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Using Folder Redirection
Pages: 1, 2

Testing Folder Redirection

Let's say Bob had a document named Help Desk Procedures stored in his local My Documents folder on his desktop computer. Once the above folder redirection settings are configured and Bob logs on and then off, the following folders are created in the SupportDocs share on Test220:
\SupportDocs\bsmith\My Documents
\SupportDocs\bsmith\My Documents\My Music
\SupportDocs\bsmith\My Documents\My Pictures

When Bob opens the My Documents folder on his local machine, the Help Desk Procedures document and the subfolders have special icons indicating that offline files are configured for these items:

Figure 6
Figure 6. Items within My Documents are configured as offline files.

Opening the Properties sheet for My Documents lets Bob verify that his work is being saved on the file server:

Figure 7
Figure 7. Target location for My Documents for Bob Smith.

When Bob opens the document, edits it, and saves changes, those changes are immediately saved to the copy of the file stored in the \SupportDocs\bsmith\My Documents folder. So if Bob's machine suddenly crashed after he saved his document, the document would be safe. If his redirected My Documents folder contains very large files, it may take longer to open them, as they must be retrieved from the network before they can be opened locally. When he logs off his machine, a Synchronizing dialog box appears briefly, indicating that offline files are being synchronized as necessary.

If he becomes disconnected from the network while doing his work, a computer icon will appear in the status bar at the bottom right of the screen with a tool tip indicating that he is offline:

Figure 8
Figure 8. Synchronization cannot occur when the network is not available.

Double-clicking on this computer icon brings up more details:

Figure 9
Figure 9. Status of offline files waiting to be synchronized.

Clicking on the Settings button lets you change how files are synchronized:

Figure 10
Figure 10. Configuring synchronization settings.

If network connectivity is restored while Bob is logged on, synchronization will occur when he logs off.

Final Tip

Using folder redirection in conjunction with offline files and disk quotas is a great way to keep users' documents centralized on a file server that can be backed up easily. But folder redirection has its uses on home machines too, even if you don't have a network. If your computer has two hard disk partitions (say, C: and D:), you can redirect My Documents to the D: drive, so all your work files will be stored on that volume. Just right-click on your My Documents folder and configure the target location accordingly. Then if your system becomes unstable for some reason, you can wipe your C: partition (your system partition) and reinstall Windows on it without overwriting your work files on the D: partition.

Mitch Tulloch is the author of Windows 2000 Administration in a Nutshell, Windows Server 2003 in a Nutshell, and Windows Server Hacks.

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