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Folder Redirection - Multiple users on same machine

Posted on 2008-10-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Hello,

I manage a small network of 12 XP machines and 1 Windows 2003 server.  I have successfully set up folder redirection for desktops and my documents using group policy.  It works just fine.  There is an issue however when multiple users share a workstation.  When file synchronization begins for each user it then tries to sync BOTH users files.  Clearing the offline file cache before syncing solves the issue, at least for that sync.  Basically the offline file cache is holding files for both users and trying to sync those files for both users.  It will then give errors when it tries to sync the wrong users files, because the current user doesn't have permission.  Is there a way to make it so that only the CURRENT user's files are synced?

Thanks,
ShadowInq
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Question by:ShadowInq
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:waynewilliams
ID: 22672901
This behaviour is by design.  The XP offline files cache is in a hidden folder called "CSC" (Client Side Caching) and is set per-pc not per user. ie there is only one CSC folder for the whole PC and NOT one for each user profile.  Unfortunately I dont believe there is any way to change this.


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Author Comment

by:ShadowInq
ID: 22672939
This is what I was thinking.  Thanks for your answer!
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:ifmtech
ID: 22673036
If the only shared computers are desktops, you could turn off the file synchronization altogether since they won't be taking the computer anywhere off of the network.  Just leave it setup for the laptop users who most likely are not sharing computers.  This way the laptop users can still access their files off-line and the desktop users will stop receiving errors.
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Author Comment

by:ShadowInq
ID: 22673066
The reason I have the sync is for backup purposes.  I like having everyone's data on the our server which is backed up nightly and has a RAID 1+0 of SAS drivers.  I also like having it so users can go to different PC's and still access their files.
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Expert Comment

by:dwstovall
ID: 22673354
ShadowInq,

I have been wrestling with a similar issue myself.  We have roughly 200 XP/VISTA clients on a 2003 Server network.  I wanted to redirect all "My Documents" as part of a new file server project.  

My first issue was that XP packs all "Special Folders" (My Music, My Pictures, My Videos) into the "My Documents" - problem, I didn't want to be backing up 400 gigs of music and pictures.  So, I use a script that creates "MyLocalData" on the %userprofile% and I redirect the "Special Folders" there and create shortcuts like "MyMusic.lnk" (minus the space between My and Music - important) back in the "My Documents" folder - gives the user something familiar in which to throw gigs of music files.  The special folders are redirected via the script in the key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

Once that's done (redirecting the special folders), the script make the user a member of a SecurityGroup.  The Security Group is used in conjunction with the GPO that redirects users' My Documents to the file server location.

The script also moves and remaps PST files so we don't get the annoyance of off-line files balking about the PSTs.

I have recently encountered the issue of users logging on to multiple machines.  I does create a bit of a problem as it tries to sync cached files.

I am about a half day away from doing one of two:
- rewriting the script to handle all of the My Documents redirection (not using the GPO method which automatically turns on off-line files sync; or
- turning off cached files with this:
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\NetCacheEnabled=1

Turning off the cached files is a little less safe, in case you lose the files on the server; but I'm thinking that it might reduce network traffic and I always have backups...right?

Let me know if you want to see the script.

DavidS
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Author Comment

by:ShadowInq
ID: 22673484
So doing this

- turning off cached files with this:
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\NetCacheEnabled=1

turns of caching local copies, but gives access to the files on the server?
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:ifmtech
ID: 22673615
Yes, you do not have to synchronize or cache the files in order to access them.
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Accepted Solution

by:
dwstovall earned 125 total points
ID: 22673617
Actually, I would change the "1" to a "0".

This is my plan, but I have not tried it on a large scale yet.  

When you redirect the contents of My Documents, you can do it one of two ways - via GPO specification, which automatically turns on file caching (as I am told); or by manually mapping the remote location by putting the path in the "Target:" (right click on My Documents, and click the Target tab.)  When you apply the target path manually, it asks if you want to move the My Document files and folders to the new location.  The files are then moved and it creates the link - there is no synchronization per se unless you turn on file caching and it creates a local copy of the files - those are then sync'd - otherwise, if the caching is turned off, no synching, you just work directly with the remote folder with a name space of My Documents.

Al least that's my understanding of the issue.
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Author Comment

by:ShadowInq
ID: 22673648
Aye I see.  I'll try these options out and see how they fair.  I did it via GPO because it was easy :).  Turning off the caching for a couple of machines in my case may be the way to go.
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Author Comment

by:ShadowInq
ID: 22678972
I also have found a GPO setting under Computer Configuration -> Admin templates -> Network -> Offline files.  The setting is At logoff, delete local copy of user's offline files.  This would work in theory by clearing the offline cache at logoff, so the next person to logon won't have any errors.  Makes sense for workstations.
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