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Configuring USB Device Redirection with Microsoft RemoteFX Step-by-Step Guide

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1

About this guide

This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of setting up USB redirection with Microsoft® RemoteFX™. During this process, you will deploy the following components in a test environment:

  • A Remote Desktop Virtualization Host (RD Virtualization Host) server using RemoteFX

  • A Remote Desktop Connection Broker (RD Connection Broker) server

  • A Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) server in redirection mode

  • A Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access) server

  • A virtual machine configured as a personal virtual desktop

This guide assumes that you previously completed the steps in the Installing Remote Desktop Session Host Step-by-Step Guide (, and that you have already deployed the following components:

  • An RD Session Host server

  • A Remote Desktop Connection client computer

  • An Active Directory® Domain Services domain controller

This guide includes the following topics:

The goal of USB redirection with RemoteFX is to enable supported USB devices that are installed on the client computer to be available to users within a personal virtual desktop.


When implementing RemoteFX, consider the following:

  • The RemoteFX server and the RemoteFX-enabled virtual desktop must meet the RemoteFX hardware requirements. For more information about the hardware requirements for deploying RemoteFX, see Hardware Considerations for RemoteFX (

  • Ensure that the hyper-threading technology is enabled in the BIOS of the RD Virtualization Host server.

  • Configure the proper RAM as required. Per the Windows® 7 requirements, if you are using an x86-based virtual machine, you must configure at least 1024 megabytes (MB) of RAM. If you are using an x64-based virtual machine, you must configure at least 2048 MB of RAM.

  • Ensure that you are running the matching build of Windows Server® 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) on the RemoteFX server, Windows 7 with SP1 on the virtual machine, and Windows 7 with SP1 on the client computer.

  • Ensure that there is a LAN connection between the client and the RD Virtualization Host server.

  • Ensure that the Windows Aero® desktop experience is enabled on the RemoteFX-enabled virtual desktops.

Technology review

By using USB redirection with RemoteFX, supported devices on a computer are made available for use on a personal virtual desktop. Supported RemoteFX devices include (but are not limited to) webcams and single-function scanners. RemoteFX enables the delivery of a full Windows client user experience to a range of client devices including rich clients, thin clients, and ultrathin clients. RemoteFX renders content by using graphics processing units (GPUs) that are present on the server and then shared across multiple virtual desktops.


USB redirection with RemoteFX works on LAN and WAN networks, but it is optimized for a LAN network. A LAN network with a latency of 20 milliseconds or less is recommended.

The following features should be enabled for an optimal experience:

  • Hyper-threading technology on the RD Virtualization Host server

  • Windows Aero® desktop experience on the RemoteFX-enabled virtual desktops

USB redirection with RemoteFX offers the following benefits over traditional redirection when using Remote Desktop Connection:

  • Hardware drivers are not required on the client computer. Instead, the drivers are installed on the RemoteFX server.

  • One redirection method is used for all devices.

  • The sessions are isolated so that one user cannot use a device that has been redirected in another session.

When you deploy USB redirection with RemoteFX, consider the following:

  • USB redirection with RemoteFX is not available on Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1. You must be running a Windows 7 with SP1 RemoteFX-enabled virtual desktop on a RemoteFX server to use USB redirection with RemoteFX.

  • You must log out of your virtual desktop and then log back on if you add a new device to the client computer that you want to redirect.

  • The wrong default printer may be selected in the virtual desktop if printer redirection and USB redirection with RemoteFX are enabled. To fix this issue, you must disable printer redirection or manually configure the correct default printer on the virtual desktop. If you want the USB printer to be the default printer on the virtual desktop, you can also enable the following Group Policy setting: Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Printer Redirection\Do not set default client printer to be default printer in a session.

  • To use high-level audio redirection, which allows you to share the headset between the local and the remote computers, you must set the Remote audio playback option to Play on this computer and the Remote audio recording option to Record from this computer. Do not select the check boxes in the Local devices and resources box to redirect the device by using USB. If you are using an Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access) server, do not specify the class GUIDs for these devices.

  • To use USB audio redirection, which allows headset controls and call buttons to work in a remote session, you must set the remote audio playback option to Play on remote computer and select the check boxes in the Local devices and resources box to redirect the device by using USB. If you are using an RD Web Access server, you must specify the class GUIDs for these devices.

  • If you are using a webcam, you cannot use the webcam microphone with local speakers that are not connected by using USB. USB audio redirection and high-level audio redirection are mutually exclusive at this time. You must use a separate microphone that is redirected by using high-level audio redirection or use USB speakers that are connected to your local computer.

  • If you have multiple audio devices, you can only redirect one high-level audio playback device and one high-level audio recording device at a time. However, you can redirect multiple USB audio devices at the same time. USB audio redirection and high-level audio redirection are mutually exclusive. If you choose to use high-level audio redirection, you cannot use USB audio.

Scenario: Deploying RemoteFX for a personal virtual desktop in a test environment

We recommend that you first use the procedures provided in this guide in a test lab environment. Step-by-step guides are not necessarily meant to be used to deploy Windows Server features without supporting deployment documentation, and they should be used with discretion as stand-alone documents.

Upon completion of this step-by-step guide, you will have a personal virtual desktop with RemoteFX that is assigned to a user account that can connect by using RD Web Access. You can then test and verify this functionality by connecting a webcam to a client computer and ensure that it is available within the personal virtual desktop.

The test environment described in this guide includes seven computers connected to a private network using the following operating systems, applications, and services:

Computer name Operating system Applications and services


Windows Server 2008 R2

Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), DNS


Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1

RD Session Host


Windows 7 with SP1

Remote Desktop Connection


Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1

RD Virtualization Host, RemoteFX, Hyper-V™


Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1

RD Connection Broker


Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1

RD Web Access


Windows 7 with SP1

Virtual machine


The computers form a private network, and they are connected through a common hub or Layer 2 switch. This step-by-step guide uses private addresses throughout the test lab configuration. The private network ID is used for the network. The domain controller is named CONTOSO-DC for the domain named The following figure shows the configuration of the test environment.

The following documents in the Microsoft Technical Library can assist you in configuring RemoteFX: