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When offline, how to map drives to offline files?

    Question

  • How can I map a drive that remains mapped when users are offline?  Our offline files policy is working.  Our mapped drives group preferences is working.  Our redirected folders policy is working.

    However, when offline, only one drive is mapped.

    In the Offline Files properties, on the general tab, I can click 'View your offline files".  This reveals three icons; 'Computers', 'Mapped Network Drives', and the user's folder. Under 'Mapped Network Drives', I see the drive we GPP mapped to drive U:. It contains various folders that were successfully redirected and made available offline. However, our 'Projects' drive, does not show up as a mapped drive.

    Under 'Computers', I can navigate to the server and Projects share and see that it is correctly caching files for offline use.  The share is available offline. 

    In Active Directory, our user profiles do not specify a 'Home folder', so this does not explain why U: is available.  So, I wonder why is U: available but the Projects drive is not?

    After much research, I see it is possible to manually choose a mapped drive to make 'Always available offline'.  However, this is not manageable among our in and out users. 

    How can I use Group Policy to map a drive that remains mapped when users are offline?


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    Saturday, September 19, 2015 4:15 PM

Answers

  • Dear Microsoft, please take notice of this issue:

    Aravindhan, I went methodically through the Share properties and found the two drives are shared identically.  Then, I went methodically through our GPOs and the two drives are cached, administratively assigned, and GPP mapped identically.  Therefore I don't believe the difference is a Share or GPO issue.  Then I discovered something interesting...

    I believe the issue is what most of us call a Bug, but Microsoft calls a "By Design" feature.  Specifically, many parts of Windows sees Servername as a different entity than Servername.Domain.  The problem might be prevented by adjusting network properties concerning NetBIOS or Append Suffix, however I never experimented with that.

    Here's what I found.  I noticed U: was mapped to Servername.Domain, just as the GPP specifies.  However, the Projects Share was mapped to Servername.  I suspect the Project Share was manually mapped before the GPO was implemented and the GPO never overrode it.

    Here's the clue.  In 'View Offline Files', I found both Servername and Servername.Domain listed.  Again, I believe this is a result of manual efforts prior to the implementing the GPO.  The offline cache was using massive amounts of space, meaning files were being cached twice.

    Now here's the interesting point.  When I manually unmapped the Projects Share and restarted, the GPO successfully mapped the Projects Share to Servername.Domain, and in 'View Offline Files', I could see it listed as an available mapped drive.  I thought my problem was solved, but it wasn't.

    Next, being concerned about the excess of Servename cached files, I cleared the offline files cache to let it start over.  After waiting for all files to cache, I went offline and found the mapped drives are no longer listed as available offline.  It is interesting that I can use Windows Explorer while offline to open Servername.Domain, see the shares and correctly map them manually, they still do not successfully map by way of GPO unless I'm online.

    For now, I'll give my users the procedure for mapping offline shares manually. 


    Cloud Production

    • Proposed as answer by Aravindhan Battepati Wednesday, September 23, 2015 5:06 AM
    • Marked as answer by Rain Dance Wednesday, September 23, 2015 9:32 PM
    Tuesday, September 22, 2015 7:07 PM

All replies

  • How is your U drive and "Projects" drive shared? Share the details steps on how you share them..

    Monday, September 21, 2015 6:36 AM
  • Dear Microsoft, please take notice of this issue:

    Aravindhan, I went methodically through the Share properties and found the two drives are shared identically.  Then, I went methodically through our GPOs and the two drives are cached, administratively assigned, and GPP mapped identically.  Therefore I don't believe the difference is a Share or GPO issue.  Then I discovered something interesting...

    I believe the issue is what most of us call a Bug, but Microsoft calls a "By Design" feature.  Specifically, many parts of Windows sees Servername as a different entity than Servername.Domain.  The problem might be prevented by adjusting network properties concerning NetBIOS or Append Suffix, however I never experimented with that.

    Here's what I found.  I noticed U: was mapped to Servername.Domain, just as the GPP specifies.  However, the Projects Share was mapped to Servername.  I suspect the Project Share was manually mapped before the GPO was implemented and the GPO never overrode it.

    Here's the clue.  In 'View Offline Files', I found both Servername and Servername.Domain listed.  Again, I believe this is a result of manual efforts prior to the implementing the GPO.  The offline cache was using massive amounts of space, meaning files were being cached twice.

    Now here's the interesting point.  When I manually unmapped the Projects Share and restarted, the GPO successfully mapped the Projects Share to Servername.Domain, and in 'View Offline Files', I could see it listed as an available mapped drive.  I thought my problem was solved, but it wasn't.

    Next, being concerned about the excess of Servename cached files, I cleared the offline files cache to let it start over.  After waiting for all files to cache, I went offline and found the mapped drives are no longer listed as available offline.  It is interesting that I can use Windows Explorer while offline to open Servername.Domain, see the shares and correctly map them manually, they still do not successfully map by way of GPO unless I'm online.

    For now, I'll give my users the procedure for mapping offline shares manually. 


    Cloud Production

    • Proposed as answer by Aravindhan Battepati Wednesday, September 23, 2015 5:06 AM
    • Marked as answer by Rain Dance Wednesday, September 23, 2015 9:32 PM
    Tuesday, September 22, 2015 7:07 PM
  • hm.. I shall give this a try in my test lab. Thanks for sharing this.
    Wednesday, September 23, 2015 5:06 AM