Unable to turn off Folder Redirection Group Policy on Windows 7 clients from Windows Server 2003.

Posted on 2014-10-02
Last Modified: 2014-10-10
About the problem policy:
I have a Group Policy for Folder Redirection that I can't get to turn off.  It is set to "redirect everyone's folder to the same location" with a Path of \\servername\documents$\%USERNAME%\My Documents.  Options enabled include "Grant user exclusive rights to My Documents" and "Move the contents of My Documents to the new location".  Policy Removal Behavior is set to "Restore contents".

Initial testing with user in Windows 7:
I created a new OU in AD for testing with the same Group Policy objects applied to it but only a single user moved into it.  I tried removing the policy, doing a gpupdate /force from the users end and letting it log off.  After the user logged back in I checked and the folder was still redirected.  --   I then tried applying the policy to that OU again but this time changing the target folder location to "Redirect to the local userprofile location". I did the same gpupdate but the folder was still directed to the server.

Windows XP response to the change:
Then got to wondering if it was a disagreement between Windows Server 2003 and Windows 7 so I added another user to the test OU that uses Windows XP.  I did the GP update, logged off and back on and WAH LAH the folder was no longer pointed to the server.

In conclusion:
Windows 7 will apply the group policy to redirect the folder to the server but not pick up the change back to the local location.  Windows XP does this just fine.  How do I get Windows 7 to apply the new policy and point My Documents back to the local C:\ drive?

Thanks in advance!
Question by:southavenmnorris
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LVL 22

Expert Comment

ID: 40359472
From what you stated it sounds like you do not have any Server 2008 in your environment, but do have Windows 7 machines.

If that is the case I would download RSAT for Windows 7. Once you have that on you can apply GPO settings to Windows 7 machines that do not exist in Server 2003.  

Once you have RSAT installed you will need to add the features to your windows 7 machine by go to Control Panel > Programs and  Features > Turn Windows Features On or Off > Select Group Policy Management.

Once added go to the Test GPO and change the settings to  "Redirect to Local UserProfile Location".  It should be the last one on the list.

See if that works.
LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 40359580
The key is that you have to run the group policy management console from the Windows 7 workstation rather than from the server.  Group policies for Windows 7 are managed with .admx files, and the Windows 2003 files are .adm files, so not all of the proper configuration settings can be applied to Windows 7 workstations using Windows 2003 group policies.  Windows 7 (depending upon the version) probably already has the group police management console installed, but if not, you can follow yo bee's advice and download the RSAT and use the group policy management console from there.

In order to properly manage all of the Windows 7 group policies on a network-wide basis, you need to have the policy definition files needed for Windows 7 machines installed on your server by creating a central store for those files.  Here's an article (originally for Vista but it will work with Windows 7 also, I believe) about how to create that central store for Windows 7 policies but still retain the existing policies for earlier operating systems:

The Windows 7 group policies would still need to be managed from a Windows 7 machine, but the policies would reside on the server and therefore be available to all the Windows 7 workstations on the network.  Of course, if you add a Windows 2008 or 2012 domain controller to your network you would no longer need this workaround.
LVL 18

Accepted Solution

Sarang Tinguria earned 500 total points
ID: 40359844
Yeah, 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.

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...

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders and another key above that one for just Shell folders.

Hope that helps. Yeah, I hope that improve that function in Vista and the new server product. I would also like the ability to exclude some of the "My Crap" folders that get populated inside My Docs.

Hope this helps guys.
Referred from

Author Comment

ID: 40360703
Thank you all very much.  I have attempted to apply some of these changes but unfortunately the user I have been testing with was out of the office this afternoon.  I will be back on this Monday morning and will report back and accept the most appropriate solution(s).

Thanks again.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 40373934
I started with this solution since it was the simplest and it worked.  All I did was reapply the GPO and then set it to not configured.  The policy was already set to restore the documents back to the original location so all I had to do at that point was the GPUPDATE, relog the user and all was well.

Thank you all for your responses.

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