Consider using folder redirection

With the folder redirection feature of IntelliMirror requests for a folder's content can be shifted to a different folder on that computer or on a network share. You can make it appear that the folder is local, while managing that folder from a central location. This is a great feature for backup, maintaining security, controlling volume sizes, and a whole host of issues.

For example, the My Documents folder is where many people not only store settings, but all of their documents. A group policy can redirect that folder, which contains all of a user's desktop information, to a central server's share. The advantage of doing this is that a user's documents are available from any system on the network, and that folder can be backed up, protected, and limited to a specific size. Folder redirection is also useful for caching roaming user profiles, which can lower logon and logoff times because only necessary data is copied over the network. Should a client go down or need to be replaced, redirection helps reestablish the user on a new computer.

The folders you might want to consider redirecting are: My Documents, My Pictures, Application Data, Desktop, and the Start Menu. These folders are located on local drives in the Documents and Settings folder under the profile name. With Windows XP, don't use folder redirection to redirect the Start menu folder; use a group policy to control the items on the Start menu. By the way, Windows XP makes any redirected shell folder

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(such as the ones previously mentioned) available as offline folders.

Barrie Sosinsky is president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield MA). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.

This was first published in September 2002

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