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Deleted user files reappear with every new session

Posted on 2008-10-11
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-23
I have Server A (Windows 2003 sbs) with 28 workstations, A-1 to A-28,
and Server B (Windows 2003 sbs) with 6 workstations, B-1 to B-6.

Similar setup, 2 separate networks, in 2 offices, withing the same company. The server are file and print servers, and Domain Controllers for the network. Users have roaming profiles, with My Documents and Desktop mapped directly to the user share on the server.

Network-A runs great, no problems.
Network-B shows some unusual ehavior: if User-B1 deletes a file from his account, the file disappears as it should. Then User-B1 logs off, logs back on, and the deleted file is back in his account! This happens to all deleted files.

Now I figured there is a problem with ther server, so I decided to eliminate Server-B. I moved all user files from it to Sever-A, removed all workstations B-1 to B-6, and added new workstations to network-A. One server, one network, one love.

To my surprise, the B users, having new workstations, connected to a completely different server, start experiencing the same reappearing-file behavior!.

Not only that, but to really get me confused: same server, the B users experience the strange bahavior, whle the A users have no problems whatsoever.

What gives? Thanks
Question by:Ronino
  • 6
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Expert Comment

ID: 22695949
Sounds like a file permissions issue possibly. You may want to go into the permissions of the share and "reapply" them?
Also check for FRS, DNS, and group policies that may be affecting the accounts.
Were these two seperate domains, on two seperate domain controllers?
Did you recreate the new users on the Domain A DC?


Expert Comment

ID: 22696544
not to me! it sounds more like those account are using mandatory profiles

Author Comment

ID: 22697023

I checked and double checked permissions. Also, they have no problem modifying files.

Another good one: Mack tried to delete Memo_1.doc, and failed 3 times. Then he decided to just rename it Memo_1_old.doc. Next time he logged in, he had BOTH a Memo_1.doc and a Memo_1_old.doc

These used to be 2 separate domains. Now B users and A users are under the same group... with same group policies. What else can I check for?

Yes, I fully recreated B users on the A domain.

FRS? What does DNS have to do with this?

Mandatory profiles... NTuser.dat still has the *.dat extension, and the user folder name doesn't have any *.man in it (to make it super-mandatory)

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Expert Comment

ID: 22698056
When you copied the files from server B to server A, did you take ownership of them?
The system doesn't have any kind of third-part file protection loaded on the server or workstations, does it?

Author Comment

ID: 22699311
Invastigating further....

It turns out Server A users had local profiles, and GPO set for
Folder Redirection: Basic Redirection
Desktop > \\ServerA\UserFiles\%USERNAME%\Desktop
My Documents >  \\ServerA\UserFiles\%USERNAME%\My Documents

That works for A-Users. Unfortunately B-Users move around offices all the time, so they need roaming profiles.

When I log in as James, I pay attention to 3 folders
(1)> My Documents
(2)> \\ServerA\UserFiles\James\My Documents
(3)> c:\Documents and Settings\James\My Documents

I go to (1), and try to delete Memo_1.doc. It disappears as it should.
It also disappears in (2), on the server, BUT !! it does NOT dissappear in (3) !!

So as soon as I log James off the computer, the locally-stored roaming profile from (3) gets copied on top of the server profile, (2), and puts the deleted file back in the folder.

So I tried to use a new GPO:
User Configuration > 
   Administrative Templates >
      System > 
          User Profiles >
               Exclude directories in roaming profile:    Enabled    (My Documents; Desktop; )

I figured, this will stop copying those folders back and forth. Whenever James clicks on My Documents on the desktop, anyway, he sees
      \\ServerA\UserFiles\James\My Documents
so there won't be a MyDocuments folder in the locally stored  profile to interfere

Result: Wrong. What this did, it copied My Documents and Desktop down to the workstation when James logged in.
    Then when James logged off, it deleted My Documents and Desktop from

So how do I make the local profile stop interfereing with \\ServerA\UserFiles\%USERNAME%\Desktop and Documents???

Expert Comment

ID: 22699392
I have also seen this happen if you have a roaming profile stored on the
server in the same location as a redirected my documents -- both to
\\<ServerName>\%Username% perhaps.

When you delete the desktop icon, it goes away from the desktop and server,
but because the server location is set to sync on logoff, the server sees the
file version in the offline version stored in the user profile directory in
My Documents on the local computer and puts it back on the server location.
Then, the next time you log in, it will see the file back in the server copy
of the desktop folder and push it to the desktop making it reappear.

I have seen this happen a few time in places where they had roaming profiles
working and thought to use some of the features of folder redirection for My
Documents or the like and didn't realize that they were sending them to the
same place. The offline synchronization kicks in a makes a bit of a circular

The Fix: In the short term, the file will go away if you delete it in both
locations. In the long term, you will need to move folder redirections to a
location outside of the roaming profile.

Author Comment

ID: 22699484

That is not an option I'm afraid. All A-users (who have local profiles) have no problems whatsoever, and they are more numerous by a factor of 5.

A-users include office management, they would be annoyed in a major way if "I change the computer system when everything is working fine"...

I have to figure out how to exclude MyDocs and Desktop from the profile sync process.

Accepted Solution

thecomputerdocs earned 1350 total points
ID: 22699640
I'm referring to making sure the mydocuments redirection isn't within the same folder as the roaming profile.
Make sure they are kept completely seperate from each other. The GPO will just point to the different locations.
If you are sure they aren't, let's move on and look for any other ideas.

Author Comment

ID: 22700643

1. yes, they are in the same folder
2. I thought I won't be able to separate them, because that would affect users in group B

Nevermind, though, I will readjust groups and apply different redirection GPOs to Ausers and Busers. Thanks, I'll get to do that on Tuesday and report back.

Expert Comment

ID: 22701616
ok, good luck....look forward to seeing if it works.

Author Comment

ID: 22786754

This is becoming a Terminator-2 style man-vs-machine battle! (including apocalyptic scenes of end users' files having to be restored from offsite backup)

The GPO object that handled all folder redirection... I removed "domain users" from the scope, and added "A-users".

Then I created another GPO object for B-users only, with folder redirection to their new location, "D:\B-group\Docs and Desks redirects."

After multiple login / logout attempts, restarts, gpupdate's and so forth, still no result. Everytime a B-user logged in, he got the same old folder redirect.

When I tried rsop.msc, it even told me that the redirection policy is
my documents > \\server\old-share\%username%\My Documents

but it didn't  tell me which GPO was causing that (GPO = '           ')

(Upon reverting, permissions / ownership hell ensued, but that's another story...)

Ok, how do I fix this GPO / redirect to a separate folder share? Why won't it let me change it? Is it because it's SBS2003 ??
any help would be appreciated

Author Comment

ID: 22863285

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