We have an existing 2003 server with a mixture of XP and Windows 7 workstations. Users are advised to store documents on network drives so that they are backed up. However, some staff just store documents locally (surprise, surprise).

To try to safeguard this local data, the proposal is to implement folder redirection for MyDocuments and Desktop (and perhaps Application Data). At the moment, we are only really concerned about backups, and are not too bothered that staff have the same desktop, etc, when they log on to different workstations. Although that might be a useful byproduct.

Some members of staff log into multiple workstation each with a set of local documents, etc. (eg when working from different offices). Also, many workstations have multiple profiles, because they have been used by lots of different staff.

Do I need to consolidate all the "MyDocuments", etc. across the workstation into one folder per user profile, before before implementing folder redirection? Otherwise, how can the server resolve duplicates, etc.

Or is there a simpler way to solve the backup problem?

All advice appreciated.



Please could you ellaborate a little more?

How many machines are we talking about? Are the other offices on the domain? Are these "local documents" standard files all users should have, which are supposed to be read only templates on a central share?

I would definately sort out the disperate files to a central (user drive maps, etc) first. I suspect this cultural issue will be your biggest hurdle.

Folder redirection can be enabled to move contents of Desktop/Docuemtents to new location but for that to be useful the user would have to log on to every PC they ever used to ensure that all the "desktop" and "documents" files get moved/merged to the server. Therefore it would probably be prudent to get users to manually tidy up files to the network location then enable folder redirection without moving content to the new location. They can then continue to use the network location and if they slip up and start using the Desktop and Documents folders you can rest assured they are redirected to the server and backed up.

I would also first disable offline files on the shares (caching setting) unless you have laptop users who need this - in which case separate the laptops and PCs with OUs and use Group Policy to enable offline files for laptops and disable offline files for PCs. Make sure all PCs rebooted and offline files disabled is in force before redirecting folders or they start to sync! Just another feature which has its uses but can be a headache if trying to keep things simple.

To solve the backup issue without redirection you could script the workstations to run periodic copies of Desktop and Documents folders to a server share. I wouldn't recommend that due to space concerns, necessity for workstation to be switched on, etc.

  • Thanks for the response. There are approx 25 workstations, all on the same domain. The "local documents" are private to each user and are mostly standard office documents. I think you are right that the "cultural change" might be the biggest problem. In partcicular one manager has his own workstation, then his PA has another workstation which is also logged in under the manager's username. How will this work with central storage? What if they both create a document with the same name? – djk Mar 6 '13 at 8:00

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