Backup documents on server but not locate them there

Posted on 2008-06-26
Last Modified: 2010-08-05
I know my question title is confusing but its kind a hard one to describe, but should be easy.

Il keep this fast and simple.
Running server 2003 exchange 2003 on a domain. For our desktops there documents are actual located on the server (We change the location of My Documents on the machines)

For our laptops we do the same thing but you have to use Offline files/Syncing. This causes problems sometimes when they leave the building. What I would like to do is reverse this for the laptops, having the server pull the documents from the laptops when connected into our network. This would ensure they always have access to there files.. but now the problem is in reverse.. the backup might not always be complete. Is there any way by policy or local setting to constantly update the server side with there documents without the use of 3rd party software. We are not against 3rd party but that requires approval and installation and ect ect.. you get my drift.
Question by:ptbguitarman
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LVL 58

Accepted Solution

tigermatt earned 125 total points
ID: 21878580
No... I can guarantee that if you even attempt to do this using some form of server-side software, you are going to get into an awful mess which will complicate your scenario even more than it is at the moment. What exactly are your issues with the Offline Files functionality in Windows XP and Vista? You should pursue this instead, and have the documents sync'd from laptop to server.

The only potential workaround is to use some form of scheduled task on the laptops to copy the entire documents folder off to the server - but this is by no means an efficient method of doing it because it will copy the entire documents folder each time. Whereas offline files synchronizes the files to only upload the changes, a copy in this fashion would eat bandwidth by transferring the entire folder back to the server.

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Expert Comment

by:Casey Herman
ID: 21878652
Before you start this process..... map the documents back to the local machine.  I have seen it several times
if you don't do this it will create a folder, within a folder, within a folder ,and so on..... So VERY important to do that first.

start--->run--->mmc--->file---->Add/Remove Snap in
Click Add--->Select Group Policy Object Editor--->Click Add--->Then Browse--->then Select Default Domain Policy
Click OK---> Then Finish---> Then Close----Then OK

My Document Redirection

User Configuration/Windows Settings/Folder Redirection/
Right click on my documents properties.
Set to basic then edit path.
Root path should be

ex. \\test\users\ It will map a user folder under this location then add a mydocs folder to it.

Offline Files and Folders

User Configuration/administrative templates/network/offline files

Enable - all three synchs
Enable - Turn off reminder balloons

gpupdate /force on the server command line and on the workstation

No third part software.

LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 21878661
Casey: the author already has that setup in process, using Offline Files synchronization for the laptop users. They are specifically asking to reverse the way it works, and my first comment still applies.
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Casey Herman
ID: 21878984
I agree... but offline files and folders will synch the docs in both places.  So if the workstation dies they are on the server and the server dies they are on the workstation.
LVL 58

Expert Comment

ID: 21879019
I was trying to make that point too :-)
What the author actually wants to do by pulling the docs from the laptop isn't what I would recommend nor is easily possible.

Author Comment

ID: 21918796
Ok well, what your saying is its not really possible what im looking for, or a good idea anyway.

The problem I have with offline files in VISTA is simple, Vista sucks, it corrupts files. I know what your thinking, I dont know what im talking about and vista doesnt do that.. let me tell you why I think it does.

We have over a 100 people in the building using laptops and desktops. Few have vista, few have laptops and vista, only 1 right now is using vista on a laptop that actuley takes the laptop outside the building.

That client kept having corrupt file problems, I couldn't figure out for the life of me why it was happening. So the only thing I had to go on was Offline Files. I switched her to a 3rd party application called Good Sync. I haven't heard anything from her since. This leads me to believe it was Vista's Offline Files. The only thing I need now to be absolutely sure is more clients that use Vista laptops outside the building. If they run into corrupt files, I know its not a USER error and that it is indeed vistas offline files.

XP offline files is seemingly working fine and I don't really need to worry about that. I guess my real problem is Vistas Offline files, and im just looking for a better and easier way to sync laptops to the server. I think that mabye adjusting the offline files rules may help (Perhaps there unplugging from the network before logging off and not allowing the laptop to sync). I just wish there was some kind of active way to constantly keep the server in sync while there connected to the network, the worst thing that can happen is they leave the building and find they dont have the file they just worked on.


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