Folder Redirection/Synchronization of .PST files

Posted on 2004-11-14
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-15

I am deploying AD (with folder redirection).  My current problem is that my users have only POP3 email accounts (no MS Exchange).  I want to be able to backup their .pst outlook (xp+2003) databases, automatically.  I just found out that microsoft does not allow .pst offline files due to the different technologies used by offline files and outlook synch.

what are my options?

Question by:calpoly1
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Expert Comment

ID: 12581454
Hi calpoly1,
You can use this:


I usually just prefer to use Exchange but this is popular and used it on one client for awhile. It worked.


Expert Comment

ID: 12583709

True... microsoft does not allow .pst offline files but that doesn't mean they have to be local on the computer... if you have folder redirection enabled and the users pst files are located in their my documents folder you will receive an error message indicating the pst file could not be made available offline... however... this only means that an offline copy of the file was not made in the client side cache on the workstation... the pst file is still located on the server and is backed up whenever you make a backup of the server (assuming you do so)...

alternately... if you want a copy of the pst to backup to the local machine.. you could create a simple script logoff script that would copy the pst file to the local machine and assign the script via group policy...

Author Comment

ID: 12587351
thank you.  where do i go to learn to write a logoff script to do this... and will it take forever to copy the file or is it just going to update the file and not copy the whole thing every time.

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Expert Comment

ID: 12587440
it would copy the whole thing everytime... if you have a large pst file it could take some time... your first step would be to determine where the current pst is being stored... that is if the pst file is currently in a redirected folder or on a folder on the local computer... then you could create a batch file that copied the contents from one directory to the other... for instance...

net use \\servername\(share where the pst file resides on the server)
xcopy \\servername\(share where the pst file resides on the server)\(name of pst file).pst c:\backup\(name of pst file).pst /y
net use /delete \\servername\(share where the pst file resides on the server)

you need to modify this to reflect your setup... you can change the directory you want the backup to go into...

Author Comment

ID: 12587483
It also works the other way around, right?  

i can copy the file from my local HD to the server (to make sure that i have a backup).  

can i also have this script to run at logon and not log off?...i think my users would get impatient if they have to wait for teh computer to copy the file

thanks, appreciate your help

Expert Comment

ID: 12587509
yes... you can assign the script to run at logon rather than logoff... if you want to copy the file from the local computer to the server you would just need to the edit the xcopy command like so...

xcopy c:\(path to pst folder)\(name of pst file).pst  \\servername\(share you want the pst file to reside on the server)\(name of pst file).pst /y

Author Comment

ID: 12587529
one  more questions...

how do i enable folder redirection for non-default folders? I like the fact that i can redirect "my documents" but what about "favorites"  i've been tyring to figure this out.

and have you had bad experiences allowing .mdb/.dbf, etc files to be synchronized?

Expert Comment

ID: 12587792
if you are running AD you can use a group policy option to override the default settings and allow the pst to synch up

Expert Comment

ID: 12587856
here is a link and a the text of the link


   Welcome >  Part II Desktop Management >  Ch 6 Managing Files and Folders >  Using Offline Files >  Implementing Offline Files  
Making Files Available Offline
Files are cached either automatically or manually to the computer that requests them. Automatic caching occurs when a specific file in a folder is opened, but only if the server indicates that the contents of the share must be automatically cached. Automatically cached files are marked as Temporarily Available Offline in the Offline Files folder because they can be removed from the cache as the cache fills up. There is no guarantee that an automatically cached file will be available when offline.

Files are manually cached when a computer specifically requests, or pins, a particular file or folder on the network to be made available offline. You pin a file or folder by selecting the file or folder, and on the File menu selecting Make Available Offline. Manually cached files are marked as Always available offline in the Offline Files folder.

In Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional, the Manual Caching for Documents setting is enabled by default when a folder is shared. To change the setting so that documents in the shared folder are automatically cached, right-click the folder, click Properties, click the Sharing tab, and then click Caching. In the Settings box, select Automatic Caching of Documents. You can also disable caching.


You can manually pin files and folders that are configured for automatic caching.
By default, the following file types cannot be cached:

*.slm; *.mdb; *.ldb; *.mdw; *.mde; *.pst; *.db?

You can override the default settings by using the Files not cached Group Policy setting. Any file types that you specify in the Group Policy setting override the default settings. For example, if you specify that only .txt files cannot be cached, all other file types are available for caching.

The default cache size for automatically cached offline files is 10 percent of the total disk space of the hard disk. You can change the default by specifying a value between 0 and 100 percent on the Offline Files tab of the Folder Options dialog box. This setting does not affect the cache for files that are manually cached by the user, or for files pinned by the administrator using the Group Policy setting Computer Configuration\ or User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Network\Offline Files\Administratively assigned offline files. You can store up to 2 gigabytes (GB) of automatically cached files per computer if that much space is available; for manually cached files, you are limited only by the amount of available disk space on the drive containing the cache.


If the network resource is online, renaming files in the Offline Files folder takes effect immediately on the network resource.

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Accepted Solution

kain21 earned 200 total points
ID: 12588055
dijitaldemon... good link... learn something new everyday... the only problem I could see with doing it the way stated in the article is whether windows will simply check to see if the file has been modified and copy the whole file if it has been or whether it will update just the changes...  my guess would be the whole file but not sure... do you know dijitaldemon?

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