Offline Files not working with Redirected Folders in Win7 Pro

Our active directory is a mixed domain of 2008 R2 and 2003.  It's functional level is Windows 2003, but I'm not sure that it makes much difference.

We use folder redirection for most of our users to put their Desktop and My Documents folder on our file servers.

For laptop users this means we need to have Offline Files enabled so that when they log off they get a copy of their redirected folders locally, otherwise their desktop icons and My Docs folder contents "disappear".

This works great in windows XP, but in Windows 7, which we are starting to deploy on all new laptops, it doesn't work at all.

For one thing, the Offline Files service is set to be started automatically with windows, but it never starts.  I don't see any error log messages about it failing and stopping...it just never gets started.  So offline files will always say they're enabled but not active in the sync center.

If I manually start the Offline Files process the sync center will let me sync my redirected folders, though I do frequently get errors while syncing that say "The specified network name is no longer available".

My network connection is fine.  The files it claims it can't reach are there.  As soon as it hits an error the sync process stops completely instead of ignoring that file and continuing.  If I manually resync several times it eventually finishes and gets everythign.

But then when I disconnect from the network my desktop icons all disappear.  Even though my offline files are enabled and synced, windows won't use them.

Browsing around the internet I see many people complaining of these problems with offline files in windows 7, but nobody seems to have any answers.

We loaded SP1 on this computer yesterday to see if it helped, but it did not.
LVL 6
msluneckaAsked:
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

x
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Hutch_77Commented:
08 vs 03 domain is very different and 08 was designed to manage 7 hand in hand.

The 03 should manage most of 7 settings, but you do have to use different templates for 7 than for XP.
Kody-BurgCommented:
Try reconfiguring offline files using the steps found on the following links below:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Working-with-network-files-when-you-are-offline
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Understanding-offline-files

Once you’ve tried that, let us know if the issue persists.

Best of luck,

Kody
msluneckaAuthor Commented:
Is there anything I can do short of a functional level upgrade to the domain?  That will require upgrading a couple of remote-site domain controllers to 2008.

Actually I stand corrected...our domain is a mix of 2008 and 2003...none of the domain controllers are 2008R2.  So a full upgrade to 2008R2 (if that's really needed) will mean an upgrade of 5 different domain controllers which I don't have the resources for at present.
The 7 Worst Nightmares of a Sysadmin

Fear not! To defend your business’ IT systems we’re going to shine a light on the seven most sinister terrors that haunt sysadmins. That way you can be sure there’s nothing in your stack waiting to go bump in the night.

Hutch_77Commented:
I would try splitting the 7 machines off to a different OU and then applying a the Win 7 template and technically it should work in server 03, you just lose some of the lower level manageability of the 7 machines you get in an 08 domain.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
msluneckaAuthor Commented:
When you say apply a Win 7 template, do you mean I just need to go in and rebuild my Redirected Folders GPO using a Windows 7 machine?  Or is this template something different?  If anyone has a link to some instructions for that process that would be very helpful.  
Hutch_77Commented:
Yes there is a template for folder redirection of 7 since the file stricture is different
msluneckaAuthor Commented:
Hutch_77, that definitely did the trick.

I installed Group Policy Management on my Server 2008 R2 server and built a new version of the exact same offline files policy and it works.

I didn't even have to change the Redirected Folders policy...it looks like that one was created on maybe a Server 2008 computer (not R2, but this would still have had the Vista policies and probably is compatible with 7)


For now I have a couple of computers in a test OU with the new policy applying only to them.

Will this new version of the GPO also be backwards compatible with the Windows XP computers on my network?  Or do I need to maintain separate OUs for Windows 7 and Windows XP laptops that need offline files?
Hutch_77Commented:
No it will only apply to 7/Vista as the structures are the same.
XP would have to have its own.  You can technically apply both to the same OU and have it hit both 7 and xp machines and not affect but you have to have both.
Hutch_77Commented:
What you miss by being in an 03 domain is GPP which is a huge help.  But with what you said that is for another day when you can get some more hands to help out.
msluneckaAuthor Commented:
For the record, in case anyone comes back to this thread later on, I put an XP computer in the same OU as my test GPO, and it picks up the policy just fine.  I can see from a scan by the GPMC that the computer is picking up the policy and applying the correct settings.


So one Group Policy seems to cover both sets of computers.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows 7

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.