Folder Redirection / Library / Offline Files Issue
This is a multi-category question that I hope to get at least some ideas or feedback on. In our organization, students at various locations have their documents redirected to a single DFS server. The path is like: \\server\share\username\documents. Also, as a reminder, Windows 7 libraries will show the Folder Redirection (FR) path, so when FR is successful, the libraries have \\server\share\username\documents and c:\users\public\documents. The problem is that when a user first logs onto Windows 7, instead of showing the server path, the Documents Library shows c:\users\administrator\documents (and c:\users\public\documents). The weird thing is that it will eventually switch from c:\users\administrator\documents to \\server\share\username\documents. The switch may occur before the user sees it, or unfortunately it may take several minutes, leaving the student wondering where his/her documents are. There is a whole lab of computers on which it takes 10 minutes for the documents to appear, for administrator to switch to server. What happens when a user first logs on? Any ideas why the library starts out with administrator documents and then switches automatically to the user's home folder? Why does it take so long for the switch to occur sometimes? This is a complex issue that may be affected by Offline Files, and I will be glad to answer whatever follow up questions you have, as I have been looking at this problem for quite some time. Right now, I at least need some ideas to pursue.
May 25th, 2012 11:28pm

I think that Milos is right that this is working a designed. My understanding that is that Redirected files are by default offline files. So when the user logs in they default to local cached files and the once the files are synched it shows the last location of the files which would be on the server. Try changing the behaviour of offline files to sync on log off instead on logon and you will probably get different results. You can also try turning off offline files and it will show server all the time.
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May 26th, 2012 8:51am

I took Brano's suggestions, but even with Offline Files off (and I know it was off because the Sync Center icon was missing), I still had to wait fourteen minutes for documents to "switch" from "Administrator" to server. Also, syncing at log on or log off is listed as only applicable to XP, 2000, and 2003, right? My situation is only Windows 7 with DFS on Windows 2008 R2. Finally, the page mentioned by Milos is applicable to 2003, and I have a hard time thinking that the Folder Redirection system hasn't changed in nine years for Windows 7 and 2008 R2. For example, it says that "The redirection information file is stored in the %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows\File Deployment\ folder," which no longer exists in a user's AppData\Local or AppData\Roaming. I would greatly appreciate a rewrite of the whole article. I appreciate that Brano at least gave suggestions. Any other suggestions on how to resolve this delay?
May 29th, 2012 4:29pm

Hi, This type issue may be related to the configuration on server site. Please post your concern on Server forum. In addition, you may refer to this. Kim Zhou TechNet Community Support
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June 11th, 2012 6:07am

Thanks for the responses to look at the server, but it doesn't make sense that the server is at fault because of the various behaviors of the workstations (some load the server/redirected folders right away, and some take 10-15 minutes). It's a Standalone DFS on a cluster of 2008R2. Neither the Windows Search Service nor the Indexing Service is installed, but Offline Files is running on all workstations. The community content on the page that Kim Zhou linked to says that server indexing is necessary "unless offline storage is enabled on the client." Also, as an experiment, reinstalled Windows 7 on one of the many affected machines, and it is showing the correct "server" documents right away, not the above message "Checking to see if this location is indexed." My theory is that the machine before reinstall was slowed by almost 400 user profiles, but now that there are only five, it works quickly. Does this theory hold any weight? Please let me know if you have more questions about my environment. Thanks for your input, all of you.
June 11th, 2012 3:07pm

I know I'm late to this party, but I wanted to add a solution that worked for me. I have Windows 7 clients, they are using Offline Folders which are stored on a network, and referenced using a mapped drive. Windows 7 Indexing Options lists "Offline Files" in Included Locations, so you'd think these would be searchable. They weren't. I had to go to the server (Windows Server 2008 R2) and under File Services role, install the Windows Search Service. I specified the drive containing the offline files, and these were indexed. Once that was complete on the server, results for these files started to appear at the client when using the Start menu to search file names. Having said that...I'm still not happy with the search, as it only seems to return results of files recently opened. Bottom line - MS has done a poor job on not only documenting how this is supposed to work, but also in implementing it.MCITP Enterprise Admin/Server Admin, MCSE NT, 2000, 2003
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November 28th, 2012 2:26pm

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