My Documents Redirection on Windows 7

I have (had) a number of windows XP pro workstations in my office. We have redirected everyone "My Documents" to a G:\<username> directory where G: points to a server. That makes sure that everyone's files are backed up.

The problem is with Windows 7. I try to do the same thing and have had only headaches. I have tried setting it up as I did with windows XP and to do so I have to "index" it and thus make it "available offline" using libraries. This works except that whenever the server goes offline, the workstation(s) using windows 7 start to work using local copies of the files and do NOT reattach to the server. At least not the files that were being worked on.

I also tried redirection by "right-clicking" on C:\users\<username>\My Documents and choosing properties. Therein, I choose the "Location" tab and then change the location to G:\<username>. Using this method, I have the following situation. One lady worked on a document at G:\User1\excel1.xls using a Windows XP machine. Lady2 works on the same document on a windows 7 machine using synchronization after Lady1 is done. Lady 2 does NOT see the changes lady 1 made. If I go to the G:\User1\excel1.xls file on both machines, each of them sees a DIFFERENT timestamp. What the heck!!

I just want it to work like it used to in windows XP. If the server is unavailable, I want the G: drive to be unavailable and thus their "My Documents" unavailable. Otherwise, everyone should be working off of the same page. IS there any way to make Windows 7 behave like windows XP on this issue?

Thanks in advance for any assistance on this frustrating issue.

Significantly frustrated
4 answers Last reply
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  1. This does not work if you right click on Documents in the Start menu, you need to go straight to the folder (C:\Users\<username>) and right click on My Documents, Properties and then the "Location" tab. There you can redirect it to a network drive just like you could in Vista.

    The example you gave of it failing is beyond this. If someone works on that file and saves it, without question the next person that opens it will have the updated file. If 2 people open that same excel file at the same time, they are not going to see each others changes in real time. Excel simply does not work that way and the second person opening that file is going to be warned that the file is locked for editing.
  2. don't use offline folders or you will have this issue. As a rule desktops should not use offline folders. The issue is they only sync when logging on or off so when the lady on windows 7 changes something it will not change on the server till the sync happens. You can do the sync by hand but the much faster way to solve this is turn off offline folders alltogether.

  3. Both of you make good points. Skippy, I believe you are correct that the specific example I gave is likely the result of both ladies using the same file at the same time. And therein is the rub. Under Windows XP, Lady1 uses G:\<user>\<FileXYZ>. Then if Lady2 tries to use G:\<user>\<FileXYZ>, she would get an error that the file is locked by another user. I’m good with this behavior and it is what the folks in the office are used to. BUT, now with windows 7 and file synchronization, if Lady1 uses FileXYZ, and then Lady2 tries to use it, Lady2 does NOT get a file locked error. Instead Windows 7 lets Lady2 edit the file but does NOT tell her that she is editing a <I believe> now-local-copy that is out of sync with G:\<user>\<FileXYZ>. I do not want this behavior – it only results in serious confusion and I have no way to easily resolve this.

    Additionally, Thently, unfortunately windows 7 does not give you the option to not use file synchronization for the redirection of My Documents if you are redirecting to drive that is not local to the machine in question. Thus, if changing the my documents to a mapped drive, it will not allow you to do that without first setting up synchronization for that directory/drive. And this is exactly what I want to avoid. If I could implement this without synchronization, my problem would be solved. Anyone know how to do this??

  4. Of course you can turn off offline folders I would not have told you to do this if you could not.

    We do this on all desktops at all the locations I work.

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