First published on TECHNET on Aug 12, 2016
I’m Jeff Patterson, Program Manager for Work Folders and Offline Files.
Jane wrote a blog last year which covers how to use Folder Redirection with Work Folders. The blog is great for new environments. If Folder Redirection and Offline Files are currently used, there are some additional steps that need to be performed which are covered in this migration guide.
This blog covers migrating from Offline Files (a.k.a. Client Side Caching) to Work Folders. This guidance is specific to environments that are using Folder Redirection and Offline Files and the user data is stored on a Windows Server 2012 R2 file server.
When using Folder Redirection and Offline Files, the user data in special folders (e.g., Documents, Favorites, etc.) is stored on a file server. The user data is cached locally on the client machine via Offline Files so it’s accessible when the user is working offline.
Folder Redirection policy with Offline Files
After migrating to Work Folders, the user data in special folders (e.g., Documents, Favorites, etc.) is stored locally on the client machine. The Work Folders client synchronizes the user data to the file server.
Folder Redirection policy with Work Folders
After migration, the user experience will remain unchanged and companies will benefit from the advantages of Work Folders.
Reasons to migrate from Offline Files to Work Folders:
For the complete list of benefits, please reference the Work Folders Overview .
This migration guide is intended for the following configurations:
The following configurations or scenarios are not currently supported:
|Configuration or Scenario||Reason|
|User data is stored on a network attached storage (NAS) device||Work Folders requires the user data stored on the file server via direct attached storage (DAS), storage area network (SAN) or iSCSI|
|File server is running Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2008 R2||The Work Folders server component is only supported on Windows Sever 2012 R2 or later|
|Offline Files is used for multiple file shares (e.g., team shares)||Work Folders supports one sync partnership. It is intended for user data only and does not support team shares or collaboration scenarios.|
If the requirements listed above are not met, the recommendation is to continue to use Offline Files or evaluate using OneDrive for Business.
High-level overview of the Offline Files to Work Folders migration process:
The following considerations should be reviewed prior to starting the Offline Files to Work Folders migration:
Example - Create two Folder Redirection group policies:
Desktops and Laptops Folder Redirection group policy - The root path in the Folder Redirection policy will point to the local Work Folders directory: %systemdrive%\users\%username%\Work Folders\Documents
RDS and VDI Folder Redirection group policy - The root path in the Folder Redirection policy will point to the file server: \\fileserver1\userdata$\%username%\Documents
Note: The group policy loopback processing (replace mode) setting should be enabled on the RDS and VDI group policy
Note: Offline Files (CSC) should be disabled for RDS and VDI environments since the user should have a reliable connection to the file server
To migrate from Offline Files to Work Folders, follow the steps below.
Note: If the root path in the Folder Redirection policy is \\fileserver1\userdata$ , the steps below should be performed on the file server named FileServer1.
Note: Several of the steps (6, 8, 9, 10) are optional. If you want to allow users to sync files over the internet and you plan to have multiple Work Folders servers, steps 1-10 should be completed.
Important details to review before following the TechNet documentation :
Example: If the special folders path in the Folder Redirection policy is \\fileserver1\userdata$ , the userdata$ file share should be selected as the path.
Note: All user data stored on the file share will be synced to the client machine. If this path is used to store user data in addition to the redirected special folders (e.g., home drive), that user data will also be synced to the client machine.
To deploy Work Folders via group policy, follow Step #11 in the TechNet documentation .
For the “Work Folders URL” setting in the group policy, the recommendation is to use the discovery URL (e.g., https://workfolders.domain.com ) so you don’t have to update the group policy if the Work Folders server changes.
Note: Using the discovery URL requires the “workfolders” CNAME record in DNS that is covered in the “Create DNS records” section.
Note: All special folders (e.g., Documents, Desktop, Favorites, etc.) can be redirected to the local Work Folders directory except for AppData (Roaming). Redirecting this folder can lead to conflicts and files that fail to sync due to open handles. The data stored in the AppData\Roaming folder should be roamed using Enterprise State Roaming (ESR), UE-V or Roaming User Profiles.
To update the Folder Redirection policy, perform the following steps:
Note: The "Move the contents of Documents to the new location" setting should be un-checked because Work Folders will sync the user data to the client machine. Leaving this setting checked for existing clients will cause additional network traffic and possible file conflicts.
After migrating to Work Folders, you can prevent clients from using Offline Files by setting the “Allow or Disallow use of the Offline Files feature” group policy setting to Disabled.
Note: Offline Files should remain enabled if using BranchCache in your environment.
Verify the Work Folders clients are syncing properly with the Work Folders server
Example: Healthy status
If the sync status is orange or red, review the error logged. If additional information is needed, review the Work Folders operational log which is located under Microsoft-Windows-WorkFolders in Event Viewer.
The “Troubleshooting Work Folders on Windows client” blog covers common issues.
Verify the special folders are redirected to the correct location
If the special folder is still redirected to the file share, run “gpupdate /force” from a command prompt to update the policy on the client machine. The user will need to log off and log on for the changes to be applied.
Special folders that can be redirected via Folder Redirection policy
The following special folders can be redirected to the local Work Folders directory:
Considerations for the Root Path in the Folder Redirection policy
The Folder Redirection root path in the migration guide (Step# 3) assumes multiple special folders are redirected. The root path can vary for each special folder as long as the folders are redirected under the Work Folders directory.
Example #1: If Documents is the only folder that is redirected, the root path could be the Work Folders root directory: %systemdrive%\users\%username%\Work Folders
Example #2: If you do not want the special folders in the root of the Work Folders directory, use a sub-directory in the path: %systemdrive%\users\%username%\Work Folders\Profile\Favorites
The following issue has been identified when redirecting special folders to the Work Folders directory:
|Favorites||Unable to open Favorites in Internet Explorer when using Windows Information Protection||Internet Explorer does not support encrypted favorite files||Use Edge or a 3 rd party browser|
Congratulations! You’ve now completed the Offline Files to Work Folders migration!
I would appreciate any feedback (add a comment) on the migration process and if any steps need to be clarified.
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