Two Tips When Redirecting Folders Via the Registry


I read with interest Apostolos Fotakelis's article "Redirect More Folders", which discusses how to redirect Windows system folders for which Group Policy doesn't provide native redirection. In my environment, I had used Group Policy to redirect the My Documents folder to the network, so I was eager to try Apostolos's registry edit technique to redirect other Windows system folders. After experimenting with redirecting the Favorites folder, I wanted to pass on a couple of useful tips not covered in the original article.

Tip 1. One helpful feature that Group Policy redirection provides is the ability to automatically move the Windows system folders' contents to the network. The registry edit method doesn't automatically do this. So, to move the Favorites folders' contents to the network, I adapted the code that Apostolos added to the logon script. Specifically, I added the lines highlighted by callout A in Listing 1.

Listing 1: Revised Code to Add to the Logon Script

Now when the logon script executes, the existing Favorites folders are copied from users' computers to the specified server. Afterward, they're removed from the local drive.

After all the Favorites folders have been copied onto the server, you can remove the code in Listing 1 from the logon script. Existing users will be set, and new users won't need it because they'll use the network-based Favorites folders from the start.

Tip 2. If the server containing the Favorites folders is unavailable or if users are working offline (e.g., on laptops disconnected from the network), users won't have access to their Favorites folders. Although Group Policy automatically makes redirected folders available offline when the server is unavailable, this doesn't occur if you use the registry edit method to redirect folders. Instead, users will need to right-click the Favorites folder on the network drive, and select Make Available Offline (Windows XP) or Always Available Offline (Windows Vista). To avoid a lot of calls from users, it's helpful to let them know how to work offline once the transition to the network-based Favorites folders is complete.

You can download the code in Listing 1 by clicking the Download the Code Here button at the top of the page. Note that adding the code in Listing 1 to the logon script is only one of five steps in the registry edit method. To learn about the other steps, see Apostolos's article "Redirect More Folders".

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