Disabling Folder redirection – Windows Servers 2008  - best approach?

Posted on 2014-07-17
Last Modified: 2014-07-25

We have a client who, due to staff being moved to a distributed environment, there PC’s (Windows 7) will now be stored in different locations to where the server  (Windows Server 2008 R2) is.
While they will still be able to get to the server over the VPN, the use of folder redirection will no longer be a viable option as it would be slow and cause issues.

Therefore we have to change all their accounts, so that they don’t use folder redirection.
What is the best approach to this?

Do we just disable folder redirection and check each account is OK. OR is it cleaner to create new user accounts for each user, that has folder redirection disabled.  A bit more work as we have to copy all the files into the users account, but it would be a clean start.

I guess the reason I ask this, because of all the issues that folder redirection has given us over the years for this client and a clean start seems desirable plus I’m not sure how well just turning it off for the accounts will work.

Therefore I seek any guidance on the best approach.
Question by:afflik1923
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Depends on what you've redirected.

    Try turning it off with a single user and see what it does. Likely windows will just recreate the folder in question locally and move on.

    Author Comment

    Well we have started the process and disabling it without creating a new profile for the users we are disabling. so far so good and things have improved (things like iTunes really did not like Folder Redirection).

    Still open to any comments and also we now need to think about the best way to achieve backup.

    Before the server was backed up on real time but that license was for unlimited backup for files on 1 server. Now we are going to have to sync all the necessary files to the server somehow. We'll probably use a third party back up application for this such as Backup4All, but open to any suggestions on this.
    Likely will post a separate question on this.
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    by:Sumit Gupta
    I gues just disable the folder redirection in GPO and then apply gpupdate /force. Whenevr thir system will start they will recieve new policy which will remove redirection of folders. Later you can move these computers or users in specific OU in AD for non-redirected folder users.
    LVL 24

    Accepted Solution

    Removing the folder redirection group policy is a tricky pain in the butt. To properly remove the folder redirection policy, you need to go into the group policy that contains the folder redirection setting and on the “Target” tab, next to the Setting field, you need to select the option for “Not configured”. Also, in that same screen, you need to go to the “Settings” tab, (notice the “s” for settings) and here you can choose the behavior the computer will take when the policy is removed. You can choose to leave the redirection in place or have it point back to it’s default location.
    Note:When you enable the Redirect the folder back to the local userprofile location when policy is removed policy it will stop redirecting the local folder to the networklocation and copies everything back to original location where it was before redirection.

    If you deleted the policy that contained the folder redirection setting, then the machines will keep the setting as it has been tattooed in the registry. You will need to either re-apply the setting, then follow the procedure above or you can get a tool like the free tool from DesktopStandard and make bulk registry changes via group policies.

    The registry key for folder redirection settings are in…
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

    I would suggest you to test it before implementing to all the users.

    Author Closing Comment


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