You can use locally attached USB devices, such as thumb flash drives, cameras, and printers, from a remote desktop or a published application. 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 menus in Horizon Client. You use these menus 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. 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 drives and USB CD-ROM drives, are not supported in published desktops and applications.

Using USB devices with remote desktops and published applications 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. 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. Audio input and output devices work well with the Real-Time Audio-Video feature. You do not need to use USB redirection for those devices.

  • You cannot format a redirected USB drive in a published desktop on an RDS host unless you connect as an administrator user.

  • The published application auto-connect at startup and auto-connect when inserted features do not work with global application entitlements.

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

Note:

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

Important:

This procedure describes how to use Horizon Client to configure autoconnecting USB devices to a remote desktop or published application. 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.

Prerequisites

  • To use USB devices with a remote desktop or published application, a Horizon administrator must enable the USB redirection feature.

    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 and Scripting Definition Settings for Client GPOs.

  • 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.

Procedure

  • Manually connect the USB device to a remote desktop.
    1. Connect the USB device to the 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 published application.
    1. Connect the USB device to the local client system.
    2. Start Horizon Client and connect to the published application.
    3. Click the Settings (gear) icon in the upper-right corner of the desktop and application selector window and click USB Devices.
    4. In the right pane, select the USB device, click Connect, select the published application, and click OK.

      Horizon Client connects the USB device to the published application that you selected. The USB device is also available to other applications in the same farm as the application that you selected.

    5. (Optional) To configure Horizon Client to automatically connect the USB device to the published application when the application is started, select the Auto-connect at startup check box.
    6. (Optional) To configure Horizon Client to automatically connect the USB device to the published application when you plug the device into the local system, select the Auto-connect when inserted check box.

      The published application must be activated and in the foreground for this behavior to take effect.

    7. Click OK to close the Settings dialog box.
    8. When you are finished using the published application, open the Settings dialog box again, select USB Devices, and select Disconnect.

      You must release the USB device so that you can access it from your local system.

  • Configure Horizon Client to connect USB devices automatically to a 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 the remote desktop.
    2. From the VMware Horizon Client menu bar, select Connect USB Device > Automatically Connect 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 a remote desktop when Horizon Client starts.
    1. From the VMware Horizon Client menu bar, select Connect USB Device > Automatically Connect 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 remote desktop or published application. A USB device might take up to 20 seconds to appear in the desktop or published application. The first time you connect the device to a remote desktop you might be prompted to install drivers.

If the USB device does not appear in the remote desktop or published application 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.