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I have enabled Folder Redirection, and Offline files via group policy, and now laptops take an and to "applying computer settings" and then the logon itself takes an amazing amount of time.

These are the only policies affecting this user, and also this laptop as I'm testing the combination of policies

What I wish to accomplish, is to have users MyDocs, and AppData synced to server shares, but also available offline for when they are not connected. This seems so simple, yet has given me a headache for the past two weeks. Any hints and tips appreciated. I am prepared to be a guinea pig, so I can def setup and combinations you need, I have the hardware, and time to do it :) (as in spare laptop, creating new user, OU etc :) ) andy help appreciated.

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Are you seeing these problems on LAN-based logons? Logons where a VPN connection is active prior to logon? –  Evan Anderson Oct 22 '10 at 15:01
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2 Answers 2

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Redirecting My Documents and configuring them for Offline Files makes sense but my opinion is that AppData is not a good candidate for redirection except for users that "roam" from one workstation to another (in combination with roaming profiles) and is definitely not a good candidate for Offline Files. My suggestion would be to disable Folder Redirection and Offline Files for AppData and see if that makes a difference.

Also, how much data comprises the My Documents folder for these laptop users? If we're talking hundreds of MB's, and depending on the state of the files either locally or on the network share, it could take a considerable amount of time to logon and logoff while the files are snychronized.

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I will turn this off for AppData, and see if that improves. –  Mister IT Guru Oct 22 '10 at 11:16
    
AppData is an annoying swampland. On one hand, it fills with vast amounts of small files (so it's impossible not to redirect it out of roaming profiles and have reasonable roaming logon performance) but, on the other hand, some applications can't handle it being redirected properly because, apparently, app developers (I'm looking at you, Apple, w/ iTunes 9.2 and up, as an example) can't be bothered to call the proper API to get the user's AppData location or handle a UNC path for AppData properly. Since there can be user data stored there I don't feel comfortable (cont'd) –  Evan Anderson Oct 22 '10 at 14:58
    
not having it stored on a server via either roaming profiles or Folder Redirection. (If I can't recreate the user's entire experience when replacing their PC, by way of server-side stored data, then my opinion is that I'm doing it wrong.) It's a big annoyance. I end up writing logon scripts to "prune" garbage like the Sun Java "Deployment Cache" and the Office "Recent" directories to keep them at a reasonable number of files. It's mega-frustrating. –  Evan Anderson Oct 22 '10 at 15:00
    
I've removed AppData from the redirect setup, it's not really needed to be honest, it was more of a 'cool' thing to do! I'm only redirecting desktops, and mydocs, and it seems to be smooth –  Mister IT Guru Oct 28 '10 at 7:33
    
Glad to hear it. –  joeqwerty Oct 28 '10 at 11:36
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We are currently migrating away from a My Docs redirection/offline files configuration in our environment because of both the issue you're experiencing (slow logons) and also very poor performance, especially when VPNed into the network. Having the laptop be the primary copy and then back that up to a central server is, in my opinion/experience, a more usable configuration for the end user. We went with Microsoft DPM to back up the user data because we're a MS partner, but you could also go cheapo with something like RoboCopy and a scheduled task.

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I'm having mostly the opposite experience as you. I wonder what we're doing differently. Windows XP Offline Files w/ Folder Redirection on Documents, AppData, and Desktop is my normal configuration for portable computer users and it's been working well. Very few of my Customers' users make Offline Files "go online" when connected to the VPN, to my knowledge. Admittedly, I'm talking about machines that are regularly connected to the LAN. I don't have any users in that configuration who are nearly 100% VPN only. That would make a huge difference. –  Evan Anderson Oct 22 '10 at 15:04
    
XP was mostly fine, but Win7 caused us to have to wait for the sync to complete before you would actually get to the desktop. We have some network file shares that we could not make available offline (too much space) so users would have to go on VPN to access them. As soon as the computers sensed that the network was back, it would use the network documents folder, causing insanely slow document access. Using the method above, at least their personal documents are always available no matter where they go with no latency, and they can still access their remote docs via VPN if required. –  Dan Oct 22 '10 at 18:29
    
I have discovered a way to mitigate this issue, at least temporarily, I wrote a script to copy peoples mydocs out to a NAS share, and then enabled the redirections. Everything synced pretty quickly, then I setup another script to copy the contents back - this seemed to get all the desktops in sync pretty quickly. I use a DFS for my files shares. And in preparation for the anticipated slowdown in the future, (i have seen this setup cause problems), I'm monitoring my network to find bottlenecks, so I can remove them. –  Mister IT Guru Oct 28 '10 at 7:29
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