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Windows provides the ability to redirect specific user folders to server locations, using a group policy extension called Folder Redirection.

The Wikipedia article and Microsoft's marketing page for Windows Home Server suggests a tons of great features, but I don't see anything about specifically about Folder Redirection.

I currently run a domain controller in the home so that I can push the folder redirection group policy down to all PCs. Windows Home Server looks like a better fit, but I'd hate to give up on the ease of folder redirection to automatically save all documents, music, pictures to the file server. Any thoughts?

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closed as off topic by Bryan, Ward, jscott, Iain Dec 13 '12 at 7:48

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5 Answers 5

On all of our home computers, I will have the pictures, videos and documents re-directed to the home server by using the step above (changing the path). The reason for this (and folder re-direction) is very simple. It's easier to backup and recover when a bad situation occurs.

By using the shared folder for all pictures, for instance, when I backup my machine the backup will be much quicker (since pictures aren't on the local machine). In the case of a restore, again, much quicker. I am ensuring that the pictures are in a duplicated folder share so the backups are covered by the homeserver exclusively. . .

This method means all pictures can be in a single, centralized location. If something goes wrong, I don't have to worry about where the files are stored because they are all in one location. This just means that I may need to take additional steps to make very certain that my central location has rock solid backup/recovery capabilities. For me, that means connecting an external drive quarterly so that I can move pictures onto another drive that is not in the same location as the home server (in case of fire or something crazy with the homeserver).

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I wouldn't want Active Directory on a Home Server. It's a heavyweight solution that's both unsupported and overkill. It's probably simpler just to add the users' shared folders to their Documents library in Windows 7. There's no real advantage to folder redirection in that scenario; there is no backup advantage since HomeServer will be imaging the PC every day anyway. In fact, arguably, you're better off storing documents on the local hard drive because then once they've been backed up there will be a completely independent copy on a seperate box.

If folder redirection is genuinely useful for some reason I haven't fathomed, then the folders can be relocated manually using the Windows 7 GUI. It will be quicker and easier to do that for a small number of users than to hack Active Directory on to the box and create group policies.

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Just as Answer 2 states. You can run folder redirects on your WHS easily by mapping the UNC of the a select share in the registry to the specified folder. The difference between WHS and a domain is that your users will not inherit a GPO which makes this change automatic. Instead you must set it on each users desktop manually, but it's completely supported. Thats like asking if file shares are supported on WHS. =)

I would actually recommend doing this. Mapping My docs and My pics/ect...to your WHS server is a safe way to ensure that everything added on each of your users computers media/content wise can be backed up by your WHS.

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You can't force folder redirection from the domain level, but you can do it on the local computer to redirect user subfolders (documents, pictures, music, etc) to the server. There should be a "Location" tab if you right click on redirectable folders, so that you can change where they are stored.

Windows should ask if you want to move everything to the new location when you change it, so that you don't end up with a split between stuff that's still on the local computer, and stuff that's remote.

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I believe that windows home server does not currently support folder redirection. There are some hacks out there that tell you how to install Active Directory on your home server, by doing that you can get access to group policy and so folder redirection, but its not a great solution. Would be a useful thing for MS to include.

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I agree with Sam_Cogan. Although hacks do exist for adding Active Directory, etc., the Home Server wasn't designed for it and the result is somewhat unstable. –  Matt Hanson May 2 '09 at 14:58
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Yeah as Home Server do not use a domain but rather an old-school workgroup (wierd design decision but whatever) - this means you don't get any centralized policy control either. You can of course do local folder redirection manually on each workstation, atleast I'd guess you could, with the local policy. –  Oskar Duveborn May 2 '09 at 17:14
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WHS is doing exactly what it should as far as AD is concerned. Most home users do not know nor care about central administration of users or even know what AD is. The concept of a server is already foreign enough. –  Diago May 15 '09 at 17:43
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