Raise your hand if you’re using Windows XP in your corporate environment and make use of a VPN client to connect back to your network resources when you’re off campus. Does your company leverage any type of manual folder redirection for your My Documents folder to point to a network location? If so, how many of you struggle with accessing your home directory (e.g. My Documents) when you’re working away from the office. This is a very common complaint amongst the information worker. The issue is, when you go home, logon to your laptop, connect to the VPN, and click on your My Documents, you don’t have access to your data. My wife complains to me, “Why can’t I access my home drive?!” This is because when you logon to your machine, you’re not connected to the corporate network. A workaround is either knowing the UNC on the network you can browse to access your data. While this can be annoying for some, but an annoyance anyway, there are solutions out there that can help.
My first piece of advice is to eliminate the use of the VPN client altogether. There are technologies out there that can provide a more , Cisco’s AnyConnect or Microsoft’s Direct Access solution. Depending on customer requirements, you’ll need to examine the clientessVPN solutions that are out on the market.
As part of your Windows 7 Deployment Project, you may consider leveraging group policies to create a more secure and managed desktop environment. Folder redirection is one of the policies you might want to consider. Generally speaking most organizations have a User Data Policy, which dictates where user data should be stored. In the corporate environment it is a very good idea to backup user data to a network location such as SharePoint, Network Share, Home Directory, etc. Alternatively, the use of external devices such as USB, external hard disk, etc. can be used. Folder redirection policy is a great way to ensure that as a user logs on, their documents are pointed to a network location.
When creating a new User Account in Active Directory Users & Computers (ADUC), you have the ability to create a Home Folder to point to a network location. One of the most common scenarios is to map a Drive Letter to point to a specific UNC on a filer where you would like to store the user’s My Documents folder.
Additionally, if your intention is to implement Windows RE into your deployment solution, Documents Folder Redirection is a critical piece of the ability to self restore a PC. If the user’s primary source data is not kept on a Network Share, when the System Image Restore process is initiated, there is some potential for the loss of all local data.
Configuring Folder Redirection Policy in Windows 7
Step by Step
1) In the GPMC, right-click the OU on which you want to apply Folder Redirection (at the time of this writing the policy is configured on Test OU – Test – Users) , and choose “Create a GPO in this domain, and Link it here.”
2) Name the GPO, say, “Win 7 Documents Folder Redirection”
3) Right-click on the policy and choose Edit.
4) Drill down to Folder Redirection: Select User Configuration – Policies – Windows Settings – Folder Redirection
5) Go to the Documents folder, right-click and choose Properties.
6) On the Target tab make the Setting set to Basic – Redirect everyone’s folder to the same location.
7) The Target folder location is set to Redirect to the following location
8) The Root Path is set to %HomeShare%\My Documents
9) Click Apply