Redirected folders failing strangely.

Yardstick
Yardstick used Ask the Experts™
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Hello, I've got a problem that's driving me a little nuts.  We've been troubleshooting a while:

I have a single user in a 30+ user environment with this issue.  
This is a desktop computer, always on, NIC has sleep disabled.
There is only one network adapter.
Over the course of an hour a ping to the domain controller and fileserver (run to each separately) get well below 5% packet loss.
Packet loss does not line up with the time of the issue.

The Desktop folder is redirected, as are My Documents, My Pictures, My Music etc.

Periodically (no regular schedule, we've recorded it happening first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day, or while the user is actively working) the redirected desktop folder goes offline, and all other redirected folders are also offline.

The icons go to the expected washed-out appearance.

The user can open the desktop folder in explorer, select a file and click the "Work Online" button which fixes the issue until the next time.

Tried
adding
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\NetCache\SilentForcedAutoRecconect = 1
and
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\CSC\Parameters\FormatDatabase = 1

Both resolved it for a day or two, but problem comes back.  

Normally I would shrug and simply recreate the user account to sidestep this, but there is 3rd party licensed software that makes that terribly messy in this case.

Anyone have ideas?
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Distinguished Expert 2017

Commented:
If not mistaken, windows 7 sync center has exhibited such issue. on a LAN you should not have packet loss. Check whether it might be an issue with the network path. I.e. Take a system that does not manifest such issues, and switch the workstations, or switch the switch port between two systems. If the issue follows the switch, you'll know that it is an issue with the switch, otherwise it is an issue with the workstation or the wiring path.
if the issue with switching workstations does not follow the workstation you'd know the issue is with the wiring.
Replace the wire from workstation to the wall.
There are tools to test the wiring to make sure there is no interference .....
Depending on the equipment along the way .....

Author

Commented:
Thanks Arnold,  I'm pretty confident it's not a physical issue, or even a networking issue.  

The issue followed the user to an entirely different machine yesterday afternoon, and we got our first report of another user having the issue.  The server storing the profiles is a VM and the machine the newly hit user was using is also a vm.  On the same host.

Author

Commented:
Sorry, one more thing, I'll check to see if the sync center has any useful logs, thank you.  I had checked eventviewer but hadn't dug too much into Sync center
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SteveArchitect/Designer

Commented:
The problem is clearly the network issues, as offline folders doesn't like regular drops in connectivity, particularly when a user has a lot of offline files. It is designed to react to drops by going into offline mode so is doing exactly what it is meant to.

The only SOLUTION is to sort the network issues.

There is a potential workaround but it works by stopping Sync centre doing what it is meant to:
net config server /autodisconnect:-1
If you run that on their machine it should stop Offline folders going offline so easily, but this is clearly achieved by overriding the intended behaviour.

I believe this command is lost after a reboot so may need re-running or adding to a script, but I strongly recommend logging a new question for help with the network issues as that is the root cause.

Author

Commented:
Thanks Steve,

I had also assumed network initially, but there's no physical connectivity issue I can spot and the latency on the connection is well within what I would expect, which is why I moved on to looking at the account.  I'll try the net config and see how it goes.

Is there a way to prevent a system from reporting a slow link incorrectly?
SteveArchitect/Designer

Commented:
Is there a way to prevent a system from reporting a slow link incorrectly?
Not sure I agree as it sounds like its working correctly to me. Any notable packet loss suggests it isn't a stable connection and Offline files will go offline by design to protect file integrity.
Distinguished Expert 2017
Commented:
Please check which caching option is selected under advanced share settings. In your issue/situation the option to make either all files or no files available offline, the other option will only make files accessed by the user previously available offline.

The slow connection detection is for application of GPO and defaults to 500k.

The issue sync center acts/behaves strangly.

The other option is to disallow offline access to shares.

I agree you likely have an issue, the issue can be excess network traffic, qos related matter........
Check if the issue relates to systems connected along the same path.

Hopefully you have switch/router polling, monitoring. To see if you can see a pattern.

Author

Commented:
Changed caching on the share and the problem disappeared.  Thank you Arnold.

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