Best practices for Folder Redirection

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Best practices for Folder Redirection

Accept the default settings.

  • In general, accept the default Folder Redirection settings.

Allow the system to create the folders.

  • If you create the folders yourself, they will not have the correct permissions.

  • If you must, or already have, created the folders, the information in the "Folder Redirection permissions" section in the Folder Redirection Help topic might not apply.

Do not redirect My Documents to the home directory unless you have already deployed home directories in your organization.

If you redirect My Documents to the home directory, and if your users log on to the domain through Terminal Server clients, do not specify a separate Terminal Services Home Directory.

  • The properties dialog box for a user in Active Directory has a profile tab, where the Home Folder can be set, and also a Terminal Services profile tab, where the Terminal Services Home Directory can be set. If these network folders are different, logging on to the terminal server causes the profile Home Folder to be copied to the Terminal Services Home Directory. Logging off the terminal server causes copying to occur in the opposite direction. This is probably not the intended behavior, and it might result in delay in the logon and logoff processes for users. For more information, see Redirect My Documents to the home directory.

Enable client-side caching.

  • This is especially important for users with portable computers. For information about how to configure Folder Redirection and Offline Files to work together, see Folder Redirection.

  • Always enable the Synchronize all offline files before logging off Group Policy setting in the Group Policy Object Editor under \Computer Configuration (or User Configuration)\Administrative Templates\Network\Offline Files. By enabling this setting, you ensure that offline files are fully synchronized and that all of the files in the user's redirected folder are available when the user is working offline. If this setting is not enabled, the system performs only a cursory synchronization, and as a result only recently used files are cached.


    • On client computers running Windows XP Professional and Windows Server 2003 operating systems, redirected folders are automatically cached to client-side caching. In Windows 2000, you must enable this feature.

Use fully qualified universal naming convention (UNC) paths.

  • Although you can use paths like C:\FolderName, it is not recommended because the path might not exist on the target computer. Use fully qualified UNC paths.


    • UNC paths that are longer than 260 characters are truncated. If the path is truncated, redirection fails.

Always place the My Pictures folder in the My Documents folder.

  • My Pictures can be redirected independently of My Documents, or it can follow My Documents (to remain its subfolder whenever My Documents is redirected), as it does by default. The default behavior is recommended unless you have a specific reason (such as server scalability) for separating My Pictures from My Documents.

Consider the impact of policy removal.

  • Consider the behavior of your Folder Redirection policies at the time of policy removal, as described in the table of policy removal considerations in Folder Redirection. Changing the redirection option to Not configured does not redirect the folder to the user's local profile location. It will continue to be redirected to the previous location. If you want to return the folder to the local user profile location, use the Redirect to the local user profile policy setting, as described in Redirect special folders to the local profile location.