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December 1, 2022

USB and Network Scanning for Remote Desktop

In an effort to streamline processes and add in efficiencies, many offices turn to digitizing their paper documents and workflows. Scanners play a huge part in this overall push towards paperless. Organizations can use scanners to save office space by removing overflowing and outdated filing cabinets, securely store and access digital documents, and cut costs and "go green" by reducing paper usage. Many companies also utilize remote IT environments for cost savings and flexibility. So what happens when scanners are incompatible with that remote IT infrastructure? Here are 3 ways to achieve seamless USB and network scanning in remote desktops:

1. Redirection

Getting the scanner through to the target remote desktop environment is the first step when working on redirection. Regardless of your remote environment (Azure, Citrix, VMware, etc.), it is often the case that USB scanners are not readable from the remote session. Third-party solutions have moved in to fill this gap in out-of-the-box virtual technology (for example, Windows 2008 terminal servers do not even support scanner redirection). The best ones work by querying the scanner, virtualizing that as a data source, and redirecting it into the terminal server. These specialized third party apps eliminate scanner/terminal server incompatibility without any extra effort on the IT admin's part. 

Learn more about Tricerat's solution for scanning.

2. Driver Management

The next hurdle to get through when scanning via remote desktop is driver issues. TWAIN and WIA drivers are the most common and are tricky to navigate in virtual environments. Universal scanner drivers remove scanner driver incompatibility issues, solving for things like "failed to initialize scanner" errors, among many others. A good virtual universal driver can query the local scanners for capabilities (such as resolution and supported paper sizes) and then forward that information into the remote session, application, or desktop. As long as a scanner can properly function, third party software can easily remove driver management from the list of things a sys admin has to worry about.

Traditionally, scanner drivers are installed on and connected to the local computer in one of two ways: directly on the USB or network scanner or on multifunctional peripherals (MFP) that offer scanning capabilities. Most third-party software require TWAIN or WIA drivers to be installed and fully functioning properly using the manufacture's software. A third-party software solution should support RDP, ICA, and PCoIP protocols. 

3. Optimize Resources

Because USB and network scanning is not typically supported out of the box in remote desktops, admins sometimes have to resort to complicated workarounds to support scanning for their users. This can lead to undue burden on system resources. In addition to removing the need for complex workarounds, third party scanning software can also streamline the underlying scanning process. A good third party scanning solution will compress data being transferred across the network, leading to reduced bandwidth consumption (while still preserving image fidelity).

Streamlined scanning management saves IT staff time in RDS environments. "Tricerat was one of the only companies that offered the software that actually worked." - Dave Peters, IT Manager.

The best solution to USB and network scanning in remote desktop environments is to find a high quality third party software. There are plenty on the market to chose from, since scanning is a high priority business need but not usually supported in virtual environments. A good scanning solution will help with redirecting scanners into the terminal server, eliminate scanner driver management, and optimize network resources. To learn more about Tricerat's scanning solution, ScrewDrivers®, schedule a demo today. 

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2019 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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