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Re-structuring Network Drives & Folders

Posted on 2011-03-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
As an IT Consultant I am looking into best practices when it comes to re-structuring all Folders/Drives on a Windows Server for a number of small businesses.

When the business first started out there was not a lot of thought put into security and hierarchy, so we are now faced with a big mess of duplicate files, files saved to local drives and general chaos.

What advice can you offer based upon your experiences in the field to either setup or re-setup?
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Question by:Flipp
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authen-tech earned 125 total points
ID: 35133223
I usually start with a Shared folder on the root.  Then start with a folder structure from there...allowing for different departments or management groups to have their own folder.  You want to make it easy for sharing, security, and backup purposes (that's why I put it all under one folder).  You really need to have each user help find the latest documents.  They will know what is important.  Also, when duplicate files are created, it's easy to see which one to keep by checking the last modified date.  

Lastly...keep the old backups!  Don't get rid of anything for a long while until you're sure everyone has had time to be sure they have all their recent documents.

If you need to start migrating to the new folder system, MS Synctoy is a free and great tool.  It lets you sync folders one way and then again before you stop sharing the old folder...only moving the new or changed files the second time.  Very big time saver!

Hope that helps,

Todd
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by:MidnightOne
MidnightOne earned 125 total points
ID: 35169827
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!Grab your own Copy backup of the server with NTBackup before starting a blessed thing!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rearranging folders and structures is a dicey business. It will take time (billable time) and a sit-down with the client to figure out what is what and where things are stored.

As far as the shares, you can move the shared folders around, however this may screw with the local permissions. As authen-tech says, keep the old backups.

If they're dealing with a lot of locally-saved documents, using folder redirection for the desktop and "My Documents" can save you a world of time and hurt by putting those onto the server for backup.

If everyone has their own mapped drives, you need to find out what they are and where they map. I recommend using GPOs and logon scripts based on job functions; some use one GPO per logon script, but I feel it's excessive.
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Expert Comment

by:aaronmarks
ID: 35170953
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/323007

xcopy c:\olddocs c:\newdocs /O /X /E /H /K

Very useful command.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Flipp
ID: 35176765
Thank you all!
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