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I have a user that frequently saves items (or even forgets to save) to places that he forgets. Usually a simple search finds them, but not always. Is there any way to log/track the most recently saved files? It would be great to be the last "saved" files as the recent documents feature is unreliable if he constantly opens documents in his search for the file he just saved.

Alternatively, any ideas on how to control this situation?

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Fire them?..... – Chopper3 Apr 22 '10 at 15:27
@Chopper3 - funny but I doubt it's viable :) – warren Apr 22 '10 at 15:38
Please, I'm more likely to be fired. How do we justify hourly replicated backups, yet can't find all that legalese he spent three hours writing? – Jason Taylor Apr 22 '10 at 15:40
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Answer to your question is effectively "no." You can configure file auditing, but that will create an unmanageable amount of noise data. So, the solution is going to mostly be training, plain and simple.

However, do what you can to make it easier for him to do it the right way, too. Set the "Default save folder" or whatever setting in the applications that he uses. Use Folder Redirection to put his My Docs, etc, on a network share.

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I was afraid of that. Luckily he is already trained to save to a network share, the problem is that he sometimes saves to temporary folders (Such as editing a Word doc from Outlook, and just hits save) that quickly deletes his work. I'm told he is better than he used to be, I guess there's not really much I can do aside from reminding him to remember where he saves things. – Jason Taylor Apr 22 '10 at 15:34

I used to deal with a user like this... Search does not find the file... Let me guess. Outlook attachments?

If yes, they usually go somewhere deep within Application Support folders, that are hidden by default. The only way to make search see them, is to make those "Hidden Operating System Files" visible, which is asking for even more trouble, especially with the user who can't figure out a way to do something basic like that.

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+1 Those Outlook saves are a pain for some users (and the associated Admin who has to find the file). Training may help. – Dave M Apr 22 '10 at 15:37

This is not exactly the solution you are looking for, but in this case I would change permissions on his folders such that he can only save documents to ONE folder.

Set that folder as the working directory for his applications (I assume he uses software like Word and Excel) and you should be done.

Ultimately some things really ought to be done by the user, like keeping track of where he puts his documents.

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Might help in some cases but those pesky Outlook files get you every time. – Dave M Apr 22 '10 at 15:35
Ultimately only user education will help. – Andrew J. Brehm Apr 22 '10 at 18:07

I have some thoughts ...

1- If the problem is Outlook attachments, the default Save As location can be changed in the registry .. MS support site instructions for Outlook 2003 are here.

2- If the problem is primarily around MS Office you can change the default file save location (instructions here), and you might be able to use Office Resource Kit group policy templates to control things like default save location.

3- Upgrade him to Windows 7 .. the "library" feature plus vastly improved search capability should at least reduce the pain caused by his inability to keep things straight.

4- In the alternative .. Windows Desktop Search or Google Desktop might also be helpful to get him a better search tool.

5- I like the idea of restricting his security so that he can't save in undesirable places. This will take work to figure out how to do properly, especially to do it in a standard manner, and he likely will not like it.

Finally .. perhaps the best solution is to let him struggle with the problem. When it hurts enough he will correct the unhelpful behavior. The problem here is putting up with the

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