Moving to redirecting folders is it worth it.

    General discussion

  • We ae moving a PDC from a Windows 2003 server to a 2008 64bit server.

    During this changeover it has been suggested to do some changes to the way our environment works.

    For Example:

    It has been suggested to us to move to redirected folders in our company enviroment.

    Currently we use mapped drives for the users files. This has worked and is fine.

    What we mean by folder redirection, is that when users log in to their WS that their Local "My Documents" folder is pointed to a file server. Currently they have to go to their X: drive to get to their personal folder.

    Some questions:

    1. Is this a better method? (folder redirection) Some have argued this is the way things are done today. I,m not really sure that is true? I have seen other organizaations do what we are doing.

    2. What are the advantages to Folder redirection? All the advantages I see are really similar to mapped drives e.g. We back up the users files on the file server, we will do the same on the redirected files.

    3. Perhaps one of the advantages (or disadvantages) is that when you are using redirected folders if the network disconnects the files are also on your local HD as an "off line copy." This makes it nice if there is a network outage or slow network I suppose, but I could also imagine that when the network comes back up there may be bottle necks or miss aligned files  or second copys. Thoughts / expeirences??

    5. Research seems to show that in 2008 R2 you cannot remove from the redirected folders Pictures or Music. Is that true? This seems kinda dumb if true. I really dont want to be backing up pictures or music. While we dont have a lot some people do put pictues in their folders, and its hard to stop them. In the past we didnt care cause it was on their local computer now if we go to this method its another thing to police.

    6. It has also been proposed that best practice is not to use the same name for the server.  The problem is that any unc paths will now not work e.g. \\OldPDC\share\filez   verses \\NewPDC\Share\filez

    Is it true that renaming a new server the same name is difficult and not the best way to do things. I think part of reason for this is because they want to to a parallel change over. In other words slowly move things over. This means that really they cant have two computers on the network called the same thing.

    I have asked a lot of questions I know but this is a big deal to change and IM not sure what the best thing to do is.


    Saturday, June 15, 2013 11:25 AM

All replies

  • 1.  I'm not sure one is better than the other as it really depends on your users, business requirements, and expectations.  In my organization, we actually use both methods, each for a different part of the company.  Many view Folder Redirection as "better" simply because it has a better user experience (Just use My Docs, no need for finding X:, etc).  But Folder Redirection can have issues with policies, syncing, etc.

    2.  The real advantage is user experience.  It's easier telling most users to use My Documents (because they are familiar with this at home and most apps default to storing here) then telling them to browse to X: and remember to save here (each time).  If they are trained fine now with mapped drives, it's only a minor experience boost, although new people will adapt faster.

    3.  Yes, you can use Offline Files.  I personally hate it, though.  I've seen many issues from Tier Support specifically related to Offline Files.  If your users are already used to not having access when the network is down with Mapped Drives, maybe you can get away without turning it on.

    4.  Was there a Question Four? : )

    5.  Depends on the OS.  I think XP was the last to store Pictures / Music directly under the Documents folder.  So, it depends on which OS you are Redirecting for.

    6.  Not sure what you are asking here... Folder Redirection doesn't really care about the server name, it's just provided a path to redirect that folder to.  If it exists, great.  If not, then security on the share should be configured to create it and allow the repointer.  If you change the name of the server, just update the Group Policy used to assign the Folder Redirection to match the new location.

    Renaming a server to a previously existing name, especially in a domain environment, is not advised.  If they slowly want to move people to the new server using Mapped Drives, just copy the content to the new share and update the Logon Script or AD property that points to the location.  Do it over a weekend or something and send out a note that shared space is offline for the weekend during transition or whatever.  Or if you want to do in small groups, apply with a GPO and Item-Level Targeting to a AD Group or OU.  The same is roughly true if switching to Folder Redirection (Offline mapped share, copy content, configure Folder Reirection Group Policy, remove whatever pointed to the old Mapped Drive, and done).

    David Coulter | | @DCtheGeek

    Saturday, June 15, 2013 11:52 PM
  • Thanks for your answers.

    I like you are not sure there is a good or better way but just end user experience.

    We currently do use a X: drive and most people get the hang of it. Although I can see the usefullness of have my docs mapped. If this was a win7 envoronment it might be easier but I struggle with having pictues and music etc. copied over to the server. This is a XP environment.

    I didnt have a question 4 I just missed the number cause I kept adding questions in between.

    The 6th question was really "is it true that its hard to name the server the same thing?" The problem is that links and some programs point to the old server. Who knows what will change if that changes.

    I do wonder frankly if I should just put things back the way they are and then do some testing with a few people with the redirected folders and see how people like it.

    Thanks for your comments. I look forward to further comments or others who may have thoughts on this.

    Sunday, June 16, 2013 1:24 AM