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I maintain two Win 2003 servers connected via a VPN with data duplicated via DFS. As it stands the customer is complaining of losing data - normally because one person in each office saves a version of the file, causing one copy to silently go to the conflicts folder.

The ideal would be to lock access to a file at both locations, or at least notify users if their changes have ended up in the conflicts folder, but I'm stumped about how to arrange either.

Any suggestion will be appreciated and I will, of course, diligently answer any questions you have!

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

There's no built-in functionality to do what you're describing. DFS replication is really nice, but it doesn't excel in the kind of situation you're talking about.

You could code something up to parse the ConflictandDeletedManifest.xml file (it would have to run as an "Administrator") and report against it. Further, because the ConflictAndDeleted folder has a quota and "wraps", nothing you do is going to be guaranteed to be automated. Identifying the "owner" of a file could be as simple as examining the owner in the ACL, but it's possible that the owner could be someone other than the party to whom notification should be sent.

In case you see it or someone else points it out, there's a script from Microsoft Enterprise Product support that will restore files based on the ConflictandDeletedManifest.xml file. It might be a starting point, but it won't do waht you want out-of-the-box.

This idea sounds nice on the surface, but I think it will prove to be problematic. You're probably better off trying to put together a workflow that involves saving to new filenames or using something like a revision control system (SharePoint, Subversion, etc) in lieu of file-based storage for the data that has been the source of issues.

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That's a very helpful answer, thank you... although the proposition of forcing this lot into using a nice versioning system could be problematic. Anything that isn't completely transparent befuddles them awfully. I will investigate Sharepoint and leave the question open for the moment. I'd also vote you up if I had the rep! – Fentible Jul 23 '09 at 10:09

As Evan states, this functionality doesn't exist natively, but you can accomplish something similar by setting up a subversion repository with locking. Basically, people will have to check out a document, thereby locking it and not allowing another copy to open until they are through with it. Here is a free, online O'Reilly book on Subversion that will take you through all the steps. Hope this helps, good luck.

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An alternative to Subversion would be to do something similar with Windows SharePoint Services (which is free), and which would allow you to force checkouts before updates, store multiple versions of documents, etc. – Sean Earp Jul 21 '09 at 21:59
Thank you for the suggestion, and the link! I will investigate around, and I can only apologise for not voting you both up, as I haven't the reputation. – Fentible Jul 23 '09 at 10:10
I'm sorry I can't set you both as the accepted answer! – Fentible Jul 25 '09 at 10:33

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