Windows Offline Folders

Network_Padawan used Ask the Experts™
Hi All,

I have been looking at the settings of this company I am helping out and I am a little confused. They have a PDC with all the users profiles redirected to a share on the server, eg \\DFS domain name\home\{username} share as a group policy in users and computers.

However, all the users profiles are stored as \\DFS domain name\departments\profiles\{username} in the "profile" tab in the users directories.

Now I don't understand this, if the profile tab is pointing to the \profiles\home\ {username} share, why would anyone have the redirect on a completely different share? And why does windows  connect all users to their GPO redirection over the configuration in the "profile" tab?

Also, all the users have "synchronized" settings configured so when the are logged off the network they can make changes to their files and be able to connect back to the network and have the changes sync'ed to the server. The problem is a few of the users "unticked" all the sync options (don't ask why) on their laptops and when they re-log back into the network, they cant sync back. I went into "synchronization" and in the settings, there are not share options to tick anymore, its completely empty....any ideas?
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I have seen folder redirection setup before, the documents on the client workstation are in a special database and not in the standard location on the XP machines.

You have to carefully copy the data on either side in case the more recent files get overwritten or even that the older files do not get deleted.

I would get a test machine, create a new user account and test that you can create documents that sync with the network.  Also you can then open up regedit and see search for the network path in the user profile and it should show you which paths are being changed in the registry.  Not that you would change them but just so you know the behind the scene of the GPO settings.

I would also load the GPMC group policy management console and document what is in place before you make any changes.

Recommendations for Folder Redirection,printer%29.aspx

If the user is logging into a workstation that is not syncing documents, check that the user can browse the network.  It could be the workstation has lost its trust to the domain.

You could try to login as a user who is is not working for on a workstation that is syncing for another user.

gpresult /z - is the very verbose output .
gpupdate /force -? I think this is correct.

I would recomment reboot after changing the policy.  How many DCs? don't forget to wait for dc replication when troubleshooting the policy.



Hi markpalinux,

I have just created another share on the AD called TEST. I right-clicked on it and in caching I ticked "Only the files and programs that users specify will be available offline" and when I go to the client to be able to sync with this share it doesnt show up.

Am I missing something?

Are you trying to use GPO settings for "My Document" redirection? or just let users select which network folders to sync ?
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let users which network folders to sync. The redirection works fine. I am trying to add the number of shares to the list of offline folders users can sync to but I cant seem to be able to....
Redirection is not the same as user profile.

Profile is specified in user's entry in active directory, on the tab "Profile". User whole profile is specified on remote share is called "roaming", meaning he can log on from any workstation. When the user logs on, his whole profile is copied to the local machine.

Redirection is different feature; it's specified in the group policy and works on per-directory basis. If the user works with redirected desktop, for instance, then all files on his desktop are actually on the server.

Synchronization is actually yet another feature, "offline files", which creates local replica of remote files, even when the user is not roaming and his folders are not redirected. Note

I suggest you do google search on roaming profiles redirection , there are articles about how to combine all that for the best results.


Hi Vadimrapp1,

Thankyou for spending the time to explain all that, thank you. I understand the difference between all 3 services, what I am looking for is how to "list" offline folders I can force people to sync to.

Eg, we currently have a dfs \\{domain}\share which all users sync to. I want to be able to add \\{domain}\department and \\{domain}\everyone to the list of offline folders our domain users sync to.
I would (1) check how caching is specified on the share, ensuring that it's automatic; (2) disable offline folders on clients and then reenable them, with computer restart.


Hi vad,

I tried that and no luck. Can I verify the steps with you?

1. on the server, create a share and in "caching", I tick "Only the files and programs that users specify will be availalbe offline"
2. Disable syncing on the client, restart and re-enable.

Is that it or am I missing something?
Yes, this is it, if #2 means disabling/enabling "Use offline folders" in control panel/folder options. Also, make the folder itself available offline.


Sorry Vad not understand you, you wrote

>>>>Yes, this is it, if #2 means disabling/enabling "Use offline folders" in control panel/folder options.

Yes I meant disabling the "enable offline" on the windows XP client PC.

As for your second part...>>>>>Also, make the folder itself available offline.

Not sure what you mean by this. Arent I making the folder itself available by what I did in STEP1 above?
In step 2 you specified on the client that he can cache files. In step 1 you specified (on the server) that the folder can be cached by the client, if the client requests that.  Now you have to request that - right-click the share on the client and select "make available offline". Then open some file, and it should become cached.

If in step 1 you selected "automatic", the files would become cached just by opening the files from it.

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