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Folder Redirection in a Win2003 *standalone* server?

Posted on 2008-11-02
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
We have an office with about 25 users on WinXP

The main reason we got the Windows 2003 Server is to have all users files saved on the server and not locally, so we can centralize the backup of files and control access.

Can we enable Folder Redirection for all users when the server is setup as a standalone server, and not a Domain Controller?

The server is a HP Proliant ML150 G5 (Quad Xeon E5405), 4GB, 750GB storage.

We would like to avoid the Domain Controller functionality
1) because of the additional complexity/maintenance required and
2) because a second DC to mirror the first DC would be required for failover in case the Proliant fails.

Thoughts?
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Question by:george82
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4 Comments
 
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:JohnGerhardt
ID: 22861072
All you need to do is create a share on the server that is accessible by the users and then point them to use it...
You can redirect "My Documents" manually by right clicking on it and then choosing a location on a network share...
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LVL 18

Assisted Solution

by:Andrej Pirman
Andrej Pirman earned 300 total points
ID: 22861120
I would suggest going with AD Domain functionality for easier and centralised management. If your main Proliant fails, you would have the same malfunction in both cases - redirected folders will not be available, while with proper setup users will still be able to browse internet and work locally.

For independancy reasons (not because I do not trust Microsoft, but because it is not reliable enough) I do not prefer folder redirections in my setups, but rather use a simple BATCH script on server side (either in AD config, or in WORKGROUP, doesn't matter), which runs every 10-60 minutes and uses xcopy command to copy all changed files from all user's "My Documents" folders to server (...and clears Archive attribute).
Doing so, I have independant clients, either with notebooks, or with standalone workstations, which have a copy of "My Documents" on server, where centralised backup is running. Also, this mechanism does not rely on MS (complex) machanisms, and has never failed as by my experience. You just need to alter the script each time new user is added.
Alongside I direct users to have My Documents on D:\ drive, and to store all relevant documents there.
If you are NOT using AD Domain environment, you also need to add server's Administrator account to "Local Users and Groups" on each client, and allow full access to "D:\MyDocuments" folder.
@ECHO OFF
XCOPY "\\COMPUTER1\d$\MyDocuments" "D:\UserBackups\COMPUTER1\MyDocuments" /M /E /R /Z /Y
XCOPY "\\COMPUTER2\d$\MyDocuments" "D:\UserBackups\COMPUTER2\MyDocuments" /M /E /R /Z /Y
XCOPY "\\COMPUTER3\d$\MyDocuments" "D:\UserBackups\COMPUTER3\MyDocuments" /M /E /R /Z /Y
....etc

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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Andrej Pirman
ID: 22861129
Sorry, mistake in my text:
I was not refering to "folder redirection" but to "offline files synchronisation" mechanism, which must be used in your case when customer's computer is portable (notebook). That was the whole point of my suggestion :)
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LVL 96

Accepted Solution

by:
Lee W, MVP earned 450 total points
ID: 22862806
We would like to avoid the Domain Controller functionality1) because of the additional complexity/maintenance required and2) because a second DC to mirror the first DC would be required for failover in case the Proliant fails.

This is silly.
1.  There is no significant additional maintenance - in fact, it should REDUCE the maintenance and complexity of your configuration.  Instead of having users manage passwords on potentially as many as 25 different machines, their passwords are centrally stored and managed on one server.  The only thing you have to do is setup the user accounts and make sure the DNS is set correctly after joining each machine to the domain.  Then you can actually have (or begin to have) a secure network.  Indeed, I find workgroups of ANY size a pain in the *ss to manage - Domains make things far simpler.  Case in point:  Yes, you can go to 25 different systems and tweak the settings so your folders are redirected to the server.  OR in a domain, you can just make the setting once in a couple of minutes and change it everywhere - or with SLIGHT bit more management, change it only on selected systems... Then what happens when you want to change it back or decide to move it to a new server you just purchased... you go to 25 computers again and waste still more time... and not just time... you could get sloppy - perhaps on one or two systems, you mistype letters when you try to map the drive... now you've got a couple of systems that don't work and you don't easily know why.

2.  Who said a second DC would be required.  If the Proliant fails now, doesn't your business stop anyway?  Users can still log on to a domain if the server is down PROVIDED they logged on before to that same computer... but really, if all the files are stored on the server, aren't they unable to work anyway, regardless of domain or workgroup state?
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