Should I manually move files from a user's local Documents folder to their network folder, before making the change in Group Policy to redirect the Documents folder?

Posted on 2014-08-08
Last Modified: 2014-08-15
I have users with files on Windows 7 in the local Documents folder that are duplicated in their users folder on the network.  The server is Server 2012 R2.

If I use Group Policy to redirect their Documents folder to their network folder, what should the results be?

1)  Will it override all of the files currently in the network folder with the ones from the local Documents folder?


2)  Will it only override the duplicate files (keeping the most recent version of the files)?

I'm trying to determine whether I need to go to each user's desktop and manually move the files to their network folder before making the change in Group Policy.

If additional information is needed, please let me know.

Any assistance is appreciated.
Question by:lshriver
    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    What is you profile have now for home folder?
    If you have it pointing to a network share,  I would select:
    Target folder location: Redirect to users home directory

    If you have it pointing to a local folder, I would select:
    Target folder location: Create a folder for each user under the root path.

    One thing you don't want is having the users home folder available offline and also redirected with the second option.
    for instance if you have a network share for users called, Usershares\%username% and you have it available offline and you select the second option, windows will create a new userfolder under the root path so now you have 3 places files are kept and you'll have sync issues.

    Author Comment


    Thank you so much for your reply.

    I am hoping to not further complicate the question, but I feel I need to give more clarity.

    None of my desktops have their home folder available offline.

    Originally we were running Windows XP clients, in Active Directory the user's home folders (H:\) were mapped to \\Server1\users\"username", and Group Policy was set for Folder Redirection to redirect their local Documents folder to \\Server1\users\%username%.  This worked great, and folders and files were in one location on the network.

    A while ago we upgraded our users to Windows 7 and some of the users ended up with their local Documents folder mapped locally instead of following group policy and redirecting.

    These users now have saved folders and files in the Documents folder (locally), as well as folders and files in their H:\.  Some of these folders and files are the they recreated (or copied) the folder structure from their H:\ to their Documents folder.  Somehow, surprisingly this hasn't presented any problems.

    But now, we are migrating file servers from Server1 to Server2

    I have Active Directory changed so the user's home folders (H:\) is mapped to \\Server2\users\"username"

    But I am concerned about taking the next step and changing the Group Policy for Folder Redirection to redirect their local Documents folder to \\Server2\users\%username%

    Since they have files in both locations I'm wondering how, or if, it will "merge" the local Documents with the folders and files in \\Server2\users\"username".
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    you could create a bat file to move all the local documents to the H: drive in a new folder say call it "Local Files Backup" and let the users sort them out.
    LVL 12

    Assisted Solution

    When you apply the GPO it's going to create a document folder under \\Server2\users\"username" and then move the local document folder to that.  Users will have to move files from \\Server2\users\"username" to \\Server2\users\"username"\documents.  As usual windows 7 will prompt about duplicate files, with overwrite, skip or keep both copies.
    LVL 24

    Accepted Solution

    You need to first take backup of user profile where folder redirection is not working. Its worth to take backup of file server too.

    You then need to troubleshoot why folder redirection is not working on client computer it seems to me there could be permission issue or could be policy not applying on client computer. Check the event log on client computer application and  system log you will get evidence to troubleshoot further.

    Once on all client computer folder redirection is working you can use robocopy to copy the data from old server to new server and modify the GPO of folder redirection to point to new server. After GPO is changed you need to re login on client computers couple of times.

    Author Closing Comment

    The suggestions from both ktaczala and Sandeshdubey, have helped troubleshoot and resolve this problem.

    Thank you both.

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