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Certain Programs & features on laptops are not working when disconnected from LAN (offline)

Posted on 2011-03-10
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Last week some Group Policy settings were changed on my SBS 2003 Domain Controller.  This is for my Corporate LAN.  The folder redirection settings were altered in the Group Policy Management Console to include Desktop & Application Data.  We also have My Documents being redirected from the server, but this setting has been enabled for some time now.  We have 4 laptop users on our Corporate LAN, who bring their workstations home with them and work from there.  These laptops are Windows 7 Professional Machines.  

That night after the settings had been changed, these four users encountered some issues when logging in from home (not connected to the LAN).  These problems included certain programs not being able to load (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Network Connection Settings, VPN Connections, Etc.), Icons missing on the desktop and from the taskbar, and the wallpaper not being able to load.  The next day after some investigation I realized that our offline files were not able to properly work.  In fact, there was actually no option on the folders to “Make Available Offline” and when I went into the Sync Center the Enable Offline Files button was greyed out.  I tried to use the same Group Policy Console to enable the offline files but to no avail.  At one point before I changed the settings, our offline files were indeed syncing with My Documents.  So I know that it can be setup to correctly work.  In order to provide a quick fix to this problem I decided to revert the folder redirection Policy to what it used to be.  At that point I thought the problem had been fixed.

But that night these users encountered the same problems.  I have gone through the settings for folder redirections and set them to “not configured” but I cannot seem to fix this problem.  Is there something that I am missing here?  Could I maybe have changed some setting by mistake when I altered the folder redirection?  Or could this be a problem that is not even associated with the GP?  The worst problem about this whole debacle is that the company owner is one of these four users.  He is pretty pissed off that he cannot work from home, especially since we just purchased him a $3,500 laptop about 2 months ago.  Has anybody come upon this problem before and have any tips to rectify this?  Any help on this that could help me fix these laptops to work offline would be greatly appreciated.  Actually at this point, I do not even care about folder redirection; I just want to get the laptop back in working order.  If you need any more information or any configuration settings that I have not provided, just let me know and I can get you the information.

Frustrated IT Admin
Question by:palmerc12
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 35098916
This is common when "appdata" is redirected and offline files are not enabled. the applicatons cannot load their appdata thus they fail.

go to your folder redirection policy, go to appdata, *ENABLE* folder redirection, and in the dropdown for the location, set it to "direct to local userprofile location"

log onto the machines, gpupdate /force so the new redirection policy pulls down the appdata back to the machines instead of the server, and then take a machine offsite to test.


Author Comment

ID: 35109599
Hi Cliff,
Thank you for the Advice.  Unfortunately I tried this but to no avail.  Could this have to do with my sbs 2003 machine placing the Data in the folder "Application Data" instead of "AppData"?  I looked in the users profile and on the windows 7 machine there was indeed a "Application Data" folder that i did not notice before.

Accepted Solution

palmerc12 earned 2000 total points
ID: 35131434
So I was actually able to fix the problem by disabling the redirection of application data on the server and then going into the laptops and changing the registry.  I search for everything that contained "AppData” and changed it to point to my local directory.  Most of them were associated with the value that points to the server version of the folder (\\SERVER\Users\%Username%\Application Data).  I then had to go into the server and change the ownership in the ACL to administrator on the Application Data folder.  From there I copied the contents of the Application Data folder to my local copy of AppData (C:\users\%username%\AppData\).  One I restarted the computer all of my settings were put back to normal.

Author Comment

ID: 35383607
The question was answered.  I ended up putting in the answer myself.  I just didnt know who to deliver points to in this situation.

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