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.

Before you begin

  • To use USB devices with a remote desktop, a Horizon administrator must enable 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 Configuring Remote Desktop Features in Horizon 7 document.

  • When Horizon Client was installed, the USB Redirection component must have been installed. If you did not include this component in the installation, uninstall the client and run the installer again to include the USB Redirection component.

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.

Note:

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 published desktops and applications on RDS hosts. Other types of USB devices, including other types of storage devices, such as security storage drives and USB CD-ROM, are not supported in published desktops and applications. With Horizon Agent 7.0.2 or later, published desktops and applications can support more generic USB devices, including TOPAZ Signature Pad, Olympus Dictation Foot pedal, and Wacom signature pad. Other types of USB devices, including security storage drivers and USB CD-ROM drives, are not supported in published desktops and applications.

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.

  • Do not connect to scanners by using the Connect USB Device menu. To use a scanner device, use the scanner redirection feature. This feature is available for Horizon Client when used with View Agent 6.0.2 or later or Horizon Agent 7.0 or later. See Using Scanners.

  • Webcams are not supported for USB redirection using the Connect USB Device menu. To use a webcam or audio input device, you must use the Real-Time Audio-Video feature. This feature is available when used with View 5.2 Feature Pack 2 or a later release. See Using the Real-Time Audio-Video Feature for Webcams and Microphones.

  • 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. If you have the Real-Time Audio-Video feature, included with View 5.2 Feature Pack 2 or a later release, audio input and output devices work well using that feature, and you do not need to use USB redirection for those devices.

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

Note:

Do not redirect USB devices such as USB Ethernet devices and touch screen devices to the remote desktop. If you redirect a USB Ethernet device, your client system loses network connectivity. If you redirect a touch screen device, the remote desktop receives touch input but not keyboard input. If you have set your virtual desktop to autoconnect USB devices, you can configure a policy to exclude specific devices.

Important:

This procedure tells how to use a VMware Horizon Client menu item to configure autoconnecting USB devices to a remote desktop. You can also configure autoconnecting by using the Horizon Client command-line interface or by creating a group policy.

For more information about the command-line interface, see Running Horizon Client from the Command Line. For more information about creating group policies, see the Configuring Remote Desktop Features in Horizon 7 document.

Procedure

  • Manually connect the USB device to a remote desktop.
    1. Connect the USB device to your local client system.
    2. From the VMware Horizon Client menu bar, click Connect USB Device.
    3. Select the 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. In the desktop and application selector window, open the remote application.

      The name of the application is the name that your administrator has configured for the application.

    2. In the desktop and application selector window, right-click the application icon and select Settings.
    3. In the left pane, select USB Devices.
    4. In the right pane, select the USB device and click Connect.
    5. Select the application, and click OK.
      Note:

      The name of the application in the list comes from the application itself and might not match the application name that your administrator configured to appear in the desktop and application selector window.

      You can now use the USB device with the remote application. After you close the application, the USB device is not released right away.

    6. When you are finished using the application, to release the USB device so that you can access it from your local system, in the desktop and application selector window, open the Settings window again, select USB Devices, and select Disconnect.
  • 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. From the VMware Horizon Client menu bar, select Connect USB Device > Autoconnect USB Devices when Inserted.
    3. 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. From the VMware Horizon Client menu bar, select Connect USB Device > Autoconnect USB Devices at Startup.
    2. 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 Configuring Remote Desktop Features in Horizon 7 document.