing pathway and the network printing pathway. Which path is chosen by default depends on the kind of printer used.
Locally attached printers
The system routes jobs to locally attached printers from the Server OS machine, through the client, and then to the print device. The ICA protocol optimizes and compresses the print job traffic. When a printing device is attached locally to the user device, print jobs are routed over the ICA virtual channel.
If the Universal Print Server is not enabled, configuring the client printing pathway for network printing is useful for low bandwidth connections, such as wide area networks, that can benefit from the optimization and traffic compression that results from sending jobs over the ICA connection.
The client printing pathway also lets you limit traffic or restrict bandwidth allocated for print jobs. If routing jobs through the user device is not possible, such as for thin clients without printing capabilities, Quality of Service should be configured to prioritize ICA/HDX traffic and ensure a good in-session user experience.
The Citrix Universal Printer Driver (UPD) is a device independent print driver, which has been designed to work with most printers. The Citrix UPD consists of two components:
Server component. The Citrix UPD is installed as part of the XenApp or XenDesktop VDA installation. The VDA installs the following drivers with Citrix UPD: "Citrix Universal Printer" (EMF driver) and the "Citrix XPS Universal Printer" (XPS driver).
When a print job is initiated the driver records the output of the application and sends it, without any modification to the end-point device.
Client component. The Citrix UPD is installed as part of the Citrix Receiver installation. It fetches the incoming print stream for the XenApp or XenDesktop session and forwards it to the local printing sub-system where the print job is rendered using the device specific printer drivers. In addition to Citrix UPD, the Citrix PDF Universal Printer driver can be installed separately with Citrix Receiver for HTML5 and Citrix Receiver for Chrome.
The Citrix UPD supports the following print formats:
The PCL and PS drivers are best suited when using non-Windows based devices such as a Mac or UNIX client. The order in which Citrix UPD attempts to use the drivers can be changed using the Universal driver preference policy setting.
The Citrix UPD (EMF and XPS drivers) supports advanced printing features such as stapling and paper source selection. These features are available if the native driver makes them available using the Microsoft Print Capability technology. The native driver should use the standardized Print Schema Keywords in the Print Capabilities XML. If non-standard keywords are used, the advanced printing features will not be available using Citrix Universal print driver.
The following illustration shows the Universal print driver components and a typical workflow for a printer locally attached to a device.
When planning your driver management strategy, determine if you will support the Universal print driver, device-specific drivers, or both. If you support standard drivers, you need to determine:
During printer autocreation, if the system detects a new local printer connected to a user device, it checks the Server OS machine for the required printer driver. By default, if a Windows-native driver is not available, the system uses the Universal print driver.
The printer driver on the Server OS machine and the driver on the user device must match for printing to succeed. The illustration that follows shows how a printer driver is used in two places for client printing.