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How to use Remote Desktop

How to use Remote Desktop

Navigating the realm of remote desktops can be as seamless as if you were sitting directly in front of your local machine, especially when it comes to USB device usage. In this detailed guide, I will walk you through the various methods to achieve USB passthrough in a remote desktop environment. USB passthrough refers to the ability to access USB devices connected to a client computer from the host machine running the remote desktop session. This functionality is crucial when you need to work with USB peripherals such as flash drives, printers, dongles, or external hard drives remotely. To enhance your experience, the remote desktop usb passthrough can be a remarkable software solution that bridges the gap between local USB devices and remote desktops. Let’s delve into how you can utilize this capability effectively, ensuring that no matter where you are, your critical USB devices are always within virtual reach.


Common Scenarios:

Frequent Work From Home Setups 🏠

  • Using remote desktop to access office workstations from home.
  • Need to print documents on the local printer while connected to the remote machine.
  • Accessing security dongles that are required by specific software on the remote desktop.

Collaboration in Remote Teams 🔗

  • Sharing USB devices over the internet with team members in different locations.
  • Utilizing external hard drives for joint access to large files through a remote desktop session.
  • Engaging with specialized USB equipment that is unique to certain projects or tasks.

IT Support and Maintenance 🔧

  • Providing remote assistance to users and requiring access to their local USB devices.
  • Installing or updating software that mandates the use of a USB-based installer or license key.
  • Performing diagnostics and troubleshooting on remotely connected USB devices.


Step-by-Step Guide. Remote Desktop Usb Passthrough:

Method 1: Using Native Remote Desktop Capabilities 💻

  • Enable USB redirection on the client’s remote desktop connection settings before connecting to the host.
  • Ensure that the remote desktop host is configured to allow USB device redirection.
  • Connect to the remote desktop session and access the USB devices as if they were connected directly to the remote machine.

Note: This method may not work for all USB devices due to compatibility or security policies.

Conclusion: Native remote desktop capabilities can be straightforward but may have limitations based on the system configuration.

Method 2: Third-Party Software Solutions 🛠

  • Download and install a third-party USB redirection software like USB Network Gate on both the client and host machines.
  • Share the desired USB devices on the client machine using the software’s interface.
  • Connect to the remote desktop session and use the software at the host to access the shared USB devices.
  • You can find more information about USB Network Gate at the Electronic Team Inc. website.

Note: Ensure that the software is compatible with your operating system and the remote desktop protocol you’re using.

Conclusion: This method provides a robust solution to USB passthrough with wider device compatibility.

Method 3: Virtual Machine USB Passthrough 🖥

  • Set up a virtual machine on the host computer with USB passthrough capabilities.
  • Connect the USB device to the client machine and use the virtualization software to redirect it to the virtual machine.
  • Access the virtual machine via remote desktop and utilize the USB devices as needed.
  • For detailed steps, consult the VMware Workstation documentation.

Note: This method is ideal for scenarios where you have control over the host environment and can set up a virtual machine.

Conclusion: Virtual machine USB passthrough is a powerful method, especially in controlled IT environments or for development purposes.

Method 4: Remote Desktop Gateway USB Redirection 🌐

  • Implement a Remote Desktop Gateway server to manage remote desktop connections within your network.
  • Configure the gateway to allow USB redirection and connect the desired USB devices on the client’s end.
  • Establish a secure remote desktop session through the gateway and access the USB devices remotely.
  • Check out Microsoft’s official documentation for setting up a Remote Desktop Gateway.

Note: This approach offers additional security and is well-suited for enterprise environments.

Conclusion: Remote Desktop Gateway can integrate USB redirection into a secure, centralized remote desktop infrastructure.

Method 5: Hyper-V Enhanced Session Mode 🚀

  • Use Hyper-V on a Windows Server or Windows 10 Pro/Enterprise edition to create virtual machines.
  • Enable Enhanced Session Mode on Hyper-V settings to allow USB device redirection.
  • Connect the USB device to the client PC, start the virtual machine via Hyper-V, and access the device within the VM.
  • For configuration guidance, refer to the Enhanced Session Mode on Hyper-V documentation.

Note: This method is specific to Hyper-V capable Windows environments.

Conclusion: Enhanced Session Mode extends the functionality of virtual machines by providing access to client-side resources like USB devices.


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Precautions and Tips:

Ensure Compatibility and Updates 🛠

  • Double-check that the USB device you want to use is supported by the remote desktop solution you’re using.
  • Keep both client and host systems updated to the latest software versions and patches to avoid connectivity issues.
  • Explore manufacturer resources and guides for your specific USB device to understand any peculiarities in remote usage.

Network Stability and Security 🌐

  • Maintain a stable and fast internet connection to ensure seamless interaction with USB devices remotely.
  • Implement strong security protocols such as VPNs and encryption to protect USB data transmitted over the network.
  • Regularly review access logs and monitor for any unauthorized usage of USB devices.


Maximizing USB Functionality

Using USB passthrough in a remote desktop scenario requires not just technical know-how but also an understanding of the limitations and capabilities of both the local and remote environments. One crucial aspect to consider is network latency, which can significantly affect the performance of remote USB devices. High latency or unstable network conditions can lead to interruptions in data transfer, impacting tasks such as printing or file transfers.

Another factor is the remote desktop protocol (RDP) itself, which may have inherent limitations on the types and sizes of files that can be transferred via USB redirection. When working with sensitive data, it’s also important to consider data protection laws and compliance requirements related to data handling.

In organizations, IT administrators often need to maintain a centralized management system for remote desktop connections. Solutions like Remote Desktop Services (RDS) or virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can be enhanced with USB redirection capabilities. For insight into these services, you can visit the official Microsoft RDS documentation or the Citrix VDI solutions page.

Finally, when considering a bring your own device (BYOD) policy within your organization, it is essential to outline clear guidelines regarding remote usage of personal USB devices for work purposes. This ensures that security is not compromised and that business and personal data remain separate.


In the rapidly evolving world of remote work, understanding how to effectively use remote desktop and USB passthrough is an important skill. By following the methods outlined above and keeping in mind the provided tips and additional insights, you should be able to navigate the various nuances that come with accessing USB devices remotely. Remember, whether you’re an IT professional, a remote worker, or simply someone looking to extend their workstation capabilities, the right approach and tools can make your experience efficient and secure.

For further exploration into the world of remote desktops and USB passthrough, the article on TechRadar may provide additional context on the possibilities and future direction of remote desktop technology.


USB passthrough allows users to connect USB devices to their local computer and access them on a remote desktop as if they were directly attached to the remote machine.

It enables functionality like file transfer, security token access, and use of peripherals (printers, scanners, etc.) on the remote desktop, seamlessly integrating with local resources.

No, not all remote desktop applications support USB passthrough

Yes, enabling USB passthrough can pose risks if not properly managed, as it could open avenues for data leakage or malware transmission to the network.

Storage devices, security dongles, printers, smart cards, and input devices are frequently used with USB passthrough during remote sessions.

Yes, USB passthrough can be used over any distance as the connection is over a network, making physical proximity to the remote machine unnecessary.

Yes, multiple USB devices can be used concurrently if the remote desktop software and the network bandwidth can support such usage.

Windows has some built-in capabilities for USB passthrough via its Remote Desktop Protocol, but users may need additional software for full functionality. For macOS, third-party applications are generally required.

Proper device drivers need to be installed on both the local and remote machines to facilitate seamless USB passthrough functionality.

FlexiHub and USB Network Gate are popular third-party solutions for enabling USB passthrough in various remote desktop scenarios.