Skip to content

Enterprise Mobility + Security

This is a three part series on the new Plug and Play Device Redirection Framework introduced in Windows Vista and Windows Server codename “Longhorn”. In this first part we introduce the Framework and talk about the inbox supported Windows Portable Devices redirection. In the second and third parts we will be talking about Microsoft Point of Service for .NET devices redirection and how you can optimize your device drivers for use over the Framework.


Device redirection over Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) has been enhanced in Windows Vista and Windows Server codename “Longhorn” with the introduction of the new Plug and Play Device Redirection Framework. This new feature is aligned with Terminal Server vision of providing rich remote experiences and provides the ability to redirect certain types of PnP devices using Remote Desktop or Remote Programs. The goal is to let applications access Plug and Play devices seamlessly regardless of whether they run locally or remotely.


Windows Portable Devices Redirection


In Windows Vista  and Windows Server code name “Longhorn”, there is inbox support for redirection of Windows Portable Devices over this Framework – this category of devices includes media players based on the Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) and digital cameras based on the Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP).


To redirect Plug and Play devices


1.       Open Remote Desktop Connection. To open Remote Desktop Connection on Microsoft Windows Vista™, click Start, point to All Programs, click Accessories, and then click Remote Desktop Connection.

2.       In the Remote Desktop Connection dialog box, click Options.

3.       On the Local Resources tab, click More.

4.       Under Local devices and resources, expand Supported Plug and Play devices.



Plug and Play devices that are currently plugged in and that are supported for redirection will show up in this list. If the device that you have plugged in does not show up in the list, the device is currently not supported for redirection. Check the device manual to see if the device supports MTP or PTP.


5.       Choose the device that you want to redirect by selecting the check box next to the device’s name.

6.       You can also redirect devices that have not been plugged in yet but will be plugged in later when a session to a remote computer is active. To make Plug and Play devices that you will plug in later available for redirection, select the Devices that I plug in later check box.

7.       Click OK and proceed to connect to the remote computer.


When the session to the remote computer is launched, you should see the Plug and Play device that is redirected get automatically installed on the remote session. Plug and Play notifications and AutoPlay popup will appear on the remote session. Note that the redirected device is scoped to that particular remote session only – it is not accessible from any other session (remote or console) on the remote computer.


If you have selected the Devices that I plug in later check box in Remote Desktop Connection, you should see the Plug and Play device get installed on the remote computer when you plug the Plug and Play device into your local computer while the session to the remote computer is active.


After the redirected Plug and Play device is installed on the remote computer, the Plug and Play device is available for use in your session with the remote computer. For example, if you are redirecting a Windows Portable Device such as a digital camera, the device can be accessed directly from an application such as the Scanner and Camera Wizard on the remote computer.



·         You can’t transfer digital rights management (DRM) protected content from redirected media players.

·         Redirection of Plug and Play devices is available only in Windows Vista Enterprise and Windows Vista Ultimate when connecting to a remote computer running Windows Vista.

·         Plug and Play device redirection is not supported over cascaded terminal server connections. For example, if you have a Plug and Play device attached to your local client computer, you can redirect and use that Plug and Play device when you connect to a terminal server (Server1, for example). If from within your remote session on Server1, you then connect to another terminal server (Server2, for example), you will not be able to redirect and use the Plug and Play device in your remote session with Server2.


You can control Plug and Play device redirection by using either of the following Group Policy settings:


·         Computer ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesWindows ComponentsTerminal ServicesTerminal ServerDevice and Resource RedirectionDo not allow supported Plug and Play device redirection

·         Computer ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesSystemDevice InstallationDevice Installation Restrictions


You can also control Plug and Play device redirection on the Client Settings tab in the Terminal Server Configuration tool (tsconfig.msc).


Part 2 will cover Point of Service (POS) devices.