Thanks again. I understand what it is your saying. I should have put more
background into the picture. I've a solution I'm sure you'll not like but
anyone out there with my issue might like it so I'll post it in also.
30 Different offices connected often by slow links
Users roam from office to office sometimes
Roaming profiles are used and currently contain the desktop (this is
horrible and results in very slow logins so the idea is to completely remove
roaming profiles). There is always a philisophical debate at this point. I
am aware of the issues and given the nature of the orgainisation, links,
amount of offices, raoming profiles are just a pain.
I use folder redirection for My Docs already to the users homedrive using
%homeshare%%homepath% and that works fine.
I want to do the same to the desktop.
I dont want the desktop in the users home drive as laptops are
administratively assigned to take the whole homedrive offline (and desktop is
simply local on laptops and not backed up). I dont want laptops taking an
offline copy of a desktops desktop (sounds terrible hope it makes sense).
DFS. DFS has issues (as I see it). My servers are the length of New
Zealand and the desktop needs to be on the local server. The local server is
not always the logon server (like in central areas where there are lots of
logon servers and file servers). %logonserver% therefore is no good.
DFS is nice but it is not dynamic in this sense (at least it doesnt seem to
be). If I create
\\domain\desktopshare to point to my 30 file servers and then create
%username% under the appropriate server (the one closest to that user) then
DFS does not seem to know that share unless it is on all servers or I create
a DFS share for every user (all 3000 odd thousand). I cant see my user being
able to redirect to his correct server from another office dynamically and I
dont want to retro create 3000 shares. I could be missing something here.
If for example I could have 30 servers with \\domain\desktopshare and then
create a directory only on relevant servers that was not preplicated that
could be accessed from anywhere with \\domain\desktopshare\username this
would be fine. It didnt work in my testing so perhaps it needs a while to
replicate the information. If this is the case I could use it. I'm not
clear from your comments though if that would work (30 servers with unique
directories in the root of the share being accessible by just typing in the
path). I create a new directory in the share of an existing DFS server and I
cannot directly path to it \\domain\dfsroot\dfsshare\newdirectory. DFS just
seems to point me to the nearest searver with \\domain\dfsroot\dfsshare and
you get what is there (or it fails the full path). FRS is not an option (all
3000 desktops on all 30+ file servers).
So I have the following working:
The original users home drive was shared as (different servers depending on
where you are based)
You can reference this with %homeshare% which is \\server\user$ and homepath
is simply \.
I changed the users homedrive to \\server\user$\hdrive (by editing the users
account). This would require all files to be copied there (scripts to write).
I used group policy
User\Admin Templates\System\User Profiles\
Connect Home Directory to root
Which gives me %homeshare% = \\server\user$ and
%homepath% = \hdrive
(otherwise it would be %homeshare%=\\server\user$\hdrive
It gets worse from here. Instead of mapping the users homeshare to H: as
normal I mapped it to Z: The group policy above means that Windows maps the
root of the share so Z: becomes \\server\user$
I use the login script to map H: to \\server\user$\hdrive. This keeps all
I create the directory \\server\user$\desktop
Then the nice bits come in
Using group policy I set "Do not automatically make redirected folders
Then a custom ADM to administratively assign \\server\user$\hdrive as fully
backed up with offline files (this only applies to laptops using loopback
I redirect my docs to %homeserver%%homepath% (which it was already naturally
I need to pre-move all files for the user before hand)
I redirect my desktop to %homeserver%\desktop
And there it is. It is hard to setup but is completely automated. The
desktop is redirected only for Fat client desktop machines (loopback
processor on desktop ou) but it is not backed up by offline files (set in the
I can redirect everything using a variable that is set at the time the user
account is created (no extra work for helpdesk or for existing users bar
All other options (unless I am still missing DFS) assume things like, the
homeserver is always the same, I want to create and maintain 3000 DFS shares,
the logon server is the homedrive server, etc.
This way I am always going to have My Docs and Desktop in the same existing
place. The users H: is the same as it was. And most importantly laptops do
not backup the redirected desktop.
I think we can always assume that:
users move about and login from all over the country.
users log into both laptops and desktops.
users are completely tired of roaming profiles and no amount of education
will stop them using the desktop to store things (I audited it and 40% of
users store things there of which the top 30% is over 10 meg). Even 10 meg
is a really slow login on remote sites (not to mention the rest of the
I'd like to see MS in a SP or next release of windows provide a variable
that was simply the home drive server %homeserver%. It seems to me that
where every your H: is would be a logical place to redirect things to and
that you might not want them all in the same location (for example to only
want to make some offline).
Anyway thats my solution. I'd still be interested to know if DFS can
actually do this (make all different shares sitting only on individual
servers up in the root of a DFS share available from anywhere in the country)
or there are any major issues I've not considered.
The issue that come to mind are
Users get a new drive mapping Z: (can I hide that I wonder)
If an application uses a different variable for home path it may end up in
\\server\user$ rather than \\server\user$\Hdrive. This should not be an
issue as all software so far points directly to H: or uses the
I am also going to redirect Favorites and templates to
so they are available in all environment and also offline for laptops (we
have Citrix, desktop, Hybrid-machines on thing sites using Citrix published
apps, and laptop environments). Users should be able to go to any
environment and get the same fav's and templates. Most environments and get
the same desktop (without having to download it locally first). As for
appdata and start menu why people roam them in the first place I'll never
know. By by roaming profiles, its been painful ;).
Post by roga
Bruce I think you could do it much easier than you are suggesting.
Windows server 2003 lets you redirect the desktop to a share (is that what
you want?). In which case you can just use folder redirection as I explained
in my first post. All you need to do is create a share with the correct
permissions and create a dfs link to that share e.g. \\dfs_root\dfs_share .
If you use GP folder redirection the operating system will construct the
If you did not want to redirect the desktop , you could institute roaming
profiles and nominate another share to store them, they would of course
contain the desktop. If you used GP to disable delete local profiles you
would in effect have a copy of the desktop both on the server and the
Personally I don't think %homedrive% and %homepath% are particularly useful,
I tend to redirect "my documents" in the same way that I suggested you
redirect desktops above If you are using 2003 you will get
"\\dfs_root\dfs_share\%username%\my documents". see e.g: (specifically)
http://tinyurl.com/apj3l and (more generally) http://tinyurl.com/9td7k
BTW if you use DFS without File Replication the data will live only on the
local server, I as suggested in my first post you can choose to use
replication if you want, but you don't have to. DFS and FRS are related but
If your local file server was also the local domain controller you could
actually do things without DFS by using the variable "%LOGONSERVER%"
1) Should I
A) redirect the desktop
B) create roaming profiles which are retained on the clients
2) Should I
A) Use the legacy %homepath% and %homedrive% variables
B) Use redirection of "my documents" (& desktop etc if you like as
in 1 A above)
3) Should I
A) Use DFS
B) Use %LOGONSERVER%
A) use FRS replication
B) some other sort of replication (e.g. robocopy which can be done
manually on selected folders)
C) no replication what so ever.
1 B, 2 B, 3A, 4B
I'm sure others will have other preferences
Post by Bruce Taylor (Ironpaw)
That sounds promising. I've used DFS a bit to copy and exact share to each
nominated server and replicate it but will it work for this situation?
I imagine you mean
Create a new DFS share (lets call it desktop) and make it
add all the servers that contain users home drives (as I want the same
homedrive server to share out that users desktop)
I would then need to create a %username% directory only for the users with
an Home drive on that server
The point group policy to \\dfs_root\dfs_share\%username% and it would be
able to work out which server contained that directory?
I wounder if you mean there would be a directory for the user on all server
which would not work (I dont want to preplicate the traffic and not doing it
means the desktop is different depending on what server they get).
I'm not sure I've got the right idea of what you said but I'll give it a go.
Post by roga
If you use DFS (distributed file system) you can redirect profiles etc to
Each site can define (for its sub net) the target server for
You don't have to use replication with DFS, but you can if you like. (you
might find robocopy more manageable)
NB with Windows Server 2003 you can redirect the desktop in the same way as
Some combination of DFS and WS03 redirection should answer all of the needs
"Bruce Taylor (Ironpaw)" <Bruce Taylor
Post by Bruce Taylor (Ironpaw)
Put very simply is there a way to redirect desktop to a users home drive
server but not in the same location as their homedrive that is dynamic (like
a variable for home drive server)
Here is a curly one. We current redirect all users H: to
%Homeshare%%Homepath% (old way to access your home drive through variables)
and have the desktop in Roaming profiles.
It has been decided to try and redirect Desktop as given some of our slow
links and slow users it takes an age to roam a large desktop to a new site.
We have about 30 sites each with its own domain controller and a
with lots of domain controllers.
I dont want to redirect Desktop to users Home Share as this is backed
laptops using offline files (policy states dont put data on the desktop
you do I dont want to back it up) laptop users are not getting the desktop
However I cannot easily identify the servers to redirect the desktop to.
I could use a variable for the Home Drive server that was not in the users
Home share then this would be easy.
I dont want to try and use Security Groups for redirection (this is
prohibitively difficult to impliment and maintain).
I tried making a users home share \\server\share$\%username%\homeshare
in the hope %homeshare% would be \\server\share$ and home path
\username\homeshare but allas home share ended up as
\\server\share$\%username%\homeshare (making me wonder if there is any
all for homepath).
If this had worked I'd use
%homeshare%%homepath%homedrive (for home drives)
%homeshare%%homepath%desktop (for desktops)
I'd use %logonserver% but naturally that changes as you move about or in
central offices as the load changes.
Perhaps I can script a local variable for %current-home-drive-server%
clients and redirect to that (I can see that getting nasty).
Any ideas? I've been looking hard for days and there is little but the very
basics for desktop redirection on the net.