Me and a couple buddies started up a small business and we have a Domain + 5 workstation set up. A prof. IT guy helped me set it up a while back.

Basics that I know of: 1)We have a K:\ main network drive with all the network applications -ie, clientele database program, 2)We have a H:\ serparate network drive that stores all the users "My Documents" this drive reconnects at start up like the main network drive.

The 'My documents' on each workstation use to sync when logging off, but after about a year now, I've noticed it stopped syncing after I log off.

I've googled this topic for about a month now and I've tried, Start > explore > tools > Sync - It shows the screen that lists everything I can choose to sync... - BUT there's nothing on the screen and I can't add anything manually

Same thing happened with "Offline Files" setting. -I wasn't able to add the folders I wanted to sync to my domain computer.

Tried to find the "Group policy" thing in the Domain machine but I don't see it and I can only find the "users" folder that lists all the created login accounts

  • If you are running a business with a setup like you have, you really should have an IT support contract. Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to start suggesting that you shouldn't be asking questions here, but if you are using an account with domain admin rights, opening up the group policy editor, without really understanding what you are doing, you are asking for trouble. – Bryan Aug 14 '09 at 17:06
  • I agree completely Bryan, I had an IT contact at the time we were setting up the workstations. But unfortunately the contact is no longer available and we're in the middle of looking for another company/IT personnel. In my area I haven't found an IT prof. that is willing to take a look at our system first to access the problem before charging us with Transportation/Dyagnosis + a bunch of other fees. So if this problem starts to sound like it's over my head, then I'll have to leave it to the Professionals. – Glenn Aug 14 '09 at 18:25

Do you really need to sync files? Assuming your domain computers are all desktop PCs, I don't think you do.

It's a whilst since I've used it, but I believe enabling folder redirection also enables offline files, this might be why it is (or was) enabled for you.

Personally, if it was my domain, I would tend to only allow offline files on laptops, and then only when the user has specifically requested the ability to access files offline.

  • Okay, so more and more what I'm getting is that, folder redirection is better than trying to Sync files at each logon/off...? – Glenn Aug 14 '09 at 18:29
  • Folder redirection, simply redirects your 'My Documents', 'My Pictures', 'Start Menu', 'Desktop' etc. onto the network. This is a good thing on a domain network, as it makes it easy to ensure that all your users store their files on the network server, which then means you don't have to backup desktop PCs. Folder redirection alone doesn't prevent user from storing data on the desktop computers, but generally speaking it will catch the important things. – Bryan Aug 14 '09 at 19:22
  • If the only problem you are seeing is that synchronising of off-line files isn't working, then I wouldn't be too concerned, as I don't beieve you need off-line files, however it would be worth getting your systems checked over by an expert. Remember that I can't see your system, so there is a chance I could be misdiagnosing the problem. Better to be safe than sorry. – Bryan Aug 14 '09 at 19:23
  • Also, don't underestimate Kara's closing comment, you must ensure you are taking backups off site, and further more, you should really have someone check that your backups are working. – Bryan Aug 14 '09 at 19:25

As an IT professional -- avoid offline documents. They fail silently -- and are a pain to deal with -- as you are seeing.

When they work they are nice ("free" backups) -- but a little user education can avoid the issue entirely.

  • ah okay, so folder redirection is probably the best bet? I'm looking at my server setup, and it has 2 WD Veloci-Raptor drives that are in RAID 0. I don't know much about servers but aren't servers suppose to have SCIS drives instead? – Glenn Aug 14 '09 at 18:28

I'm not sure you can add the folders you want to sync in the Offline Files interface -- folders will sync if redirected. If you aren't seeing the sync dialog on logoff anymore,then perhaps your My Docs folder is no longer redirecting?


There are a lot of red flags going on in this post, but here's what I'd probably do.

Grab up a copy of SyncToy and share it around (or dig into robocopy so you can stick the batch job to run at logoff, if you're feeling very adventurous). Everybody set up a folder pair between their profile and their server share. Run as needed.

The worst kind of backup is one where you don't know whether or not it's current. I'm not going to dig into the particulars of the server, as (hopefully) the chances of the workstations and server taking a dive at the same time are low.

Especially since you have offsite backups. Right?

  • Yes there is an offsite back up, and an online back up as well. What I was hoping to accomplish was, each workstation when accessing their [My documents] would do so locally, and then at the end of the day it would all syn into the Server computer or their server share. Hmm looks like writing scripts is out of the question for me...so I might have to try Sync toy until I can get a hold of an IT Pro. – Glenn Aug 14 '09 at 19:29

To answer the title question, I would have a batch file/script run at logoff...have it copy the contents of My Documents to whatever location you want. This may have been the original setup...


On a side note, how much of a difference (on server load/usage/heat) does it make to have all the workstations working locally as opposed to redirecting all the [My documents] to the server share?

  • For five people, practically zero performance difference on mostly files that are office-sized (ie, excel spreadsheets, word documents, etc). If you're a video-editing firm, then it will significantly eat up server disk I/O (assuming people are storing video on their My docs which syncs to the server) – phuzion Aug 14 '09 at 19:46
  • What if we wanted to expand to about 15 workstations? And definitely no videos haahh it's just all Office Docs/Spreadsheets/PDFs – Glenn Aug 14 '09 at 20:39

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