Adding a DFS location to a Windows 7 library if the DFS location is not indexed?


  • As many of you are aware, W7 now includes libraries which amalgamates views of different locations into one view. Now, the only way to add a network location to the library is if it is indexed. I have seen suggestions of adding a symbolic link to the network location and then adding the local location to the library, but lets say for the sake of argument this is not what we want to do as it is somewhat inelegant. We redirect the users My Documents to say \\domain\dfsroot\%username%\My Documents and when because of the library requirement that the folder must be indexed it is showing in the locations box as an unsupported location. Additionally, when opening libraries you will se a yellow information bar telling you " Some library features are unavailable due to unsupported library locations. Click here to learn more..." If we enable offline files, then the redirected location is automatically added to the index and this message goes away as obviously it is now indexed. However, we do not particularly want to enable offline files for desktop machines as they are always connected and it seems silly to enable this functionality.

    Do we install Windows Search on the file servers hosting the DFS shares as I've heard this still doesn't solve this issue:

    This isn't some weired use case scenario as I'm sure many organzations have users folders redirected to DFS locations and migrating to Windows 7 with the smae redirected folders would produce this issue. Does Microsoft want people to use Offline Files on the desktop?
    Sunday, September 20, 2009 4:56 AM


All replies

  • Hi,

    Have you had any luck with this? I'm baffled by this incompatibility.

    I tired using the "Windows Desktop Search: Add-in for Files on Microsoft Networks" and adding the UNC path to my network Documents folder, but this didn't help. In fact, it is apparently not even supported on Windows 7, despite the fact that it installs fine and displays the appropriate UI in the Indexing Options control panel.

    Everywhere I've looked it seems that the only option is to enable Offline Files - and, like you, I can't imagine why I'd want this feature enabled for always-connected desktop PCs.

    Thursday, October 15, 2009 3:05 PM
  • I am looking into this

    Not my final opinion, but prelinary opinion is that this is an unsupported feature from the Windows Desktop Search Team

    See this thread

    Dilip Naik
    Posting free fast VHD Copy at
    Thursday, October 15, 2009 4:35 PM
  • Thanks Dilip - I am now following that thread too.
    Thursday, October 15, 2009 5:49 PM
  • Any update on this from the WDS team? Any hope of an update or patch to allow WDS to resolve DFS paths? It is a huge oversight for WDS to not work with DFS.


    Jared Pickerell

    Thursday, September 16, 2010 5:41 PM
  • bump - SO ridiculous that DFS and indexing don't work together
    Friday, January 14, 2011 11:52 PM
  • How are we supposed to set up a shared file server between two geographical separate sites using DFS replication and namespaces and have it be searchable?  Without DFS and WDS working together this appears to be impossible...
    Monday, August 8, 2011 2:55 PM
  • Proof-of-Concept: DFS shares can be added to Win 7 libraries. There's no Search, but otherwise fully functional.

    I don't know how, but Zune does, so someone at Microsoft does, too. They're just not letting on.

    See my 2 Nov 2011 post on the thread Dilip posted:

    Thursday, November 3, 2011 2:56 AM
  • Interestingly, Explorer cannot add a Synology NAS resident folder to a Library, but Win Media Player can.   In the latter case, you still get the "Some library features are unavailable due to ...." message across top of Explorer window (when you select the Library), however the folders are collected under the library and are accessible.

    So why can I do this for music / with WMP, but not otherwise??

    Saturday, December 17, 2011 8:28 AM
  • Just a quick update here: sadly, I hoped this problem would be fixed with Windows 8 & Windows Server 2012, however it's not. I set up a test environment with both OS (Release Preview & Release Candidate), and observed the exact same behaviour.

    That's a real nightmare: this compatibility issue was reported more than 2 years and half ago, and Microsoft never gave it a proper answer. I don't see the point of implementing Windows Libraries if no-one can use them in an enterprise environment. I mean: many businesses chose to use DFS and then began to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7. Today, there are only two simple ways to access DFS roots:

    1. Use network shares mapping (good old way, not very modern nor productive...)
    2. Include the shares of a single DFS Partner into a library (and thus losing all the benefits brought by DFS: no failover and no load-balancing).

    I do not understand why Microsoft didn't release a fix to correct these limitations, nor issued a statement to clarify its position.

    Is there anybody here from Microsoft to give us official answers, even unpleasant ones ? I used to think that was one of the goals of this forum...

    Saturday, June 2, 2012 2:08 PM
  • I have the exact same issue as everyone else here.  THIS NEEDS TO BE FIXED!!!
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 2:51 PM
  • Seeing as GPO drive mapping in Win 8 currently has limitations for administrative users, the fact that we now cannot use the new preferred libraries method makes Win 8 baffling proposition to the business sector. I am writing this from the Win 8 RTM connected to a 2008 R2 domain with DFS. I have to go and report that it will probably another 18 months or longer before we will see Win 8 in any role for our clients with most of them skipping it all together because of issues like this one that Microsoft will not address.

    I understand the long view that had to be taken with Windows 8 to ensure that Windows 9 will be a realized success, building on the ideas set forth here. However turning a blind a eye to the business sector on crucial functionality in the user space is the setting for disaster, and a major way that competitors are gaining so much ground. Poorly integrated DFS to endpoint compatibility absolutely has to be fixed as it cannot simply be assumed that cloud syncing and Live integration will save corporate users from having to use these features. Until MS allows private organizations to integrate SkyDrive features into SharePoint and SharePoint to be added to local Libraries this is still a live issue.

    • Edited by z-enzo Sunday, August 19, 2012 11:17 PM
    Sunday, August 19, 2012 11:13 PM
  • This worked for me:  Access the user's profile in the registry, select it and search for the server name that you don't want, and change any/all of the four entries (My Music, My Pictures, My Videos and Personal) that are pointing at the wrong server.

    If you're logged in as the user, it'll be under this path:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

    If you're accessing it via auto-loaded hive (via remote registry), it'll be this path:

    HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

    If you're manually loading the hive, it should be loaded under HKEY_USERS and you can name the hive whatever you want.

    Once you've updated the paths to the correct DFS locations, you can open Windows Explorer and select each library and choose the option to "Restore Defaults", which will populate the target with the path that you previously saved to the registry.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2017 2:41 PM