Folder Redirection – Redirecting Folders to Central Location

Redirecting folders is a term called folder redirection, which allows you to redirect folders from the user’s profile such as Desktop, Documents, Favourites, etc to a new location either on the server or on the local computer, which is done through Group Policy. The benefits of redirecting the profile folders are:

  1. When you redirect a folder to a server or to another machine, as an administrator, you will be able to have full control over the Documents, Favourites, etc as you can add, delete, modify files and folders
  1. Back up all the files and folders easily efficiently when redirecting the profile folders to the central server without having to waste time browsing to each computer and copy the profile to the server to before performing the backup
  1. If you like all users to have access to same application shortcuts on their Desktop and Start menu, redirecting these folders will accomplish the goal as this will save you time without having to log in to each computer and modifying the user’s desktop in their profile
  1. Using Folder redirection will reduce user’s profile and making logging off and on lot more faster since the data does not get synchronised in the profile

The folders that can be redirected are listed below:

AppData (Roaming)
Start Menu
My Pictures
Save Games

To setup folder redirection for desktop or any other folders beside documents, follow the steps below:

  1. Log in to any server or computer where you would like to redirect the folders to i.e a member server, DC server or a workstation
  1. Browse to the location to where you want to locate the folder redirection.
  1. Create and give a folder a name (it can be the same name as listed above)
  1. Share the folder and set the correct security permission for certain users to access.
  1. Login to DC server
  1. Launch GPO management
  1. Create and link the GPO to an OU that needs folder redirected. (since the folder redirection only applies to users, you will need to add the GPO to an OU that contains the users)
  1. Right click on the GPO and click edit to edit the group policy
  1. Navigate to User config /Windows Settings / Folder Redirection
  1. Double click on the folder redirection folder and you will see folders such as desktop, start menu, favourites, etc
  1. Right click on the folder and select properties. A dialog box will appear:
  1. Click Target tab and in the settings box, select basic – Redirect everyone’s folder to the same location in the setting drop down box as shown below:


  1. Under target folder, select Redirect to the following Location


  1. In the root path, type the share path of the folder (which was created in step 3 and 4) in a form of \\servername\foldersharename\. as shown above.
  1. Click Apply.
  1. Click Settings
  1. Deselect:
    1. Grant the user exclusive rights to Desktop
    2. Move the contents of Desktop to the new Location


  1. Click OK the properties dialog box.
  1. Launch command prompt and type gpupdate /force
  1. Once gpupdate has completed, log off and on as a user on the client machine
  1. Launch Windows or file explorer
  1. Under libraries, select a library that has folder redirection is place.(if you don’t see libraries, you will need to right click on the empty space in the left hand pane and select view libraries)
  1. Right click on that library and select properties.
  1. You will see the new location path

If you don’t see the new location path, run gpupdate /force on the client machine and the log off and log back on again. If the new path still does not display run gpupdate /force again on the DC server and reboot the client computer and log on again as the user. Once logged on view the properties of the library and the new location should be displayed successfully.

By following the steps above, you should be able to set folder redirection to a location that you prefer. To allow Documents to be redirected to the home folder, please click on the link below.

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About Sumit Patel

I am Sumit and I am very passionate about IT and I like to share my skills and knowledge to everyone with IT related problems. I have made this site to help IT technician resolve issues very quickly by following short instruction guides. I have started my IT career back in 2012 working as a contractor. While I was contracting, I was studying and passed few exams. The latest exam I have passed was first part of Microsoft MCSE 2012 R2 series and now I am preparing for Cisco exam to gain hands experience with the networking side of things.

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