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Migrating my documents redirection folder to new server

Posted on 2011-09-20
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I currently have a group policy deployed such that all users have their my documents folders redirected to \\server1\Shares. I recently installed server2 and want to move the data there. A few questions:
1. Overall, what's the best way to do it?
2. Do I simply update the group policy to point to the new server? If I do that, does the client machine automatically move the data or is that something I need to do manually?

Note that we have several thousand users, so we should plan for that.

Thanks very much for your help
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Question by:Julian123
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Expert Comment

by:ttp_67
ID: 36573002
You will need to move the files in some way. Changing the policy will not move them.

If there are no concerns with regards to diskspace while doing the migration, i would recommend using Distributed File System, to migrate the data between the two servers.

Byt using that, you will have the files available on both servers, and you can the change the location when the DFS paths are in sync. by doing it that way, you don't have to make sure the users are logged off when moving the data.
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by:Julian123
ID: 36594026
I don't want to deploy DFS to thousands of users just to move these docs once. Is tehre any way to update the policy and manually move the files?
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Expert Comment

by:ttp_67
ID: 36598525
If you just want to move the files, you could use robocopy, or if you would like a gui, then synctoy (http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=15155) This would make it a lot easier to keep the old location in sync with the new location.

When you got the files in place, changing the policy should be easy.
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jzaniewski earned 500 total points
ID: 36720603
Modifying the GPO "WILL" move the redirected folders.

Two things that need to be done.

1.  You to make sure that you have "Move contents of Desktop to new location" checked. Repeat this for My Documents and any other folder that you're redirecting. This need to be done and propagated to all users before you change the location. Use GPUPDATE /FORCE on each PC or just wait a few days for it to auto propagate.

2.  After a reasonable period of waiting, change the location of all the GPOs to reflect the new location.

If you want to test this theory, create a TEMP user in AD.  Login twice to create the redirected folders.  Create a new GPO for folder redirection with only this user in the Security Filter scope. Change the GPO Status on the original GPO to "All settings disabled" Do a GPUPDATE /FORCE on the user. Login twice again. The folders should now be in the new location.

IMPORTANT: best to do this when no users are on the system. Because you're turning off the GPO, there's a slim chance that if a user logs in while the GPO is off, the folders may revert back to the local desktop or the user may not be able to get to the folders.  Also,remember to re-enable the GPO after the test.
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by:Julian123
ID: 36900102
I'm aware of that option. The problem is that when the client logs in, it moves the documents on its own. In a couple of tests we did, I saw multi-minute delays after the user had put in his or her password but before the desktop showed up all the documents were being copied. Across thousands of users, that will generate a significant number of support calls. I'm looking for an option that is not cause such long delays to the end-user but still allows us to move the documents.
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Expert Comment

by:jzaniewski
ID: 36903771
You can create multiple GPOs. Each for a specific group of people. This will also allow you more granularity regarding the affected users as well as their profile locations. If you were to schedule the transition at the end of the day, or during lunch, the latency issue wouldn't be so intrusive. Also, if you notify the employees well in advance, you'll probably reduce your support calls as well.  I've found that if your users, do some house cleaning before the transition, that goes a long way toward bandwidth reduction too.  I don't know of any other option for your issue other than good planning, advanced notification and scheduling.
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