My Documents redirection, Offline files, laptops and syncronization issues

Posted on 2006-05-04
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I have a small network that consists of 7 XP pro desktops, 2 XP pro laptops, and 1 SBS2003 Server. I recently (3-4 weeks ago) enabled "My Documents" redirection for all users in the domain. I disabled "Offline Files" on the 7 desktops, but left it enabled on the 2 laptops. Everything seemed to be working just fine until about two days ago, one of the laptops started giving "Sycronization Failed" messages. It comes up with a long list of files (.mdb, .dbf, .dbk, extensions) and says they cannot be made available offline. Why was it not a problem before? I did not change anything before this started.

The laptop is used by one of my techs to program and calibrate machinery that we manufacture, sometimes out in the field. The files in question are the program files for the PLC's and HMI's. I need them backed up regularly and available when not logged into the domain. My understanding was that "My Documents redirection" and "Offline files" was a perfect fit. My guy has access to his files at all times AND they get backed up regularly with everything else on the server. Like I said everything seemd to be working as planned until this week, yet I haven't changed anything.

If the redirection and offline files just plain will not work is there another laptop backup/access solution that can be implemented? Preferrably one that would not require the user to initiate. The only directory I am worried about is "My Documents" that is where everything important is stored.

Currently I have disabled "offline files" on the laptop so at least I know everything important is residing on the server and being backed up. I also have a network drop in the area he needs to use computer on the shop floor, that covers me in house but obviously will not work out in the field.

Any help would be appreciated.
Question by:esingleton
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    By default, certain files are excluded from being shyncronized.

    Take a look at this to see the list of files exclude and take action accordingly:

    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Your techs (2 laptops) should place their Access databases (.mdb, .mde,etc) outside the My Documents folder (move them) and create a replica of that db in the server. When they are in the office, simply have them synchronized their db's with the replica in the server. Just a suggestion

    Author Comment

    I looked at the article you linked to and it explains why it is not working, thank you. The files we need to work with are .mdb, .dbf, and .dbk extensions. They are various parts of the logic for the PLC's and OS for the HMI's. Both programs are written, modified, and uploaded through the component manufacturers software. I do not know of an easy way to syncronize two copies of the files. I also do not know enough about the programming software to know what exactly each file is. I think I have some homework to do.

    What would happen if I edit the exclusion list to no longer include the three file extensions in question? We do not use Access or anything else that uses those file extensions that I know of.
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Nothing. The files are NOT being synchronized anyways, it's just annoying to have those offline synchronization errors. Have your techs move files with the three extensions out of the "My Documents" folder and if they use any of those files when out in the field, then have them leave a copy in your office server once they come in. REgards.

    Author Comment

    I understand that they are not being syncronized now. What I meant was if I edit the excluded extension list so that it no longer includes .mdb, .dbf and .dbk will they then sync? Is that type of file impossible to syncronize? From my reading it sounds like it might ask which version I want to use which could be quite tedious.

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