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Working on local copy of redirected folder only (PCs on AD) - is it possible?

Posted on 2010-11-23
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi,

We have joined several Windows XP and Windows 7 PCs to an Active Directory Domain (2008 Servers but set to Server 2003 function level). We are redirecting the users' "My Documents" to \\Servername\users\username\my documents\.

When users are on the LAN their PCs try and work on the "online copy" of the documents. Some users experience that it takes 20-30 seconds to open, save or close word and excel documents. When opening or saving a document the Word or Excel screen displays "contacting servername..." and eventually does what it needs to do (open / save / close document).

We would like to know if there's a way that we can set the folder redirection (via a Group Policy perhaps) so that the PCs work on the "offline cached copy" of the user's documents rather than the online copy as this would be much faster. We also connect to a VPN and also sometimes sit at other sites that connects with a slow WAN Link to the user's site and because it can see the server over the WAN it also tries to work on the Server Copy and is extremely slow (we are not really interested in the "detect slow link" options, for several reasons we want the default to be for PCs to work on the local copy of a redirected folder and only sync to the "online copy" when the user manually choose to sync, logs on or log off.

We don't want user intervention (e.g.: user must click "work offline") as a lot of users won't understand the concept and won't be willing to always do it or even forget to do it.

Bottom line is that the user's My Documents must still be available offline on the Server but when he/she works it must be on the "cached copy" of the documents.

Thank you for any advise or assistance.

Regards,
Reinhard.
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Question by:ReinhardRensburg
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Accepted Solution

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Vishal Patel earned 500 total points
ID: 34204234
You can first of all set "My Documents" redirection using GPO.
For doing so, go to User Configuration\Policies\windows settings\folder redirection.
Then right click on "My Documents" and set the path(make sure that path is writable by users), set the permission as exclusive for users.

Then, set offline options by going to
User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Network\Offline Files &
Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Network\Offline Files, as per your need.
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Author Comment

by:ReinhardRensburg
ID: 34219070
Hi vipatel,

Thank you for your suggestion.

Afterdoing some tests with your suggestions I found that none of the settings allows for the PCs to work off their locally cached copy of documents and sync back to the Server at Logon/Logoff.

We want to set the default way of working on Notebooks (PCs that goes offline and roams geographical locations from time to time) to be on the local Copy of their My Documents and when they Logon / Logoff the Notebook must have a look to see if it can see the File Server it syncs to and then only sync the users' My Documents Folders.

Thanks,
Reinhard.

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Author Closing Comment

by:ReinhardRensburg
ID: 34392246
Thanks vipatel, your answer was the closest to the correct answer, I've determined in the meantime that the "correct" (and only) way is to work on one's "server copy" of documents when using folder redirection and sync back to the PC (when connected to the network) and only to work on the local copy when not connected or when working abroad (from another division or via VPN connection) which can be set/tweaked by the GPO as per vipatel's answer.

Thanks,
Reinhard.
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