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Offline files always wants to set \\dfsroot\data share offline RRS feed

  • Question

  • Users in our domain have a home directory that is located on a dfs share.

    We have set the policy "Administratively assigned offlines files" to \\domain.local\data\home\%username%.

    We have also enabled the policy "Do not automatically make redirected folders available offline", so other then the user's homedirectory nothing else is set offline.

    Caching is only enabled on the \\netappfileserver\home$ share that the DFS share \\domain.local\data\home is pointing to.

    The Problem:

    I can sometimes see in the offlines files eventlog that this path is sometimes disconnected:

    \\domain.local\data\home

    That is no problem, because that share will then be available offline and the user can get to his files.

    However, is can also see that this path is sometimes disconnected:

    \\domain.local\data

    The consequence of this, is that every share under \\domain.local\data is no longer reachable.

    That includes drivemappings to \\domain.local\data\groups and \\domain.local\data\prog (offline files caching has also been disabled on these shares).

    There is no reason why \\domain.local\data should be set offline, caching is not enabled on that share, no offline gpo's are configured for that, not even the network cable has been pulled out.

    What does offline files want to pull the whole \\domain.local\data offline when only \domain.local\data\home goes offline?

     

     

     

     

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010 10:13 AM

All replies

  • Hi,

     

    Thanks for posting in Microsoft TechNet Forum.

     

    Based on your description, I suggest you refer to the following link:

     

    Access to a redirected folder or a home drive disconnects regularly on a computer that is running Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7

     

    Meanwhile, you could try disabling Offline Files to check what the result is.

     

    Hope it helps.

     

    Alex Zhao

    TechNet Subscriber Support in forum.

    If you have any feedback on our support, please contact tngfb@microsoft.com

     


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.
    Wednesday, December 1, 2010 10:10 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks, but the disconnects are not the main issue here, it is the fact that Offlines files wants to put the whole DFS root offline (\\domain.local\data ).

    Why is it doing that, and how can that be prevented?

     

    I've now configured offlines files to work directly with the netapp fileserver and no longer with domain DFS.

    The only disconnects that i see now in the eventviewer are related to the homedirectory and nothing else, so the problem is most certainly related to DFS.

    I did find some posts that describe a similar/the same? problem:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverfiles/thread/bf93ab14-f1a1-49f8-ba2f-867e2165fc6b

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/filecab/archive/2006/01/19/using-dfs-namespaces-and-offline-files.aspx

     

    Could it be that offline files in combination with DFS does this by design?

     

     

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010 10:47 AM
  • I've asked a similar question in another topic and this was replied:

     

    Hi,

     

    Sorry for my delay.

     

    First, as this issue is more Server related, I still recommend to post a new thread in Windows Server Forum for discussion which is the efficient way to resolve this issue.

     

    After accessing your link and reviewing the new thread which you posted, I think this is by design.

     

    Please check the link below for more information:

     

    Can I use DFS with Offline Files and redirected My Documents folders?

    Administrators must not enable Offline Files on a path with the same first component as a path used for roaming profiles. For example, if roaming profiles are stored on a domain root named \\Domain\Roam , Offline Files should not be enabled for a DFS root named \\Domain\Project . Similarly, if roaming profiles are stored on a stand-alone root or regular shared folder, such as \\Server\Roam , Offline Files should not be enabled for a path such as \\Server\Other .

     

    Offline Files treats the first component of the path name as if it were a server and caches everything under that "server." In the \\Domain\Roam and \\Domain\Project example above, enabling Offline Files for \\Domain\Project would result in the roaming profiles being cached by Offline Files as well.

     

    You may also refer to the paragraph below in the article: Using DFS Namespaces and Offline Files

     

    For example, if \\Contoso.com\Public is a domain-based root with several root targets and numerous links, the Offline Files feature interprets this namespace as a single server named \\Contoso.com . If a client is accessing or attempts to access a target in the \\Contoso.com\Public namespace, and the target is unavailable, the client interprets the entire namespace as unavailable and will attempt to open a user’s locally cached files (if they exist).

     

    Also, as there is another thread focus on that issue, in order to avoid confusion and keep track of troubleshooting steps, I recommend we keep working with the thread: Offline files always wants to set \\dfsroot\data share offline

     

    Regards,

     

    Sabrina

    Thursday, December 2, 2010 9:29 AM
  • Based on above response i would then like to report a bug.

    I have evidence that when the complete DFS namespace is disconnected, it takes all other shares that are present under the DFS namespace down along with it, even though they are NOT present in the offlines files cache (in fact caching has been disabled both on the dfs namespace and all shares that exist under it, except for the home share).

    The result is that complete network drive mapping are then sometimes no longer available.

     

    Thursday, December 2, 2010 9:34 AM
  • Hi,

     

    Thanks for update. We appreciate your feedback.

     

    I have checked the response above, based on my understanding, the following paragraph explained the why this issue occurs when using offline files with DFS:

     

    Administrators must not enable Offline Files on a path with the same first component as a path used for roaming profiles. For example, if roaming profiles are stored on a domain root named \\Domain\Roam , Offline Files should not be enabled for a DFS root named \\Domain\Project . Similarly, if roaming profiles are stored on a stand-alone root or regular shared folder, such as \\Server\Roam , Offline Files should not be enabled for a path such as \\Server\Other .

     

    As far as I know, we cannot get a workaround for this.

     

    Thanks again.

     

    Alex Zhao

    TechNet Subscriber Support in forum

    If you have any feedback on our support, please contact tngfb@microsoft.com


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.
    Friday, December 3, 2010 7:36 AM
    Moderator
  • So basically what you are saying is that offline files should not be used at all in combination with DFS that also has other shares on it that are not being used by offline files?
    Friday, December 3, 2010 10:09 AM
  • Hi,

     

    You could also refer to the following link:

     

    Distributed File System: Frequently Asked Questions

     

    Alex Zhao

    TechNet Subscriber Support in forum

    If you have any feedback on our support, please contact tngfb@microsoft.com


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.
    Tuesday, December 7, 2010 2:20 AM
    Moderator

  • Wait a minute, you are even saying that offline files should not even be enabled on a REGULAR shared folder, not just DFS shared folders?

    If that is the case, then aren't you basically saying that an offline files share can not be combined with a roaming profiles share if they are both located on one server?
    But isn't it true that pulling the whole server with all its shares to offline modus does not only affect roaming profile shares, but also other important shares, such as a department share?

    If that is the case do i understand correctly that you are then basically saying that offline files should only be used on a dedicated fileserver for offline files shares only?

    Thursday, December 9, 2010 8:23 PM
  • Hi there,

    Reading through the thread, I think there's a little bit of confusion here about how the various components involved (DFS, Offline Files, Roaming Profiles) work together.  Sabrina's and Alex's responses are technically correct in some scenarios, but there's an awful lot of variables in play here. 

    So, before I write an epic response on the architecture and what works and what doesn't, can you verify some details about the environment for me ruudboek?

    • What operating system is your file server running?
    • What operating system are your clients running?
    • Do you experience this behavior on clients that do NOT have roaming user profiles (where you are just using folder redirection/offline files)?
    • Do you experience this behavior if you do not use a domain-based DFS for the shares, but instead point them directly to //server/share?

    If there's anything else about the environment that might be useful beyond these things, please post.  Once I have this information, I think I can explain what's happening and give you some better guidance around how to proceed from here.  Thanks!

     


    David Beach - Microsoft Online Community Support
    Tuesday, December 14, 2010 9:20 PM
  • I am about to head out for a few weeks for the holidays, so I wanted to go ahead and post some explanation for anyone affected by this sort of issue.  If you have followup questions, post, and maybe some others from the community team can jump in and help answer those:

    When a user logs in to Windows, the user’s home directory  path is cached along with many other parameters.  When that user logs in later with cached credentials, Windows attempts to reconnect the home directory.  Normally in an offline scenario this would fail ( as the machine is offline and can’t contact the server).  However, if you're using folder redirection, that directory is made available offline.  This feature also allows you to access the contents of a home directory if the server hosting that directory goes offline (for example, if it experiences a hardward failure).

    The problem happens when your home directory path happens to be part of the same DFS namespace that you use to access everything else.  This is actually a very common configuration, since most administrators aren't thinking about offline files when they set up DFS, or vice versa.  When this happens, you get some odd behavior:

    • Home directory goes offline for some reason (expected)
    • Everything else in the DFS namespace also goes offline (wait, what?)

    In order to understand why this happens you need to understand the underlying architecture of how we connect to UNC paths on the network.  All connections to UNC pathnames from Windows Explorer get processed by the multiple UNC provider (mup.sys)  and the redirector (mrxsmb.sys) regardless of whether caching is in use or not.  This includes drive map requests.  The way that we make CSC (offline files) work is that we actually sit in between mup.sys and mrxsmb.sys and intercept the requests as they come in.  If the request includes a folder that is pinned by CSC, we pass back the cache location instead of going out over the network.

    When the Mup wants to “find” a UNC path, it breaks down the path into its component parts and then walks the tree downward to see if we can connect to the resource.  So when the redirector wants to go to \\DFSROOT\UserFiles\HomeDir\User - it doesn’t ask for the whole pathname at once.  Instead it does something like this….

    Hey, can I connect to \\DFSROOT?
    That worked, can I connect to \\DFSROOT\UserFiles?
    Ok, now can I connect to \\DFSROOT\UserFiles\HomeDir?
    …and so on

    The reason for doing it this way is simply because that’s how UNC pathnames are parsed.  They're supposed to represent a hierarchical namespace, so we start at the root level and walk down to find our final destination.  Incidentally, this methodology is also why DFS can work at all, because DFS simply virtualizes folder names and allows us to redirect the client to different file servers on the network.

    Since CSC has to be able to redirect you to a cached folder even if that folder is multiple levels deep (like our path above), in order for it to work properly with MUP and the redirector, it has to pin every folder name in the path.  Otherwise, when you asked for \\DFSROOT\UserFiles, you'd get a failure (because you were offline), and you'd never get to \\DFSROOT\UserFiles\HomeDir\User.

    On its own, this makes perfect sense.  But when you combine it with DFS namespaces, wierd things happen.

    The Mup doesn’t check at all to see whether the result it’s getting passed back actually came from the SMB redirector (the network) or was “shimmed” in by CSC.  Mup never knows the difference - a success is a success, regardless of where we got it from.  So, when the Mup asks for \\DFSROOT, CSC returns a status_success through Mup, and the operation continues.  This ultimately means that the redirector really has very little idea whether the data came from the local cache or whether it came from the file server (Explorer can find out, which is how it can tell you that you're working offline, but it sort of cheats by hooking some outside things to do it, and by then it's too late to go back and try to go out over the network again).

    The net effect is that if you've pinned \\DFSROOT\UserFiles\HomeDir\User, and the server that is the DFS Link target for Userfiles happens to go offline, everything is fine and dandy for that folder - but if you also want to access \\DFSROOT\Marketing\Templates, or something like that, you're in for a nasty surprise.  In that situation, CSC has marked the entire path to \\DFSROOT\UserFiles\HomeDir\User as offline (even though \\DFSROOT might still be perfectly accessible).  Thus, when your client goes looking for \\DFSROOT in order to get to \\DFSROOT\Marketing\Templates, CSC is going to return the "pinned" version of \\DFSROOT (which has no data other than a pinned version of \\DFSROOT\UserFiles).

    Anyway, the upshot of all this is that CSC and DFS namespaces really don't mix well at all.  We've had some talks with the development teams about this scenario, and it's definitely something that we're trying to figure out if we can do better in the future.  A lot of the improvements that exist in CSC in Windows 7 were driven primarily by a better understanding of how people leverage it out in the wild.  But the bottom line for now is that if you need to make folders in a DFS namespace available offline, it really needs to be all or nothing.  Either make the entire namepace available offline (or at least give users the option), or segregate the shares that need to be available offline into a separate namespace.  We realize that solution isn't the ideal we'd all like to see (ideally, it should "just work" without any wierd configuration needed), but it's what we've got.

    **Note:  Windows 7 made some big improvements in this area - so the behavior that you see is going to be very dependant on your client OS version.  Since we know a lot of folks are still using XP, the above describes XP**

    I hope that helps explain some of what you're seeing.  As I mentioned, I'll be gone for a couple of weeks, but there's a lot of smart folks around these forums who will hopefully be able to help answer any followup questions.


    David Beach - Microsoft Online Community Support
    • Proposed as answer by Jagade Friday, December 31, 2010 1:42 AM
    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 7:42 PM
  • Hi,

    I just wanted to come along and post some additional information with regards to Offline Files and this discussion.

    Offline Files does need to be able to walk the path from the root down to where is cached so there are references in the cache to the higher locations.  That is how it is able to deliver a view to the user when things are going offline.

    Since you are going to a NetApp filer and you are redirecting the home drives, this hotfix should be able to address that as well:

    981872 Access to a redirected folder or a home drive disconnects regularly on a computer that is running Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;981872

    When I have dealt with NetApp filters a lot of times updates are needed on it to address the issue as well.

    Since Offline Files was completely re-written starting in Vista the behavior no longer takes the whole DFS namespace offline just because one of the links is having an issue.  In order for the root to also be taken offline there would have to be a network related issue that is occurring at that level.  

    A share would be disconnected for the following reasons:

    1. Network error has occurred (ie server not available, connection reset, etc)
    2. Network latency has exceeded the threshold so slow link mode is transitioned to.  The event would have given the latency information in then.  Default latency threshold for Windows 7 is 80ms round trip.
    3. User transitions the share offline manually (could be programmatically as well)

    Hope that helps explain some things as well.

    Happy New Year!

    Gary

    • Proposed as answer by Jagade Friday, December 31, 2010 1:42 AM
    Thursday, December 30, 2010 6:55 PM
  • David, 

     

    we choose to go configure offline files so that offline files always remains in a slow link mode, so permanently offline.

    we not have a severe problem (bug?) with that setup, that every second or third user that logs onto the windows 7 workstation does not get any sync partnerships.

    I would really appreciate if you could help us out.

    This is the link to my post:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itpronetworking/thread/6ad53d1f-c54f-4099-bd6a-8058b6543f2a

    Thursday, April 14, 2011 9:56 AM
  • Hi ruudboek,

    I'll ask some of the folks on the technical moderator team to take a crack at the issue in your other thread, and see if we can't help you figure it out.


    David Beach - Microsoft Online Community Support
    Friday, April 15, 2011 1:22 PM
  • Thanks david, i appreciate it.
    Friday, April 15, 2011 1:29 PM
  • David, i think i have found a solution to the problem, it relates to your very extensive explaination of the inner workings of offline files.

    Could you do me a favor an confirm if my findings are correct (we don't use dfs in that post b.t.w.)?

    This is the link to my post:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itpronetworking/thread/6ad53d1f-c54f-4099-bd6a-8058b6543f2a


    Monday, April 18, 2011 9:06 AM
  • I realise that this is an old post but......

    Can some please confirm what the offline caching setting should be set to for the underlying folder acting as the DFSRoot on the DFS server?

    For example:

    - I have a Domain namespace of "\\Company.Local\Private"

    - The corresponding folder on the DFS server is "D:\DFSRoots\PRIVATE" which is obviously shared.

    - The default Caching/Offline option is set to "Only the files and programs that users specify are available offline"

    Is this correct or should this be changed to "No files or programs***** available offline"

    For your info:

    The target folders under "\\Company.Local\Private" i.e. "\\Company.Local\Private\Homes" point to a share on a file server. That file servers share is set to "Only the files and programs that users specify are available offline”

    Servers are 2008R2

    Clients Windows 7 sp1

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013 6:00 PM