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Offline Files Synchronization

Here's a problem I've been working on for the last two days, and I have yet to find a solution.  Any help is greatly appreciated.  Currently, we are using Windows Server 2003 Standard, and all of our clients are XP Professional.

We recently decided to start using Folder Direction via GPO on our laptop users.  We are redirecting their desktops and My Docs to a folder on a file server.  The root folder is shared and Domain Users has full control.  Within the root folder, each user has a folder where the desktop and My Docs directories exist.

Here's the issue we're running into:  synchronization is only going one way.  If a user is offline, and they create/edit a file, this file will get uploaded/updated on the server.  However, if the user is ONLINE, and creates/edits a file, those changes are NOT reflected when the user goes offline and is viewing their offline folder files.  Effectively, any work a user does while online to any documents on their desktop or within their My Docs folder is unavailable offline, which I'm sure I don't have to say, is a huge problem.

I've been slamming my head against my desk trying to figure this out.  Does anyone have any insight as to why this may be happening?
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AGHLLC
Asked:
AGHLLC
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1 Solution
 
wantabe2Commented:
Hello,
I set up offline files for over 200 users last year with Win XP Pro & Win 2003 as the file server. I'm not going to ask you in detail but here's how I did it.

Each user has their own folder on the network we'll call their G drive. I right clicked the my documents folder on the desktop & chose properties. I then deleted the file path & gut g: & hit apply & then clicked OK. I then right clicked the my documenst folder & chose make available offline & then hit OK. Then the sync will start, this may take a while the first time if the user has alot of data. Make sure you have offline files enabled:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307853

You can do this via group policy. I did run into a few crazy issues while doing but its pretty much cut & dry.  Let me know what happens, I'll be glad to help.
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AGHLLCAuthor Commented:
I would prefer to figure out what the issue is regarding Group Policy, rather than attempt to set this up manually on ten or twelve different machines.

The problem is not that the GPO isn't applying - it's that it's not applying correctly.  As originally stated, a user is able to work all day long online while being connected to the server with zero issues.  However, once a user goes offline and attempts to edit newly created files, they are unable to access those new files.

If it provides any more insight into the issue, when viewing the 'Offline Files Folder' in XP, under the 'Access' column, nearly all files have 'User R/W' when logged in as the primary user of the machine.  However, NEWLY CREATED files (that is, files created after this redirection policy was applied) have NOTHING under the 'Access' column.  It's completely blank - and I'm sure this is the root of my problem, I just have no idea how to solve it.
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pzozulkaCommented:
Just for the sake of testing, and process of elimination, can you please go to My Computer --> Tools --> Synchronize --> Setup --> Logon/Logoff tab.

Are both of the following checked? Please make sure that they are.

When I log on to my computer
When I log off my computer

Also, under Synchronize the following checked items, make sure all is checked.
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johnb6767Commented:
You mention Primary user....

Do multiple users use the laptops?

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AGHLLCAuthor Commented:
@pzozulka - Yes, both are checked.

@johnb6767 - Not regularly - users may occassionally log on to each other's machine (once in a six month period, if that), but the primary user is basically the only user who uses the machine.

It's a really strange issue, and I have a feeling it has something to do with permissions, but the permissions all seem to be set correctly.
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pzozulkaCommented:
If it was permissions, wouldn't the user profile exhibit the same behavior at all times. Either way, if you feel it might be a permissions related issue, see whether the user is also the owner of his profile, including desktop, my documents. Also, make sure he/she has full access.
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johnb6767Commented:
Folder Options>Offline Files>View Files

Under the synchronization column, does it show that some files are "Modified Offline", "Only local copy exists? or are they all "File is synchronized"?
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johnb6767Commented:
In the registry.....

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

Whats the values for "Personal" and "Desktop"?
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AGHLLCAuthor Commented:
@johnb6767 - 'Local copy is incomplete' for all files created AFTER the GPO for redirection was applied.  Additionally, 'Access' column is blank.  Both registry keys are '\\FILESERVER\Employee Data\username\Desktop' and '\\FILESERVER\Employee Data\username\My Documents' respectively.
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johnb6767Commented:
Start>run>mobsync /logon

Do you get any errors?
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AGHLLCAuthor Commented:
@johnb6767 - No errors.  The hour glass appears for about half a second, then disappears - no activity after that.  Additionally, nothing is logged in the event log (not sure if that's pertinent or not).

It appears this may require a call to Microsoft Tech Support, as no one seems to have run into this issue before.
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AGHLLCAuthor Commented:
Just wanted to give this topic one more reply before calling Microsoft Tech Support.  Any info anyone can provide would be helpful, as MS will most likely be an all day affair.
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johnb6767Commented:
2 things......

1.
I would start with the System File Checker...

Start>run>cmd.exe

sfc /purgecache

You WILL need the XP CD for this to complete...

Scannow sfc
http://www.updatexp.com/scannow-sfc.html
   
2. Maybe you have some permissions problems on the local machine.....
RegMon for Windows v7.04
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/utilities/regmon.mspx

FileMon for Windows v7.04
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/FileAndDisk/Filemon.mspx

Set the filter at the top to Include "mobsync.exe", to highlight "access denied", and then try and recreate the errors by launching the synch..........Then go to these apps, and look for the red, and it will tell you where the permissions are shot. Open up those areas for "Users" and then test.....

Or even use the new and improved utility form Sysinternals, that contains them both....

Process Monitor v1.22
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/utilities/processmonitor.mspx


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AGHLLCAuthor Commented:
@johnb6767 - Tried your suggestions; unfortunately, we're still experiencing the same behavior.  An sfc /scannow returned no results and completed without any error messages.  When looking at the processes via RegMon and FileMon, no 'access denied' entries are returned when using the filter.

We are contacting Microsoft Support today and hopefully they'll be able to give us a solution to resolve the issue.  I will definitely post the findings here.  Thanks again to all of you guys for your replies!
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johnb6767Commented:
Im stumped.... They will probbaly run you through using cscsniff.exe, which normally isnt available from the web (cant find it readily now...), but it tells you the status of the CSC, and Offline Files state in general....
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AGHLLCAuthor Commented:
Been working with Microsoft for a week now - still no resolution.  We have narrowed the problem down to specifically our file server being the culprit, as folder redirection was tested and works fine on two shares on two separate other servers.

Again, I'll post here when a resolution is reached (I guess at this point I should say if).
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AGHLLCAuthor Commented:
You won't believe this - but the solution was really, really simple.  Under the Sharing tab on a shared folder is a Caching button.  Clicking this button revealed that Offline Caching was disabled for the folder in question.  Enabling Offline Caching on this share fixed the issue.

DUH!  I can't believe we couldn't figure that one out.  Oh well - it's resolved now.
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