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Ten printing rules with Citrix XenApp Print E-mail
Written by Thomas Koetzing on Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Article Details 
User Rating:   | 724

Printing has always been an issue with XenApp or the Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and still is. Therefore I have now written my "ten printing rules with Citrix XenApp" where parts of it apply also to RDS. Also settings are for XenApp 6.0 and Server 2008 R2 but you will find most of the settings work with previous versions as well.

The Ten Printing Rules

  1. Since Presentation Server 4.0 (CPS 4.0) use the Citrix Universal Printer Driver based on EMF for client printers, especially with Windows Clients.
    User Policy\ICA\Printing\Universal Printing = Use universal printing only
  2. Client network printer (network printer connected to the client) should also be mapped by EMF and the print output should go through the client in indirect mode.
    User Policy\ICA\Client Printers\Direct connections to print server = Disabled
  3. Print server should always be located in the same network as the XenApp server, especially when the printers are in a WAN location, branch office. This is when not going through the ICA connection (see point 2) 
  4. Once Citrix has released the Universal Print Server (UPS), which is expected by the end of 2011, only use the UPS to connect to printers located on the print server.
  5. Set Microsoft group policies to disallow Point-To-Print (P2P), to use print isolation, disallow kernel-mode drivers and render jobs on the print server.
    Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Printers
    • Always render print jobs on the server
    • Execute print drivers in isolated processes
    • Point to Print Restrictions (set to localhost)
    • Disallow installation of printers using kernel-mode drivers

      See also
    • How to Restrict Print Drivers From Being Installed on XenApp Servers Hosted on Windows Server 2008/R2
    • How to Restrict Print Drivers from Being Installed on XenApp Servers
  6. Set Citrix user policies to avoid unwanted in-box printer driver.
    User Policy\ICA\Printing\Automatic installation of in-box printer drivers = Disabled

    ----- if you cannot use Citrix universal print driver ----
  7. Always use Microsoft native printer driver first, that come with the operating system.
  8. When you use 3rd party printer driver (HP, Lexmark, Xerox etc.), test them first with StressPrinters and make sure the spooler doesn't crash.
  9. Do not use 3rd party printer driver with print monitors, try to get drivers without monitors or disable/remove them.
  10. Out of experience, avoid PCL6 printer driver if you have to use 3rd party printer driver.


Q: When using 3rd party printer driver what can happen?
A: If you are lucky nothing but you might see: print spooler crash, delayed logons, stuck logons or the worst blue screen of death (BSOD) - server crash.

Q: Why only use the Citrix EMF universal printer driver?
A: With Windows Clients, EMF actually uses the local client printer driver with all capabilities.

Q: What about non-Windows (MAC, Linux...) clients?
A: Non-Windows clients cannot use EMF and automatically fall back to a Universal Printer Driver (UPD) based on a color laser printer but will not give all capabilities the client printer driver might have.

Q: Why not use HP Universal Printer Driver?
A: The HP UPD should only be used for network printer mapped to the XenApp Server and only until UPS is released. With HP UPD make sure you use at least version 5.x and printer isolation, since the driver has been buggy in the past

Q: What is printer isolation good for?
A: As it says, it isolates the printer driver and therefore protects the spooler to crash. So if the driver is buggy, the isolation might fail but the driver will not crash the spooler service.

Q: Why disable Point-To-Print (P2P)?
A: P2P automatically installs printer driver without you really knowing it. That can be very dangerous because you might spread a bad driver to all servers in your farm.

Q: Why should a print server be close to a XenApp server and not located in a branch office over WAN?
A: Especially with Office 2010, printers are "live" enumerated and over a WAN might take a long time. Also the XenApp server would do a RPC call over the WAN to the print server and is very slow and sluggish.

Q: Why avoid PCL6 printer drivers?
A: There is no technical reason but experience from the field has shown the PCL6 driver to cause several issues.

Q: What is the Citrix Universal Print Server (UPS)?
A: It's an upcomming printing component, hopefully released by the end of 2011. In short, UPS has two parts the print server service (you install on the print server) and a client service (UPC) that will be installed on a XenApp server. Now network printer between print server and XenApp will be mapped also with the Citrix EMF and therefore no printer driver on the XenApp server needs to be installed! UPS is high secure, optimized and allows even firewall transversal. UPS uses the Citrix common gateway protocoll (CGP) and the UPC will be incl. in future XenApp releases.


Written by Guest on 2011-07-20 14:44:24
Are PCL6 drivers still and issue with isolation environments? I avoided PCL6 in server 2003 but I think we should retest them in 2008 R2.

Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2011-07-26 10:10:34
Well the isolation would just protect the spooler from a buggy PCL6 driver but could still lead to slow- or stuck logons. Again the isolation is just to protect the spooler, that's all.

Written by Guest on 2011-07-26 11:07:14
I would disagree with the PCl6 statement. With lots of experience of printer drivers myself I cant fault the PCl6 anymore than PCL5e.

PCL6 statement
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2011-07-26 11:22:58
Printing cases I had with customers, 9 out of 10 had issues with PCL6 drivers. As said, not gernally an issue but at least I would be more careful...

Written by Guest on 2011-07-26 15:50:20
I have had many problems with PCL6 Drivers as well. Specifically HP PCL6.

Network Print Server
Written by julzou on 2011-07-26 17:16:09
Great post ! 
I have a little question about printer server and WAN. I think that with the Universal driver and the indirect print job routing the print server must be near the user rather than near the server. Because if it doesn't the case, the print job will travel several times on the WAN. What do you think about this ?

Network Print Server
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2011-07-26 17:44:09
yes that's right and the reason why you need a design for printing with Citrix. The network printer case i descibed is for printing when connected to XenApp and not to the client.

Print Optimization features
Written by Ryan Gallier on 2011-07-26 22:18:03
Keep in mind that all of the new Print Optimization features of XenApp 6 work ONLY with ICA based printing. Was that the thinking behind #4?

Written by Alan Ting on 2011-07-26 22:17:04
Excellent Printing Policy on XenApp, Thomas you are fantastic

Print Optimization features
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2011-07-26 22:21:10
>Was that the thinking behind #4? 
No with UPS you also don't need any driver on the XenApps server because everything is done by EMF incl. print optimization. I will write something about UPS, remind me if I don't ;-)

Written by Guest on 2011-07-27 08:53:08
Hi Thomas, 
You've mentioned the "Universal Print Server" in a number of places, but I'm struggling to find relevant information. Is there anything you could share with us in relation to this as we're currently reviewing our thinprint implementation.

Citrix Universal Print Server
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2011-07-27 13:32:30
I added a small Q&A for UPS and as said before I will write an article about it. Hopefully I will get the beta soon to include some screen shots.

Welcome UPS
Written by Guest on 2011-07-28 03:58:56
No driver on Citrix server, that is going to be awesome. That's one of the most significant improvement since Metaframe as printing has been always seen as a big issue in Citrix.

Welcome UPS
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2011-07-28 08:40:15
Let's be clear, for pure Windows clients envrionments and MS print server you will not need a driver on XenApp anymore once UPS is out. There might be still some cases where users want/need the 3rd party driver but hopeful it will be just a hand full.

Session printers and WAN
Written by Guest on 2011-07-28 22:22:07
I dont get the thought on point 3. You say the print server has to be next to XenApp?? 
When using "session printing" (printing from xenapp directly to printserver) within a WAN environment, there should be a printserver on the branch site where xenapp will print to. If you spool print jobs over WAN (printserver to printer) it will kill your bandwidth.

Session printers and WAN
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2011-07-29 06:07:23
First two things.  
1. When using ICA over WAN you should have a QoS/Optimizer in place like Citrix Branch Repeater. 
2. This is also an advice by Citrix! 
Now don't think that between XenApp and print server is no traffic and actually RPC is really not good. I had a customer having the print server in the branch office and user were complaining a lot about the performance. Also if everything is not setup in the right way, then printer driver packages are send all the time from the print server to XenApp (P2P) over WAN. 
Better solution with the print server in the branch office is to connect the client with the printer and then mapp it through ICA.

Session printers and WAN
Written by Guest on 2011-07-29 23:45:17
I agree with you, but if you use thin clients (Linux or Win CE) then this is not an option. 
I think disabling bi-directional communication on the shared printer is also a must. It prevents sending printing notifications back to the ICA session

Session printers and WAN
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2011-07-30 06:30:24
There are a lot of other things to think about or to optimize but is out of scope with just 10 rules to cover the basics.

Written by Guest on 2011-08-09 21:54:36
I am confused with #2 and #3 and need to understand more about what these mean. We have a situation where all users accessing XenApp will be coming from a branch office, with no local print server. We are trying to find a way to speed up printing. Right now, printing a 3MB PDF file, it spools 82MB over the WAN. We would prefer to see jsut the 3MB file transferred, then spooling done locally by the client before the file is printed. We could put a local print server in place if necessary, but we are trying to avoid having to do that.

Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2011-08-10 09:41:02
With XenApp 6.x and Windows Clients you should use Citrix Universal Printer Driver (#1) EMF and set the print optimization options. That will speed up printing (project Laser). 
With Non-Windows Clients you most likely need to optimization the WAN traffic with Citrix Branch Repeater whitch can reduce print traffic dramatically

Big Print Jobs
Written by Gast on 2011-10-06 15:01:37
An Consultant told us to disable the "Advanced Printing Features" in the Printer Properties. This reduces the size of the Print jobs significant. I tested it with a 1 MB PDF-File: when the option was enabled the Print job had 35 MB, when disabled it was 1,5 MB. So wherever possible disable it.

direct printer
Written by Guest on 2011-11-22 14:34:47
Can you explain the relation between 2&3 
User Policy\ICA\Client Printers\Direct connections to print server = Disabled 
I would suppose that it should be Enabled when both the xenapp server and the print server are in the same datacenter ? so that print-traffic is not going to the client and back to the printserver but directly to the PS. Or is the word DIRECT not used in this direct sense ....? ;-) 

direct printer
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2011-11-22 14:56:57
Let me try to explain it in another way.  
You should avoid printer driver (3rd party) on XenApp server. Without UPS the only way to do it is through the Client by using Citrix Universal Printer Driver (EMF).  
If you choose direct printer then you are not going through the Client and therfore you MUST install printer driver(s) on the XenApp server! If you go indirect through the Client, then you use EMF and do NOT need the printer driver on the XenApp server!

direct printer
Written by Guest on 2012-01-04 16:45:05
sorry for not follow up on your answer directly but I was looking to register but cannot find the "register" button ...and so alerting that you did post an answer was not happening. 
Back to the question. 
Your last reply is 100% clear but cannot be used for clients that are in a remote site because our print-server is at the central location next to the Citrix farm.  
So we would like to add a minimum of MS/Citrix compliant drivers to our citrix servers to avoid client printing because otherwise all printtraffic will go 3 times over the WAN. 
So for these users/printers "DIRECT" is the only option, right ?

direct printing disabled
Written by Guest on 2012-01-04 16:56:42
extra question : what will happen if "DIRECT" is disabled and i want to add a UNC based printer where the driver on the citrix server is "compliant/available" ? Will printing be blocked or will it work without Citrix interfering ? 
Kind regards, 

direct printing disabled
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2012-01-04 17:45:27
>Will printing be blocked or will it work  
>without Citrix interfering ?  
Citrix only controls what it's going through ICA (excapt with UPS), so your answer is no and explained in the article. 
>So for these users/printers "DIRECT" is  
>the only option, right ? 
That's a case were you want to use the Citrix Universal Print Server (UPS), see FAQ. You can have different settings for locations just apply it to a different group, subnet etc. 
>cannot find the "register" button 
You have to register and login in my forum

Do these rules still apply in XA6.5?
Written by KD on 2012-10-15 18:56:58
Hi Thomas, 
I was just wondering if the same rules apply in XA6.5? I'm having issues with getting USB printers to work in my environment, specifically a couple of USB label printers(Brother and Seiko). I want to make sure I have USB printing setup correctly, before I attempt to try USB printing devices out. I've also installed the USB print drivers for certain devices on the server. The "Universal printer driver usage" Citrix policy is set to "Use universal printing only if requested driver is unavailable". Any info you could provide would be appreciated. 

Do these rules still apply in XA6.5?
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2012-10-15 19:11:43
I worte the article FOR XenApp 6.5 and some of the rules also appy to previous versions. If you read the article you see some polices that apply to server 2008 R2 or higher

Do these rules still apply in XA6.5?
Written by KDalal on 2012-11-08 06:40:23
Thanks for your speedy response. We're working on applying the MS policies right now. I'll reply back if we run into problems. 

Written by Guest on 2012-11-15 05:28:58
Thanks for an awesome article. I've used many of these techniques over the years but it really helps to have them in one place. Plus, I learned a couple things too!

Written by Guest on 2013-04-17 13:07:43
This is an excellent guide seeing as there isn't much out there for XenApp 6.5, may be you can send this to Citrix and get them to take notice and make it into an offical guide!! 
Thanks Thomas :grin  

Stored printing
Written by Guest on 2013-04-18 08:52:52
In point 5 you say that all print jobs should be rendered. 
Is it possible to implement stored printing when using Xenapp i.e. print jobs should be retained on a 
local printer until the user executes printing?

Great Article
Written by Casey on 2013-05-12 21:10:46
This was a huge help in resolving a bunch of our problems with printing.. 

Citrix UPS
Written by Gast on 2013-10-12 08:27:45
Hallo Thomas, 
ich bitte um deine Hilfe... 
UPS installiert (es gibt ja tausende Artikel über das - super)  
aber und jetzt das große ABER... wie sollte man die Drucker auf dem Druckserver installlieren? 
Welchen Treiber? ich dachte das nach der UPS-Server installation auf den Druckservern der Universal Print Driver verfügbar ist, und ich den dann auswählen kann... das ist aber nicht so.... 
Bitte um Hilfestellung :-)  
viele Grüße aus der Schweiz, Phil 
Ps. Wollte mich regestrieren, fand den Button aber nicht...

Citrix UPS
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2013-10-12 08:36:03
Registrierung geht über das Forum. In meinem Artikel zum UPS und den Kommentaren findest Du schon Deine Antwort 
Auf dem Druckserver werden ganz normal die nativen Drucker verwendet, es spielt im Grunde keine Rolle auch wenn ich den HP UPD nicht empfehlen würde.

PDF Creator innerhalb CPS 4.5
Written by Gast on 2014-03-01 19:44:31
ich habe eine alte CPS 4.5 Umgebung "geerbt" und jetzt gibt es die Anforderung innerhalb der Citrixsitzung PDF Dateien aus verschiedenen Anwendungen zu erstellen. Kann man da einfach PDF-Creator" installieren? Oder gibt es eine andere Möglichkeit?

Written by print server placement on 2014-04-02 13:00:38
You placement of the print server goes against the citrix planning guide

print server placement
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2014-04-02 13:00:07
I know the guide and gave Citrix actually feedback on that, so what are you talking about exactly? Without UPS you should place the print server next to the XenApp server to avoid RPC over WAN

Written by Guest on 2014-04-02 15:53:34
In the planning section makes no note of the scenario you mention of placing the print server along side the xenapp server inside the data center. 
Why is this specific deployment solution you mention in number 3 through not part of citrix documentation for citrix printer planning?

print server placement
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2014-04-02 16:36:00
>Why is this specific deployment solution you  
>mention in number 3 through not part of citrix  
>documentation for citrix printer planning? 
I guess they think it's common sense?! 
See also slide 13 of the following ppt

print server placement
Written by Guest on 2014-04-03 16:33:30
Do you use any WAN scalers to compress the printing traffic? 
I think theres another reason for that, correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn't this traffic be outside the ICA stream? Is that why the scenario of having a central server is not mentioned in the planning because citrix would prefer printing to go over ICA where compression can occur?

print server placement
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2014-04-07 09:32:44
It really depends how you design your printing architecture! Without explaining the whole setup it's just guessing around. 
If you just use client printing than you should have a print server in the WAN office and yes printing is optimized within ICA.

Always render print jobs on the server
Written by ollivetti on 2014-04-15 12:08:24
Hi, should this setting be enabled or disabled on xenapp server. I am not quite sure 

Always render print jobs on the server
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2014-04-15 12:17:31
ALL policies need to be enabled, disabling something is very, very rare and would be something to point out.

Always render print jobs on the server
Written by ollivetti on 2014-04-15 12:21:07
So, XenApp should print without CSR, because enabling the policy would disable CSR....this would be like "old" 2003 printing that true 
Thank you for the really fast response!

Updated Documents
Written by Guest on 2014-08-05 20:59:55
How Can one setup: 
1) Citrix Universal Print Server on Win2012 R2 ? 
2) Citrix Universal Printer Drivers x64 on Win2012 R2 ? 
3) XenApp/VDI client Citrix Universal Printer Drivers on Win7/8.1/2012 R2 ?

Updated Documents
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2014-08-05 21:17:12
1) It's on the XD/XA 7.5 Media 
2) Only with VDA of XD/XA 7.5 
3) Also the VDA of XD/XA 7.5

Compatibility issues
Written by Guest on 2014-08-07 19:03:22
We've had a lot of compatibility issues with UPS 7.1.1 on W2k12r2 Servers. 
If a user clicks on preferences of a printer and then ports the spooler crashes in that context. plus we weren't able to add certain printers. 
As far as I know citrix doesnt support ups on 2k12 yet.

Compatibility issues
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2014-08-08 12:39:22
There are already Hotfixes out for UPS Server/Client, make sure you installed them. 
>As far as I know citrix doesnt support  
>ups on 2k12 yet. 
UPS is NOT and will NOT be supported on Windows Server 2008 32x Bit and Windows Server 2012 R1

GPO-Settings / Die Zehn Regeln...
Written by Swisstom on 2014-10-08 10:00:27
Wir sind uns hier gerade uneinig bei der schreibweise von Punkt 5, wie die GPO-Einstellungen gesetzt werden. 
Gilt das "deaktivieren" bei Punkt 5 nun für alle vier Richtlinien, oder nur für "Point and Print Restrictions"? 
Ausserdem finde ich auf dem XenApp 7.5 Medium nur den Universal Printer Server, nicht aber den Universal Printer Client? Beinhaltet dieser ev. beide Teile und erkennt, worauf er installiert wird? 

GPO-Settings / Die Zehn Regeln...
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2014-10-08 11:26:24
>Gilt das "deaktivieren" bei Punkt 5 nun für  
>alle vier Richtlinien, oder nur für "Point and Print 
> Restrictions"?  
Alle Richtlinien werden aktiviert (deaktiviert wäre es Ausnahme). Bei der P2P Restriktion wird dann localhost gesetzt, wodurch P2P deaktiviert wird! Das steht auch gleich in dem folgenden von mir genannten Citrix Artikel: CTX128786 
>nicht aber den Universal Printer Client? 
Der UPC ist ab 7X in den VDA inkludiert!

Matt Mustain
Written by Guest on 2014-11-13 21:43:22
I have enabled the policy to prevent direct connections to print servers for remote sites. It works well. However, a drawback is now the users see two print queues for each networked printer. 
Example: \\ServerName\PrinterName and PrinterName on ServerName (from ComputerName) 
I would like to remove the queues that start with \\ServerName. Enabling the policy to auto-create local (non-network) client printers only does just the opposite. 
Any suggestions? 

RDS Printer Name
Written by Guest on 2015-06-01 15:20:31
Thanks for you article. I have a question about the name RDS gives the printer. I'm using Windows Server 2008 R2 and Citrix XenApp 6.5. When I user logson their printer names are in the format “Printer name (from Client name) in Session # .” Is there a way to remove the "(from Client name) in Session #" from the name? I have two printers that use the Generic Text driver that my application (Meditech) cannot print to when the "(from client name) in Session #" is showing. If I rename the printer and remove "(from client name) in Session #" leaving just the printer name it prints with no issue. T

RDS Printer Name
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2015-06-01 15:24:18
Use the Citrix policy to use legacy Client Printer names

Written by Guest on 2016-02-18 22:04:32
Is this list still valid for 2016 and the current versions of XenApp 6.5 and XenApp 7.x?

Sagar Sarkar
Written by Guest on 2016-03-13 02:42:33
How auto create clients printer policy work on XenApp 6.0 over Windows 2008 R2 for Thin Client users. 
And what's basic difference between auto create client printer and session printer policy.

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