Windows 7 / Getting Started

Folder Redirection and Sync Center

When Folder Redirection policy is first processed by a Windows Vista or later computer, a message appears above the notification area indicating that a sync partnership is being established to keep the local and network copies of the redirected folders synchronized. Clicking this notification opens Sync Center, where the user can view additional details. For more information about Sync Center, see the section titled "Managing Offline Files Using Sync Center" later in this tutorial.

When specifying a path for a user's redirected folder, the recommended technique is to put the folder under the user's name so as to have a similar folder hierarchy as the local profile. For example, put the Documents folder under \\Server\Share\user_name\Documents and the Pictures folder under \\Server\Share \user_name\Pictures.

Sometimes administrators may want to redirect different folders into different shares. In this case, you can use %UserName% as the target folder, such as by redirecting the Documents folder to \\Server\Docs\user_name and the Pictures folder to \\Server\Pics\user_name. This is not recommended, however, and here's why: In Windows Vista and later versions, names of special folders such as Documents and Pictures are enabled for Multi-lingual User Interface (MUI), which means that all the localized names of the folder are actually stored in a file named Desktop.ini. The Desktop.ini file has an entry like this: LocalizedResourceName=@%SystemRoot% \system32\shell32.dll,-21770. This means that when displaying the folder in Windows Explorer, it actually goes into Shell32.dll, fetches the resource ID 21770, and then uses that resource to display the folder's name. The result is called the display name of the folder. Different users can choose different user interface languages-the resources of these different languages will be different, so the same folder will show different names for different users.

The result is that each folder under a user's profile has a display name, and this display name will not change as long as the same Desktop ini file is there, even if the underlying file system folder name is changed. So if you redirect the Documents folder to \\Server\Docs\user_name, the display name will still be Documents. Similarly, if you redirect the Pictures folder to \\Server\Pics\user_name, the folder will still show Pictures as the display name. The user won't see any difference on his Windows Vista and later client computer. So far, so good-at least as far as the user is concerned. The bad news, however, is for the administrator: If the administrator examines the \\Server\Docs folder, she will see a huge number of Documents folders and not the user_name folder as expected.

Therefore, you should specify the redirected folder path to match the local folder if possible. If you have to choose the %UserName% pattern, one solution to this problem is to select the Give Exclusive Access option for the redirected folder so that administrators won't be able to access the Desktop.ini file. Windows Explorer will then fall back to showing the real file system folder name. If that is not an option, you'll need to use a script to modify each of the permissions of each user's Desktop.ini file to remove Allow Read access for administrators. This might be your only choice if you select the Redirect To Home Directory option for the Documents folder because a Home directory usually uses the user name as the folder name, and Give Exclusive Access does not work with Home directories, either.

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In this tutorial:

  1. Managing Users and User Data
  2. Understanding User Profiles in Windows 7
  3. Types of User Profiles
  4. User Profile Namespace
  5. User Profile Namespace in Windows XP
  6. User Profile Namespace in Windows Vista and Windows 7
  7. Application Compatibility Issue
  8. Disabling Known Folders
  9. Windows 7 Understanding Libraries
  10. Working with Libraries
  11. Including Indexed Folders in a Library
  12. Adding Nonindexed Remote Locations to a Library
  13. Creating Additional Libraries
  14. Managing Libraries
  15. Implementing Corporate Roaming
  16. Understanding Roaming User Profiles and Folder Redirection
  17. Understanding Roaming User Profiles in Earlier Versions of Windows
  18. Understanding Folder Redirection in Earlier Versions of Windows
  19. Enhancements to Roaming User Profiles and Folder Redirection Previously Introduced in Windows Vista
  20. Additional Enhancements to Roaming User Profiles and Folder Redirection Introduced in Windows 7
  21. Improved First Logon Performance With Folder Redirection
  22. Implementing Folder Redirection
  23. Configuring the Redirection Method
  24. Configuring Target Folder Location
  25. Configuring Redirection Options
  26. Configuring Policy Removal Options
  27. Folder Redirection and Sync Center
  28. Considerations for Mixed Environments
  29. Additional Group Policy Settings for Folder Redirection
  30. Troubleshooting Folder Redirection
  31. Implementing Roaming User Profiles
  32. Creating a Default Network Profile
  33. Configuring a User Account to Use a Roaming Profile
  34. Implementing Mandatory Profiles
  35. Implementing Super-Mandatory Profiles
  36. Managing User Profiles Using Group Policy
  37. Working with Offline Files
  38. Enhancements to Offline Files Introduced Previously in Windows Vista
  39. Additional Enhancements to Offline Files Introduced in Windows 7
  40. Understanding Offline File Sync
  41. Modes of Operation in Offline Files
  42. Managing Offline Files
  43. Managing Offline Files Using Windows Explorer
  44. Managing Offline Files Using the Offline Files Control Panel
  45. Managing Offline Files Using Sync Center
  46. Configuring Offline Files on the Server
  47. Managing Offline Files Using Group Policy
  48. Offline Files Policy Settings Introduced in Windows Vista
  49. Additional Offline Files Policy Settings for Windows 7