I'm redirecting appdata, my docs and desktop folders to a server using a GPO based on what facility they're usually at. This brings up a problem for users who bounce between multiple locations. Firefox profiles are stored in appdata so it takes forever to go to another facility to get the Firefox profile so that it can start. And after two to three minutes of waiting for Firefox to load, it runs so slowly that it's almost unusable

I want to remedy this with DFS but I don't want to have a hellish transition period. Right now the GPO for facility1 is set to redirect the folders to //server1/Documents and the GPO for facility2 is set to redirect the folders to //server2/Documents. I know I'll need to change these settings to the DFS namespace that I create.

I'll need to add //server1/Documents and //server2/Documents to the DFS namespace //DFSDocuments/ and change the GPO redirection settings to redirect appdata to //DFSDocuments/UserName. Writing it down here makes it seem really easy though; will that be all I have to do? Will the GPO setting direct to the UserName folders in the DFS namespace correctly without me having to move anything? Will the users see any hiccups at all? Or will it just magically replicate?

I'd appreciate any feedback and tips from anyone who's gone through this (non-dfs folder redirection to dfs folder redirection) transition before.

2 Answers 2


First of all you need to understand that DFS really comprises two technologies: DFS namespaces (DFS-N) and DFS replication (DFS-R). The former creates a logical namespace that can be used to hide individual file server names while the latter bidirectionally replicates data between two replication partners.

DFS-N is a good thing and should be used everywhere. But it does not help you right now.

DFS-R is good, too, but incompatible with roaming user profiles (redirected parts of a profile are still parts of the profile).

For further information please see my articles:

User Profile and Home Directory Storage: Distributing the Load Across Multiple File Servers

Replicating User Profiles Between Sites (With or Without DFS) – Why it Should be Avoided

  • so the Replicating User Profiles Between Sites (With or Without DFS) – Why it Should be Avoided article is telling me that not only is DFS-R a bad solution to my problem, but that there is no solution to my problem?
    – blsub6
    Apr 29, 2011 at 20:04
  • Yes, replicating user profiles is neither recommended (by me) nor supported (by Microsoft). I am sorry - there is no simple solution to the problem of users logging on to multiple sites with a single profile. Apr 29, 2011 at 21:29

This is old but I'll answer anyway since the other reply isn't really an answer.

I just changed redirection (for Server 2003 terminal server users) from a \server path to a \dfsroot path and here's what I found:

1.) Make sure you uncheck "move contents to new location" in the redirection GPO. The DFS path already points to the data so there is no need to copy it. One would think that windows would recognize that the data doesn't need to be copied but this didn't appear to be the case on my first try. Logging in took forever until I made this change.

2.) Make sure that your \dfsroot path is recognized as an intranet site on your windows users' PCs or your users will run into security warnings every time they try to access the share. Make doubly sure if you redirect Appdata or Desktop because things will break (for example, the ability to add quick launch tool bar to the start menu). This is supposed to be automatic but it wasn't in my case. In fact I've been unable to figure out why my terminal servers still give warnings when copying files from DFS shares despite every effort made to ensure it's in the intranet zone. I had to give up on redirecting Appdata altogether.

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