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Folder Redirection of My Docs alternatives? Log on / Access time is crucial

Posted on 2006-03-23
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Last Modified: 2009-08-22
A few questions for you experts:

1) For folder redirection, do I HAVE to have Roaming Profiles enabled?
2) I set up the folder redirection for My Docs and a problem I am running into is that a few users have around 5GB of My Documents.. everytime they log on it copies all of their files. Everytime it logs off it synchs and these two actions take FOREVER. Is there a better alternative than redirecting these files? Perhaps only SYNC the changes made after the initial login? Let me know if I need to elaborate more. Couldn't it just not sync and pull from their own share folder? I thought about this but I don't want to have to set up a folder for each of my 50 users. Maybe automate it?

Your thoughts and assistance are appreciated. I haven't been able to find adequate solutions on the 'net or in my books.
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Question by:TeknoSDS
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Expert Comment

by:DolGuldur
ID: 16273086
Hello,

1-No need to have roaming profile

2-The way I do it here, is to redirect My Documents folder toward the network share of the user. I have no sync going on since when they open My Documents, they are working directly on their server directory:

For me My Documents points to \\main_server\users\DolGuldur

The best way to automate this process is via Group policy if you,re using Active Directory.

Hope this helps!
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Expert Comment

by:bthomasian
ID: 16273872
I did this using offline folders and redirecting the My Documents, Favorites and even the Desktop to the File server, this way the files are both local and on the server for backup purposes and it works great for me!
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Expert Comment

by:sseibert
ID: 16274299
1. No you do not have to have roaming profiles enabled at all.

2. You can turn off the synchronization by going to start -> run -> mobsync.exe. In the box which pops up, click the setup button at the bottom. Uncheck the boxes which state Synchronize when I log on to my computer, and synchronize when I log off of my computer. Click OK, and then click close. This will stop any synchronization from occurring at log off or log on.
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Expert Comment

by:NetAdmin2436
ID: 16274504
The issue is Offline Files

By default with folder redirection in your domain policy it automatically uses offline files and folders and synch's. Like you say if you have users with huge amounts of data in My Documents, this can be painfully slow.

In your domain policy, if you go to computer configuration --> administrative templates --> network --> Offline files -->allow or disallow use of the offline feature. Disable this.


Hope this helps.
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by:NetAdmin2436
ID: 16274569
Actually there are many differnet ways to configure your offline files in the domain policy computer configuration --> administrative templates --> network --> Offline files -->

You will be able to set what offline policy's work best for you. Take a look
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Author Comment

by:TeknoSDS
ID: 16275307
DolGuldur: How do I disable roaming profiles but still do folder redirection?

How do I redirect the My Documents folder toward the network share of the user without the syncing process?  

I think that your soluytion is best for us because we will be backing up daily. Thanks in advance for your future response.
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Expert Comment

by:DolGuldur
ID: 16276765
To do the folder redirection, you need to do it via Group Policy, I don't have a domain controller with me right now so if you can wait til tomorrow morning, I'll get back to you with the details!
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NetAdmin2436 earned 500 total points
ID: 16277398
ok, starting from the beggining.......

The the snyc issues has to do with Offline Files. My above comments will fix the syncing issue as well but here it is again. Either computer configuration or user configuration in group policy will do the job ridding sync issues. Note: Computer configuration takes precendent if they both have conflicting settings.

in group policy go to User configuration --> Administrative Templates --> Network --> Offline Files --> Do not automatically make redirected folders available offline. Enable this and there will be No syncing.  

There are a number of different configurations under the offline files as well, depending if you want to get rid of offline files all together, want it available if a user wants to manually sync with another file or folder, sync only file/folders you specify..ect.

To redirect your My Documents you need to go to your domain group policy drill down to User configuration --> Windows Settings --> Folder Redirection --> My Documents --> properties -->\\Server\Users. Then under 'target folder location' Make sure Create a folder for each user under the root path. 'Root Path' should be \\Server\Users. On the settings tab, check 'Move the contents of my documents to the new location'.

This will redirect the users 'My documents' to there newly created user share folder on the server.

you can force a group policy update if you are in a hurry to refresh the policy's you just created. start --> run --> gpupdate

I have my network setup like this, redirecting 'My Documents' to the users folder AND not ever snycing. All automated, no mess.

As far as the roaming profiles are concerned. You don't have to have them if you don't want. In active directory, go to properties of each user, profile tab. There you can delete it. I don't know of an automated process to delete these.
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by:DolGuldur
ID: 16279240
NetAdmin2436 sums it up! Before applying this policy, check your free disk space on your server since some of your user have 5 gigs in their folder you might fill the server hard disk. If you need space, ask them to do some cleaning before creating the policy!
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Author Comment

by:TeknoSDS
ID: 16280956
So with NetAdmin2436's instructions I will have to make a folder for EACH user?

And this folder will automatically be read from the local computer as My Documents, without copying the files each time? So if a user goes to My Documents to look for Random.XLS, he sees it there as if it were local but it pulls from and saves to the network drive blindly? I just need a little clarification.
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Author Comment

by:TeknoSDS
ID: 16280990
Is there anyway to have it automatically create a folder for each user?
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by:DolGuldur
ID: 16280996
No, the GPO will create the folder when applying the settings.

And yes, the files will now be on the remote folder, copied only once. The file they will see when opening My Docs will be in their network share. Try this setting only on your user, before applying it to all authenticated users. you will be able to see the results and judge from that if it's what you want to achieve!
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by:DolGuldur
ID: 16281039
My last post was regarding your post from 10:31. Just to clarify :)
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by:TeknoSDS
ID: 16283368
Okay, I believe I got it working for the Desktops.. but my issue now is with the Laptops we have. We have a couple users with laptops. When they travel outside the office, they need access to their My Documents, but since they aren't here, they won't be able to access their network share.

What can I do to give them access? All help is appreciated as always.
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by:DolGuldur
ID: 16283398
I think a synchronization would be better for the laptops since they work outside the domain sometimes. They will always have their files available and when they'll come back to the office, the synchronization will do the job of putting new stuff on their server's share.
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by:TeknoSDS
ID: 16283424
So I'd have to set up a different GPO for the Laptop users so that everytime they log on and off it SYNCs?

Additionally , as far as the roaming profiles, I went to the user profiles and the profiles tab and there was nothing in there. Does that mean it's disabled? It's quite odd because even though nothing is there I can user my Username to log on from anywhere.
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by:DolGuldur
ID: 16283513
Roaming profile doesn't mean that you can log from anywhere. It means that your user profile is stored on a server and whichever computer you use to log on, your profile will load for that server instead of the computer on which you are logging.

For the laptops, you would need to exclude them from the other GPO and the  create one from them. If you don't have a lot of laptops, you can simply configure the laptops directly for file sync. Choose the easiest solution for your needs!
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by:DolGuldur
ID: 16283520
I just reread my last post, sorry for all the typos!! I guess it's because it's friday and my brain is already on vacation... :P
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by:NetAdmin2436
ID: 16283572
When you log into a different computer, is your desktop items, internet explorer favorites, ect, still there? I think your getting mixed up with this roaming profile thing.

You should be able to log in from any computer with your username/password (except servers themselves). This is NOT a roaming profile.
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Author Comment

by:TeknoSDS
ID: 16283585
So with AD, if you have a username u can basically log on from any pc on the domain, regardless of roaming profiles? I'm confused.
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by:NetAdmin2436
ID: 16283644
Yes
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by:NetAdmin2436
ID: 16283673
By default with active directory you can log in from any computer. Unless you created specific policy's against this or setup computers, you should be able to log in from any computers on the domain.
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by:TeknoSDS
ID: 16283815
so what exactly is the advantages or disadvantages of roaming profiles?
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by:DolGuldur
ID: 16283849
The advantage is that no matter where you are logging to, if you use roaming profile, you will get the same settings. If not, you will get the settings from the profile created locally on the computer you are logged to.
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by:DolGuldur
ID: 16283872
Take a look at this article, it explains what roaming profile is about and what are the benefits:

http://www.windowsdevcenter.com/pub/a/windows/2005/02/01/rmng_usr.html

It can be useful.
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by:NetAdmin2436
ID: 16283910
Used mostly by IT/IS people who log onto different computer frequently. This saves desktop/profile settings so they can quickly access what they need without 're-setting' their desktop/profile enviroment each time they log on to a different computer.
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Author Comment

by:TeknoSDS
ID: 16283972
Thanks a lot people. You guys are the best.
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by:DolGuldur
ID: 16283974
You're welcome, glad we could help! :)
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