Best Practice Ezine #78 Death of the Home Drive?

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Death of the Home Drive?

I imagine that one of your tasks is to protect users’ files.  I expect that you make sure key documents get saved to a server, rather than the local machine.  Instead of creating a mapped H: \home drive, Guy recommends Folder Redirection via Group Policy.  My belief is that the mapped home drive, if not dead, then its days are numbered; let me explain.

In bygone days, what happened was that a clever logon script mapped users’ home directory on the server to the local H:\ drive.  Then administrators re-configured programs like Word or Excel to save, not to XP’s ‘My Documents’ but to the H:\ drive.  If you take my advice, then you will simply create a group policy which redirects ‘My Documents’ to shared folder on a file server.  My idea is to take a short cut, which also happens to provide a superior method for users to save files to the server.

A bonus of this technique is that you can redirect the Desktop and even the Startup Menu to the areas on the server.  Incidentally, when you configure Group Policies, you can get so carried away playing the ‘Mr Nasty’ role and screwing down the user settings, that you neglect the ‘Mr Nice’ role, which seeks settings to enhance the users’ experience.  Folder Redirection is job for ‘Mr Nice’.

The Folder Redirection Group policies have a personality all of their own.  All that you need to succeed is belief that it’s possible.  It helps if you share my vision that mapped home drives are in their death throw, and Folder Redirection is the way of the future.

Guy Recommends: Tools4ever’s UMRAUMRA The User Management Resource Administrator

Tired of writing scripts? The User Management Resource Administrator solution by Tools4ever offers an alternative to time-consuming manual processes.

It features 100% auto provisioning, Helpdesk Delegation, Connectors to more than 130 systems/applications, Workflow Management, Self Service and many other benefits. Click on the link for more information onUMRA.

Recommended: Solarwinds’ Permissions Analyzer – Free Active Directory ToolFree Permissions Analyzer for Active Directory

I like thePermissions Analyzer because it enables me to see WHO has permissions to do WHAT at a glance.  When you launch this tool it analyzes a users effective NTFS permissions for a specific file or folder, and takes into account network share access, then displays the results in a nifty desktop dashboard!

Think of all the frustration that this free SolarWinds utility saves when you are troubleshooting authorization problems for user’s access to a resource.  Give this permissions monitor a try – it’s free!

Download SolarWinds’ Free Permissions Analyser – Active Directory Tool

Thank you – Last Week

Many thanks for those of you who took the trouble to write in with kind suggestions for my hard drive.  Mirroring (RAID 1) was a popular proposal, as a consequence, I updated the Best Practice #77 page on the web site to take into account readers’ ideas.

This week

Chris L. kindly wrote saying that Offline Folders coupled with Folder Redirection are a great solution for laptops.

J.B. Makes a good point.

The only problem I find with folder redirection is the time involved in loading the profiles can be lengthy depending on the size of the My Documents. And as you mentioned adding additional items such as Startup Menu and Desktop can lengthen this even more. When setting up roaming profiles I find I really have to limit the items involved to speed up this load time. My servers and clients are current and it is not an issue of bandwidth. Do you have any idea why this process takes so long?
I have had delays up to 15 minutes but that is an extreme. Because of this I still use drive mapping.

Humour Section

My old friend Will has been researching amusing collective nouns.  You probably know that sheep come in flocks, but how about ‘an exaggeration of fishermen’!

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