You can use locally attached USB devices, such as thumb flash drives, cameras, and printers, from a remote desktop. This feature is called USB redirection.

About this task

When you use this feature, most USB devices that are attached to the local client system become available from a menu in Horizon Client. You use the menu to connect and disconnect the devices.

With View Agent 6.1 or later, or Horizon Agent 7.0 or later, you can also redirect locally connected USB thumb flash drives and hard disks for use in RDS desktops and applications. Other types of USB devices, including other types of storage devices, such as security storage drives and USB CD-ROM, are not supported in RDS desktops and applications. The server that hosts the RDS desktop or application must be running Windows Server 2012 or later.

If you use the client drive redirection feature to share a USB storage device or a folder on a USB storage device, you cannot use the USB redirection feature to redirect the device to a remote desktop or application because the device is already shared.

Using USB devices with remote desktops has the following limitations:

  • When you access a USB device from a menu in Horizon Client and use the device in a remote desktop, you cannot access the device on the local computer.

  • USB devices that do not appear in the menu, but are available in a remote desktop, include human interface devices such as keyboards and pointing devices. The remote desktop and the local computer use these devices at the same time. Interaction with these devices can sometimes be slow because of network latency.

  • Large USB disk drives can take several minutes to appear in the desktop.

  • Some USB devices require specific drivers. If a required driver is not already installed on a remote desktop, you might be prompted to install it when you connect the USB device to the remote desktop.

  • If you plan to attach USB devices that use MTP drivers, such as Android-based Samsung smart phones and tablets, configure Horizon Client so that it automatically connects USB devices to your remote desktop. Otherwise, if you try to manually redirect the USB device by using a menu item, the device is not redirected unless you unplug the device and then plug it in again.

  • Webcams are not supported for USB redirection.

  • The redirection of USB audio devices depends on the state of the network and is not reliable. Some devices require a high data throughput even when they are idle.

You can connect USB devices to a remote desktop either manually or automatically.

Note:

Do not redirect USB Ethernet connections to the remote desktop. Your remote desktop can connect to your network if your local system is connected. If you have set your remote desktop to autoconnect USB devices, you can add an exception to exclude your Ethernet connection. See Configuring USB Redirection on a Mac Client .

Prerequisites

  • To use USB devices with a remote desktop, a View administrator must have enabled the USB feature for the remote desktop.

    This task includes installing the USB Redirection component of the agent, and can include setting policies regarding USB redirection. For more information, see the View Administration document if you are using Connection Server and Agent 5.3.x. See Setting Up Desktop and Application Pools in View if you are using Connection Server and Agent 6.0 or later.

  • The first time you attempt to connect a USB device, you must provide the Administrator password. Horizon Client prompts you for the password.

    Some components required for USB redirection that Horizon Client installs must be configured, and configuration of these components requires Administrator privileges.

Procedure

  • Manually connect the USB device to a remote desktop.
    1. The first time you use the USB feature, from the VMware Horizon Client menu bar, click Connection > USB > Start remote USB services and provide the Administrator password when prompted.
    2. Connect the USB device to your local client system.
    3. From the VMware Horizon Client menu bar, click Connection > USB > Connect to a desktop to list USB devices.
    4. Connect to a remote desktop to list the connected USB devices and select a USB device.

    The device is manually redirected from the local system to the remote desktop.

  • Connect the USB device to a remote hosted application.
    1. The first time you use the USB feature, from the VMware Horizon Client menu bar, click Connection > USB > Start remote USB services and provide the Administrator password when prompted.
    2. Plug in the USB device.
    3. Open the remote application.
    4. Click the Settings button (gear icon) in the upper right corner of the desktop and application selection window.
    5. Select Applications in the left pane of the Settings dialog box.
    6. Click USB at the top of the right pane of the Settings dialog box.

      The available USB devices appear in the left pane.

    7. Select a USB device and click Connect Device.

      If a USB device is already connected to a remote desktop or application, you must disconnect the device from the desktop or application before you can select it.

    8. Select a remote application and click Continue.

      You can select any running application on the RDS host. After you select a remote application, you can use the USB device with the remote application.

    9. After you finish using the remote application, open the Settings dialog box again, select USB, and select Disconnect to release the USB device from the remote application.

      You can now use the USB device with your local client system, a remote desktop, or another remote application.

  • Configure Horizon Client to connect USB devices automatically to the remote desktop when you plug them in to the local system.

    Use the autoconnect feature if you plan to connect devices that use MTP drivers, such as Android-based Samsung smart phones and tablets.

    1. Before you plug in the USB device, start Horizon Client and connect to a remote desktop.
    2. The first time you use the USB feature, from the VMware Horizon Client menu bar, click Connection > USB > Start remote USB services and provide the Administrator password when prompted.
    3. From the VMware Horizon Client menu bar, click Connection > USB > Automatically connect when inserted.
    4. Plug in the USB device.

    USB devices that you connect to your local system after you start Horizon Client are redirected to the remote desktop.

  • Configure Horizon Client to connect USB devices automatically to the remote desktop when Horizon Client starts.
    1. The first time you use the USB feature, from the VMware Horizon Client menu bar, click Connection > USB > Start remote USB services and provide the Administrator password when prompted.
    2. From the VMware Horizon Client menu bar, click Connection > USB > Automatically connect at startup.
    3. Plug in the USB device and restart Horizon Client.

    USB devices that are connected to the local system when you start Horizon Client are redirected to the remote desktop.

Results

The USB device appears in the desktop. A USB device might take up to 20 seconds to appear in the desktop. The first time you connect the device to the desktop you might be prompted to install drivers.

If the USB device does not appear in the desktop after several minutes, disconnect and reconnect the device to the client computer.

What to do next

If you have problems with USB redirection, see the topic about troubleshooting USB redirection problems in the Setting Up Desktop and Application Pools in View document.