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Favorites Folder Redirection with GPO

Posted on 2009-04-02
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I'm trying to redirect all my users "Favorites" to their folders on the domain controller (domaincontroller). I ran across this on another site, so I've done everything there and still don't see a "Favorites" folder in my user folder on the domain controller (I am using myself as a test. I've created an OU "Test Users" and put myself in there. I added the default doman policy, changed the name, and added the "Favorites" administrative template to the policy.

Procedure completed (create a .adm file in notepad):

CLASS USER
CATEGORY !!WindowsComponents
CATEGORY !!InternetExplorer
CATEGORY !!IE_Favorites
KEYNAME "Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer \User Shell Folders"

POLICY !!IE_Favorites
#if version >= 4
SUPPORTED !!SUPPORTED_IE5
#endif

EXPLAIN !!IE_Favorites_Location_Explain

PART !!IE_Favorites_Location_Tip1 TEXT
END PART

PART !!IE_Favorites_Location EDITTEXT EXPANDABLETEXT
VALUENAME Favorites
DEFAULT %USERPROFILE%\Favorites
;; MAXLEN 120
REQUIRED
END PART
END POLICY

END CATEGORY ;; IE_Favorites
END CATEGORY ;; Internet Explorer
END CATEGORY ;; WindowsComponents


[strings]

WindowsComponents="Windows Components"
IE_Favorites="Location of Internet Explorer Favorites"
IE_Favorites_Location="The path to the favorites folder"
IE_Favorites_Location_Explain="Specify the path to the location of favorites. You can use variables like %USERPROFILE%, %USERNAME%, etc... Both local and UNC path are valid."
IE_Favorites_Location_Tip1="Specify the UNC path to the favorites location"
InternetExplorer="Internet Explorer"
SUPPORTED_IE5="at least Internet Explorer v5.01"

Once I created this file. I added it to Default Domain Policy in the "User Configuration" "Administrative Templates" section.
This has to be done to see the policy setting:
After you add the custom administrative template and in the GPO editor uncheck:
View->Filtering->Only show policy settings that can be fully managed, you will find the settings you are interested in at the location shown in the picture.

I enable the setting and give this as the unc path for the redirection...
\\domaincontroller\Users$\%USERNAME%\Favorites

When I force the gpupdate in the command prompt I don't see the "Favorites" folder in my folder on the server. I've also restarted and logged out and back in numerous times. I can't figure out what has went wrong. The guy that created the file above said his works perfectly.
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Question by:fnbtech
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Assisted Solution

by:Abhay Pujari
Abhay Pujari earned 20 total points
ID: 24050003
Have you tried gpupdate on your machine? Are there any errors on your machine in the event viewer? Have you tried gpresult and RSOP?
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Author Comment

by:fnbtech
ID: 24050147
I have opened the command prompt and ran gpupdate /force. No errors regarding this issue in the event viewer. What is RSOP? I ran gpresult and this is what I get:

Microsoft (R) Windows (R) XP Operating System Group Policy Result tool v2.0
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corp. 1981-2001
Created On 4/2/2009 at 9:16:35 AM

RSOP results for domain\userid on machinename : Logging Mode
-----------------------------------------------------------
OS Type:                     Microsoft Windows XP Professional
OS Configuration:            Member Workstation
OS Version:                  5.1.2600
Domain Name:                 Domain
Domain Type:                 Windows 2000
Site Name:                   Main
Roaming Profile:
Local Profile:               C:\Documents and Settings\username
Connected over a slow link?: No

COMPUTER SETTINGS
------------------
    CN=machinename,CN=Computers,DC=domain,DC=local
    Last time Group Policy was applied: 4/2/2009 at 7:40:41 AM
    Group Policy was applied from:      domaincontroller.domain.local
    Group Policy slow link threshold:   500 kbps
    Applied Group Policy Objects
    -----------------------------
        Test User Policy
    The following GPOs were not applied because they were filtered out
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
        Local Group Policy
            Filtering:  Not Applied (Empty)
    The computer is a part of the following security groups:
    --------------------------------------------------------
        BUILTIN\Administrators
        Everyone
        BUILTIN\Users
        NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK
        NT AUTHORITY\Authenticated Users
        machinename$
        Domain Computers

USER SETTINGS
--------------
    CN=user,OU=Test Users,DC=domain,DC=local
    Last time Group Policy was applied: 4/2/2009 at 9:15:44 AM
    Group Policy was applied from:      domaincontroller.domain.local
    Group Policy slow link threshold:   500 kbps
    Applied Group Policy Objects
    -----------------------------
        Test User Policy
        Test User Policy
    The following GPOs were not applied because they were filtered out
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
        Local Group Policy
            Filtering:  Not Applied (Empty)
    The user is a part of the following security groups:
    ----------------------------------------------------
        Domain Users
        Everyone
        Remote Desktop Users
        BUILTIN\Users
        BUILTIN\Administrators
        NT AUTHORITY\INTERACTIVE
        NT AUTHORITY\Authenticated Users
        LOCAL
        Domain Admins
        Group Policy Creator Owners
        Enterprise Admins
        DHCP Administrators
        DnsAdmins
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Expert Comment

by:Abhay Pujari
ID: 24050201
RSOP is the Resultant set of policy which shows you what policies are applied to user and in which order. To run this you need to go to active directory users and computers-- then go to this OU, right click it. Point to all tasks and then select resultant set of policy.
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Author Comment

by:fnbtech
ID: 24050327
I ran the RSOP and it shows that the setting should be there, but it doesn't work.
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Expert Comment

by:Abhay Pujari
ID: 24050462
What did it show? Have you created new policy for this OU?
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Author Comment

by:fnbtech
ID: 24050660
Administrative Templates
    Windows Components/Internet Explorer/Location of Internet Explorer Favorites\
        Policy
            Location of Internet Explorer Favorites                                                                                    Enabled
                    Specify the UNC path to the favorites location The path to the favorites folder         \\mainsvr\users$\%USERNAME%\Favorites
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Expert Comment

by:Abhay Pujari
ID: 24050721
"\\mainsvr\users$\%USERNAME%\Favorites" Is this a valid UNC path? As per my logic it should not.
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Author Comment

by:fnbtech
ID: 24050773
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Expert Comment

by:Abhay Pujari
ID: 24050801
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Author Comment

by:fnbtech
ID: 24051703
Here is what everything looks like.
GP-Setting.jpg
GP-Setting2.jpg
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Accepted Solution

by:
fnbtech earned 0 total points
ID: 24053086
I found the answer to my own problem.
all the threads that I have found said this is the way to do it:
CLASS USER
CATEGORY !!WindowsComponents
CATEGORY !!InternetExplorer
CATEGORY !!IE_Favorites
KEYNAME "Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer \User Shell Folders"

POLICY !!IE_Favorites
#if version >= 4
SUPPORTED !!SUPPORTED_IE5
#endif

EXPLAIN !!IE_Favorites_Location_Explain

PART !!IE_Favorites_Location_Tip1 TEXT
END PART

PART !!IE_Favorites_Location EDITTEXT EXPANDABLETEXT
VALUENAME Favorites
DEFAULT %USERPROFILE%\Favorites
;; MAXLEN 120
REQUIRED
END PART
END POLICY

END CATEGORY ;; IE_Favorites
END CATEGORY ;; Internet Explorer
END CATEGORY ;; WindowsComponents


[strings]

WindowsComponents="Windows Components"
IE_Favorites="Location of Internet Explorer Favorites"
IE_Favorites_Location="The path to the favorites folder"
IE_Favorites_Location_Explain="Specify the path to the location of favorites. You can use variables like %USERPROFILE%, %USERNAME%, etc... Both local and UNC path are valid."
IE_Favorites_Location_Tip1="Specify the UNC path to the favorites location"
InternetExplorer="Internet Explorer"
SUPPORTED_IE5="at least Internet Explorer v5.01"
However, I reset the "user shell folder" favorites setting back to original, and made this change:
CLASS USER
CATEGORY !!WindowsComponents
CATEGORY !!InternetExplorer
CATEGORY !!IE_Favorites
KEYNAME "Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer \Shell Folders"

POLICY !!IE_Favorites
#if version >= 4
SUPPORTED !!SUPPORTED_IE5
#endif

EXPLAIN !!IE_Favorites_Location_Explain

PART !!IE_Favorites_Location_Tip1 TEXT
END PART

PART !!IE_Favorites_Location EDITTEXT EXPANDABLETEXT
VALUENAME Favorites
DEFAULT %USERPROFILE%\Favorites
;; MAXLEN 120
REQUIRED
END PART
END POLICY

END CATEGORY ;; IE_Favorites
END CATEGORY ;; Internet Explorer
END CATEGORY ;; WindowsComponents


[strings]

WindowsComponents="Windows Components"
IE_Favorites="Location of Internet Explorer Favorites"
IE_Favorites_Location="The path to the favorites folder"
IE_Favorites_Location_Explain="Specify the path to the location of favorites. You can use variables like %USERPROFILE%, %USERNAME%, etc... Both local and UNC path are valid."
IE_Favorites_Location_Tip1="Specify the UNC path to the favorites location"
InternetExplorer="Internet Explorer"
SUPPORTED_IE5="at least Internet Explorer v5.01"
It makes the change to the "Shell Folders" favorites setting instead. This in turn also makes the change to the "User Shell Folders" favorites setting. There is however 1 problem. You need a backup/export of the favorites before you implement this change, because if you don't, they will all be gone. Once you have that backup/export, implement this GPO setting and then import/restore your favorites and they will be where you want them. When you add a new or delete an old, they will be using the location you set in the GPO, not the default location anymore. I am now needing to figure out how to do this without having to make the backup/export of the favorites. I want to basically "Merge" the favorites to the new location, then have the setting above take place ;)
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:Abhay Pujari
ID: 24057186
Good. Glad to hear that you got right settings. Always try to follow Misrosoft's articles.
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