BryTech
Contributor
Contributor

Thin Client USB Support to Win XP VM in ESX

Hello,

I am using a Sun Ray Thin client (from Sun) to connect to a Windows XP VM running under ESXi. I know the Sun Ray supports USB and will redirect the local USB ports on the Sun Ray via RDP to the Windows XP VM. Making the USB ports work on the Sun Ray when connecting to a desktop (not a VM) is easy and works well.

I am aware that ESX does not support USB and that a Windows VM will not copy over the USB files when installed under ESX. Because the Windows XP VM has no USB Controller (USB Root Hub) I can't get the USB redirection to work with my Thin Client. I am wondering if anyone has a solution to make Thin client USB ports work when connecting to a Windows XP VM under ESX? If I could get a USB Controller (USB Root Hub) installed on the Windows XP VM then I think the redirection would work. Does anyone know how to add the USB Controller or the USB Root Hub to a Windows XP VM under ESX or ESXi? Any help would be great!

Thanks

Bryan

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13 Replies
nick_couchman
Immortal
Immortal

If Windows is truly detecting the USB redirection correctly, it should pop up and install the USB Root Hub when the RDP connection is made. Of course you'll have to log in as an Administrator for this to happen, but it should work. This also depends upon how Sun implements USB redirection. On another (non-Sun) thin client that I have, a USB device (e.g. flash drive) is mounted locally on the thin client and then the RDP client just does filesystem redirection between the thin client and the RDP server. If Sun Rays work similarly, then you shouldn't need any USB drivers at all as it isn't truly forwarding USB, it's just redirecting filesystems via a CIFS-like share.

You could go to the Add Hardware wizard in Windows, and, instead of letting Windows search for new hardware, manually select the hardware and add a USB Root Hub. This should get Windows to pull the drivers from the CD and install them in the O/S.

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BryTech
Contributor
Contributor

Hello,

Thanks for the info. I agree with you on the USB drive as I believe that the Sun Ray will mount the it as a hard disk and not use USB at all. The same is true for a keyboard and mouse. The issue that I have to solve is using a local USB printer or scanner. I also would like to attach a CDROM to the Sun Ray. Any idea how a USB printer connected to the thin client could work with Windows XP running under ESX?

Thanks

Bryan

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kjb007
Immortal
Immortal

Check your options under RDP. One is to make your current printers as well as other local resources available to the RDP session. This is similar to how you make your drives available on the rdp session, it should be another check box.

-KjB

vExpert/VCP/VCAP vmwise.com / @vmwise -KjB
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BryTech
Contributor
Contributor

Hello,

The USB printer is not currently a local printer as Windows XP is a VM uder ESX. The printer is attached to the Think Client via USB. What I would like to do is print from the Windows XP VM to the USB printer attached to the Thin Client.

I would try to install the printer on the XP VM but what port would I use (LPT1) as USB will not be available under ESX?

Thanks

Bryan

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kjb007
Immortal
Immortal

I was under the impression that you could already see the printer locally, as you were seeing a hard drive.

As you already noted, USB is not currently supported. You can hand-edit the vmx file to add a usb controller, but it will be grayed out and can not/will not be used by the vm itself. Nor will the vm recognize that device exists. Your best bet here is a network printer which you can use standard IP printing to connect from the vm.

-KjB

vExpert/VCP/VCAP vmwise.com / @vmwise -KjB
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TomHowarth
Leadership
Leadership

does your sunray device see the Printer, as installed? have yor checked the following location or similar in the SunRay RDP client

3669_3669.jpg

RDP should just redirect printers

To set up printing with remote desktop:

-On the users workstation when they start the remote desktop connection client, click the options button, and then go to the local resources tab. Check the box for printers and save.

-the drivers for the printer have to be installed on the computer to which you are connecting, assuming they are not native to the operating system. Do not install the printer on the computer to which you are connecting but rather; on the "server" computer, open printers and faxes, on the menu bar go to file, server properties, add, and point to the diver .inf file. You will have to download the drivers first to a temporary folder. If you do this remotely, you should log off and back on before trying to print

-if still having problems, again on the computer to which you are connecting, go to printers and faxes, on the menu bar go to file, server properties, ports. Look at the port type. If it is a Dot4, you will need to use the following Microsoft fix:

-if it is an option, often connecting the printer to another local computer and sharing it, then connecting to the share rather than having it attached locally, often resolves the problem. If you are using a VPN client this is not always possible, due to routing issues.

-if you are using a USB printer, though it usually works (some multi-function units do not), Microsoft does not officially support USB printing through remote desktop sessions. Vista is supposed to resolve this, though it doesn't help you now.

-avoid PCL6 drivers with terminal services

-Microsoft has released an updated version of the Remote desktop Connection (ver 6) which should be more compatible with USB printers. Certainly offers more USB options, assuming these are compatible with existing O/S's.

Note: where you are connecting by Windows VPN, if the printer is not physically attached to the client/connecting computer it will not be available by default. There is a security feature in the VPN client that blocks local network connections, to protect the office/remote network. You can disable this if you wish. To do so on the client/connecting PC, go to:

control panel | network connections | right click on the VPN/Virtual adapter and choose properties | Networking | TCP/IP -properties | Advanced | General | un-check "Use default gateway on remote network"

This should make the shared printer available while connected by VPN.

Also this Blog might help

Tom Howarth

VMware Communities User Moderator

Tom Howarth VCP / VCAP / vExpert
VMware Communities User Moderator
Blog: http://www.planetvm.net
Contributing author on VMware vSphere and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing ESX and the Virtual Environment
Contributing author on VCP VMware Certified Professional on VSphere 4 Study Guide: Exam VCP-410
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pavelt
Contributor
Contributor

gentlemen,

there is no USB support on Sun Rays, the same about every thin client and every terminal or RDP solution.

If you need USB, there is a third party solution, which implements raw USB passthrough from Sun Ray to Windows Terminal Server (by default is supports printers only, to use native Windows drivers) or XP (supports virutally any USB device including flash drives, printers, scanners, the rest however should be checked for compatibility). Also specific devices (like finger print readers, bar code scanners, and etc.) can be supported only in customized versions.

If you need more info, let me know, I'll give you the contact.

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doubleH
Expert
Expert

I have USB devices on my thin clients (Pano Logic) no problem. In your virtual machines you need to install the USB driver (USDB.SYS) from driver.cab (either from a local cache or windows media cdrom) and place it in C:\Windows\System32\drivers. Have you tried this?

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pavelt2tk0
Contributor
Contributor

Pano Logic is a different story - it uses proprietary desktop virtualization service, which implements everything. In all other thin clients VDI or RDP protocols used, which has no channels to passthrough USB streams at least in current versions.

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doubleH
Expert
Expert

they do have their own protocol now, but previous to 2.5 they used RDP and it worked flawlessly with USB.

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pavelt2tk0
Contributor
Contributor

Anyway, it means they have the same kind of solution inside - there is a some kind of additional channel over TCP/IP which forwards USB streams, RDP has no such capability. The same about any other thin client.

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Matjaz_Kovacec
Contributor
Contributor

Hi,

I am very interested in this third party product.

Can you please send me the address ?

Regards, Matjaz

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GlenB
Contributor
Contributor

pavelt -- I'm interested in this 3rd party product if you think it will apply to the following scenario:

Client side is Win2k3 native, open an RDP session to a VM running under ESXi 3.5, the VM is WinXP-SP3. I need software loaded on XP to be able to use a variety of USB connected devices - scanners, digital cameras, cell phone, speakers, printers, external disks, thumb drives. Some of these can be easily redirected through RDP and/or mounted remotely and accessed with a UNC mapping. I have been trying to use a Silex SX-5000 U2 device to connect the USB devices into the XP VM encapsulated over TCP/IP, but the Silex support for this variety of devices is very poor and it seems unable to handle more than one connection at a time. So I'm looking for something that works better than that.






Regards - Glen

Regards - Glen
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