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Understanding Universal Print Server (UPS) Print E-mail
Written by Thomas Koetzing at Wednesday, 09 November 2011  | Article editor: Carl Webster

Article Details 
User Rating:   | 327

I have lately dropped here and there comments about Citrix Universal Printer Server code name "Phaser" and actually some Citrix guys make fun of me because I'm so persistent with that topic since 2009! Why 2009? Well at iForum 2009 in Las Vegas, Citrix developer Gary showed the first bits (really just some command line exe) of project Phaser. Since then I keep telling Citrix to get it out of the door every time I have a chance. Now it seems it will finally happen after three years!

Citrix Universal Print Driver

By now, everyone should know about the Citrix Universal Printer Driver (UPD) that is based on Windows Enhanced MetaFile (EMF). Citrix introduced UPD based on EMF with Presentation Server 4.0 The keyword "Windows" should tell you that Enhanced Metafile only supports Windows platforms.
Citrix uses EMF for automatic client printer mappings and should be the first choice with Windows clients. The reason is that with that technology actually no native or 3rd party printer driver is needed on the XenApp Server. In addition the client side installed printer driver is used by the client side EMF component of the ICA Client. The beauty of that is that users can leverage all functions the local printer driver has instead of a subset with a Universal Driver based on a printer model like Citrix UPD version 2 (Color Laser Printer).
Citrix has even further optimized the architecture and released the printing optimization pack (project Laser) for XenApp 6.0. With the optimization pack and its new Citrix policies the print out speed even over WAN works very well and therefore it's part of my ten printing rules with XenApp.

Network printer and print server

Beside Client printer companies most often use network printers that are managed by a Print Server. Why Print Server? With Windows Server 2000, Microsoft introduced Point-to-Print (P2P) that makes adding a network printer on a client device very easy and therefore user friendly. P2P automatically sends the printer driver down to the client, installs the driver and adds the printer object. The same process happens on a XenApp server if network printers are mapped for users. Until now Citrix only offers Citrix policies to connect network printers but the mapping is done by Point-to-Print. Basically you can do the same with a script or with Microsoft group policy (Windows-Settings).

The problem here is that the print server is often not managed by the XenApp Team. Now if the printer drivers on the print server are not tested at least with Citrix StressPrinters the installed drivers can have a very bad affect on the XenApp Server or even the whole Farm! A "bad" printer driver can cause a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) – a server crash, spooler crash, no- or slow logons even with Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.

What is Citrix Universal Print Server?

The Universal Print Server helps with the P2P "dilemma" and introduces the EMF functionality to the print server as the client! That means, again, no native or 3rd party printer driver must be installed on the XenApp server for any printer on the Windows print server! In many environments that should help reduce the installation of printer drivers on the XenApp server dramatically. Having only the Citrix EMF would keep the XenApp farm stable and help with user logon times. Actually, that is something many customers are waiting for and the reason I kept persisted on asking Citrix about it.

The Universal Print Server (UPS) architecture

Let's keep it simple and just get the main architecture behind UPS. Take some time for a close look on the following image.

ups architecture

On the right side you have the Microsoft print server and on the left a Windows Client that could be XenApp, XenDesktop VM etc. At the moment Windows Server 2008 x86 is supported as print server and an x64 version is planned. XenApp 6.5 and XenDesktop 5.5 are right now supported with the Community Technology Preview release of UPS.
As you can see the client is communicating through a Web Service installed on the print server. Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is used for enumeration etc. whereas the Citrix Common Gateway Protocol (CGP) is used for the bulk of print data. CGP is old and used in other places like for session reliability (XTE service) or the secure gateway service. Both can be encrypted using SSL and accelerated and/or optimized by Citrix Branch Repeater even though EMF within CGP is already highly optimized.

Deployment of UPS infrastructure

The deployment is straight forward and not much to configure. Installing the server component adds two Windows services (UPS and CGP). XenApp 6.5 or XenDesktop 5.5 Citrix policies will be updated (UPS configuration) and the Citrix print service (cpsvc.exe) as well to "know" about UPS network printer.
After the installation you configure the UPS policies which is basically just enable UPS or enable UPS with native fallback in case UPS is not available (not installed). Use Microsoft group policies for P2P restrictions to just allow UPS enabled print server.

ups policies


Project Taser or UPS Version 2.0

Citrix is already working to extend the universal print server to the next level. To name two but most important features:

1. Enable SSL for CGP and SOAP through UI
2. Extend enumeration of printer driver capabilities and make them available to the UPS Client.

Now point two is different from what you know from UPD (EMF). When mapped by EMF the printer properties have an option to open the native client side printer driver properties to change all available option. This is done through ICA (just a trigger). Of couse this is not possible with the print server. Therefore with UPS 1.0 you only get the basic functions of the printer driver and that will be extended with UPS 2.0!


Finally! What else can I say? Citrix delivers the UPS to minimize the installation of printer drivers on XenApp server and therefore also administrator headaches. Same for streamed XenApp server or pooled VM's that require printer drivers before putting them into production.

I hope Citrix will support XenApp 6.0 with the final release because I would hate to use it in an unsupported way (yes, it works). Citrix said they have barley tested with XenApp 6.0 but I think we all would be happy to help with that. UPS 2.0 sounds even better but we have to wait again...

UPS Download at

So happy printing to all of you and may the UPS with you!


Kosten? Edition?
Written by Gast on 2011-11-09 11:53:50
Hallo Thomas 
Was soll das ganze Kosten? oder wird der UPS gratis zum Download angeboten? 
Weisst du da schon etwas? 
Super Artikel! 

Kosten/Prise? Edition?
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2011-11-09 12:15:16
Soweit ich weiß ist UPS mit XA/XD kostenfrei in allen Editionen. In Folgeversionen von XA/XD wird UPS bereits Bestandteil der Installation. 
UPS mit Fat Clients OHNE XA/XD ist was anderes... 
As far as I know UPS is free for all edition of XA/XD. Upcoming XA/XD releases will have UPS by default. Using UPS with Fat clients without XD/XA might be another story...

Great article Thomas
Written by Thomas Poppelgaard on 2011-11-10 14:58:05
Thanks for giving a perfect overview what UPS is and how the architecture is and how you can use it. Its going to be interesting to see which kind of issues people will have with UPS.  
Will you make an article where you compare UPS with ThinPrint/UniPrint ? 
Thomas Poppelgaard

compare UPS with ThinPrint/UniPrint ?
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2011-11-10 15:04:34
>Will you make an article where you compare UPS  
>with ThinPrint/UniPrint ?  
No haven't planed that. I have many other topics I would like to write about but so little time.

2008 R2?
Written by Alex Sommer on 2011-11-10 16:09:24
Hallo Thomas, 
danke für den sehr informativen Artikel. 
Ist für Version 2.0 auch eine 2008R2 Version geplant? Da wir unseren Printserver bereits auf 2008R2 betreiben, würde es hier wahrscheinlich stabiler laufen. 
Viele Grüße 
Alex Sommer

2008 R2
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2011-11-10 16:23:47
>Ist für Version 2.0 auch eine 2008R2  
>Version geplant? 
Wie ich geschrieben habe ist für bereits die 1.0 Version eine 64Bit Version geplant! 
Planed is a 64Bit version for 1.0 release

here's looking forward to Citrix UPS 2.
Written by Guest on 2011-11-15 16:01:47
Citrix UPS 2.0 is what will gain wide adoption of the technology. However, I am very pleased Citrix released 1.0 to get it out there for people who are desparate for a solution.  
I am not looking forward to talking to IT departments about "UPS" - it is an acronym that means so many other things already!

Written by Guest on 2011-12-13 22:57:29
So, with this new Universal Print server, if I don't install any printer drivers on my XenApp server, it will use the universal print driver, right? And if so, does this mean I won't be able to view all the properties of my printers as I would with the actual print driver on the server?

Re: Q
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2011-12-14 07:28:43
>it will use the universal print driver, right? 
Yes as described. 
>I won't be able to view all the properties 
>of my printers 
Yes with UPS 1.0 you only get basic properties. This will be extended with UPS 2.0

Written by Guest on 2011-12-14 22:12:45
Hi Thomas, great article. It would be brilliant to see a comparison between Citrix UPS and Tricerat :)

Re: Tricerat
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2011-12-14 22:32:16
Tricerat, ThinPrint etc. and who is paying me for doning the comparision and give me the licenses... I'm still a freelancer.

Citrix policy or Group policy
Written by Guest on 2012-01-12 18:42:01
We do not have the ability to use the UPS because we are deploying XenApp 6.5 in a 2008 R2 64-bit environment. In that case, do you recommend deploying session printers (thin and thick clients) via Citrix policies or Group Policy Management? 
Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Citrix policy or Group policy
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2012-01-12 22:40:57
As described in the article and already answert in a comment, Citrix is working on a 64Bit version for the print server service for the RTM release of UPS 1.0!  
Also you should have a separate print server in your envrionment and should not use one of your XenApp Servers for that reason.

Written by Guest on 2012-01-16 17:01:42
The article says "x64 version is planned". That implies to me that x64 is not supported at this time. When I logon to and read the documentation it says: "Supported on Windows Server 2008 32-bit operating systems".  
We do have a separate print server and if UPS does not work on x64, need to determine if we should work with Citrix policies or Group Policies to create the session printers.

Written by Guest on 2012-01-16 17:22:03
Okay, I see the difference now with the Tech preview being available now and the RTM version will be 64 bit. Any idea when the RTM version will be released?

Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2012-01-16 19:47:28
Yep, the CTP has no 64bit version but is planned for the RTM release. 
My guess the RTM is released at the end of Q1, beinning of Q2 and I still hope for XA6 as well

UPS + Linux
Written by Gast on 2012-02-07 10:34:51
ist schon etwas bekannt, inwiefern UPS Linux Clients unterstützt? 
In diesem Bereich tun sich doch sehr viele Probleme auf... :-( 
Viele Grüße

UPS + Linux
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2012-02-07 11:22:28
Der UPS ist haupsächlich zwischen UPS und XenApp oder UPS und XD, Windows Clients gedacht. Welcher Client Typ (Linux, MAC etc.) auf XenApp sich Verbindet und dann über UPS einen Drucker bekommt ist dabei total irrelevant. 
Linux Clients direkt an UPS ist weit aus dem Fokus. UPS basiert auf EMF (wie im Artikel beschrieben) und damit für Windows Clients.

UPS - Citrix Policyverhalten
Written by Gast on 2012-07-05 07:54:28
wir haben in unserer PS4.5 Umgebung ca. 110 Policies im Einsatz um Session Printer zu mappen. Diese Konstellation ist im XA6 und XA65 aufgrund der neuen Citrix Policies nicht machbar (Perfomance geht in den Keller). 
Verbessert sich dieses Verhalten mit dem Citrix UPS? - Ich befürchte eher nicht.

UPS - Citrix Policyverhalten
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2012-07-05 10:22:24
UPS hat nichts mit den Citrix Richtlinien zu tun. 
>Diese Konstellation ist im XA6 und XA65  
>aufgrund der neuen Citrix Policies nicht  
>machbar (Perfomance geht in den Keller).  
Das sollte nicht der Fall sein und sollte entsprechend untersucht werden.

printer driver
Written by Enrica Poletti on 2012-09-07 09:54:36
I'm a printer driver developer and I'm interested on integrate my Company's printers on XenApp. 
Our printers don't support EMF and our printer drivers are based on Windows UNIDrv. 
Is it possible to integrate them? 
Thank you in advance. 
Enrica Poletti

printer driver
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2012-09-07 10:01:42
Printer driver don't need to support EMF. Just make sure drivers are tested with Citrix StressPrinters, should not have a monitor, not using a lot of resourcess (CPU) and should not corrupt the stack when printing from a 32Bit appliaction on a 64Bit OS

UPS Guide
Written by Guest on 2012-09-21 17:00:57
Hi I have installed the UPS following the Citrix Edoc. 
But How do I make it work? Is there a step by step guide? How do I map the printers? How does the Xenapp server know about the print server?  
Please advice!

UPS 1.0 - Basic Properties
Written by Gast on 2013-03-05 17:36:26
Hi, I've been doing a lot of searching to try and find exactly what basic functions UPS 1.0 will allow. Is there anywhere I can fine these? 
In my environment we are looking for a print server solution but functions such as using swipe cards for secure printing, defaulting to duplex and users being able to select their output tray all all critical. 
UPS may not allow all or any of these but how can I find out before I spend a lot of time testing 

Written by Gast on 2013-04-24 16:50:09
We have installed UPS 1.0 on our Xenapp 6.5 Farm with Windows 2008 R2. 
I am really happy about this new feature and after 3 month i can say it works. You must configure some work arounds on Printserver for Colormanagment because UPS cannot handle Black/White & Colour option right now. So i have installed for every Color Printer two Printers 1 with B/W and 1 with Colour so the extra features are not needed. 
We have around 140 Printers and i use only 4 Citrix Policies now to deploy the Printers the Rest is managed trough Active Directory. 
I love it :D  
But since 2 weeks i have the trouble when you print vom IE9 you get an Surrogate error. Did anyone know a Serverside Solution for it ? 
The work around know is to handle it with Login Scripts.. 
And thx for the guide Thomas

IE9 and printing
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2013-04-24 18:48:28
IE9 has quite some issues and I would advice you to go to 10 or back to 8. IE9 has a GPU render option that can cause trouble with printing. Should be disabled

Verfügbarkeit CUPS 2.0 ?
Written by Thomas M. on 2013-07-04 14:38:08
gibt es denn schon einen (groben) Releasetermin für den CUPS 2.0? 
Thomas M.

Verfügbarkeit CUPS 2.0
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2013-07-04 14:37:31
2.0 war/ist nur ein fiktiver Wert von mir. Citrix meinte in der nächsten Version. Die nächste Version wurde aber mit XD7 veröffentlicht und hat die Version 1.1 
Darin ist aber hauptsächlich die Unterstützung von VDA Server 2012/WIN8

Citrix UPS nur mit Citrix UPD?
Written by Gast on 2013-09-20 11:37:12
Wir nutzen in einer homogenen HP-Drucker-Landschaft auf unseren XenApp Servern den HP UPD und wollten - auf Grund der bekannten Probleme mit vielen Druckobjekten auf Terminalservern - Citrix UPS verwenden. Die ursprünglich angedachte Kombination von Citrix UPS und HP UPD scheint nicht zu funktionieren, da die Auswahl der Druckobjekte aus vielen Programm heraus bis zu 90 Sekunden dauert. Der Citrix UPD ist durch die oftmals fehlerhafte Fachansteuerung und Verarbeitung von Schwarzweiß- / Farbdruck keine wirkliche Alternative. 
Ist es grundsätzlich so, dass Citrix UPS nur nur mit dem Citrix UPD verwendet werden kann oder ist ein Mixbetrieb möglich?

Citrix UPS nur mit Citrix UPD?
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2013-09-20 11:55:17
Der Citrix UPS kann im Fallback eingestellt werden. Ist also der richtige Treiber auf dem XenApp dann wird dieser verwendet und nicht der Citrix UPD. 
Der HP UPD ist bekannt dafür das er Probleme im allgemeinen Verursacht.

Citrix UPS nur mit Citrix UPD?
Written by Gast on 2013-09-20 17:54:22
Aber ist es grundsätzlich möglich, den HP-Treiber oder einen beliebigen anderen mit dem UPD-Unterbau (EMF, kein CSR...) zu verwenden?

UPS nur mit Citrix UPD?
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2013-09-20 17:58:24
Sicher, es kann jeder Treiber verwendet werden mit eingeschränkter Funktionalität, wie beschreiben. Der HP UPD ist aber bekannt das dieser grundsätzlich Probleme verursachen kann unabhängig von UPS/UPD

When citrix UPS 2.0?
Written by Guest on 2014-01-23 12:15:02
we have everything we need with citrix xendesktop 7.1 opr xen 6.5 exept printing features. 
an idea about when approximatively ups 2.0 is going to be available? 
thanks for your answers. 
Best Regards

RODC als Printserver
Written by Björn on 2014-03-25 19:06:31
jemand schon Erfahrungen mit der UPS Server Komponente auf einem ReadOnly DC, der blöderweise auch Printserver und einziger lokaler Server für eine Citrix Site in Frankreich ist? 

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