I've recently inherited a client who has a folder redirection policy GPO and home paths specified through user attributes in AD. Now the strange thing is, I have literally no idea how it is working. See for example:

In the GPO - it specifies the location for My Documents redirection to:


Now if I type this into a run prompt manually it of course resolves to:


The Home Folder connect drive specified for John in AD is mapped to U:\ and in the field:


Yet folder redirection is working, how is this possible? To clarify, this is a Windows 2003 server environment with Win7 and Win XP clients (redirection works on both clients)

  • I'm not sure I understand your question. Why do you think this wouldn't work? – Bryan Aug 12 '13 at 21:44
  • 1
    \\\\server01\user\john is not a valid UNC path – PnP Aug 12 '13 at 22:09
  • Oh yeah, thanks, I looked right past that! I believe GPMC prefixes them to a string that doesn't already start with two leading backslashes. I'd guess that if you edited the policy to state %HOMESHARE%%HOMEPATH% GPMC will insert them back in. What's in fdeploy.ini? Does that include the extra backslashes? If so, I'd guess the GP client is removing them when the env variable expansion is performed. – Bryan Aug 12 '13 at 22:36

Microsoft software will sometimes "help" by removing extra slashes. It is not consistent across all software/APIs/methods. I don't think this is formally documented anywhere.

For example, if you enter a path in a format like the following into the Start -> Run/search box, it will fail, as you note.


However, if you enter the path in the following format, it should work:


Oddly, in my testing, one can use up to six slashes, but seven yields an error. (Win 7 Pro SP1)

As an aside, it may be worth mentioning that only a very limited set of environment variables can be used in folder redirection path. They are %USERNAME%, %USERPROFILE%, %HOMESHARE%, and %HOMEPATH%. MSFT reference

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