In case you’ve been Folder Redirecting any User’s Home Folders and along the way you've decided it’s not you cake, to restore your User's profile to its original shape, there are some things you can do.
Since Folder Redirection is a complex (and sometimes convoluted) topic, I don’t mean to be 100% exhaustive (but I'll try).
How to Reset Folder Redirection.
To disable Folder Redirection for (any) User Profile,
- Make sure you first save an additional copy of the profiles' files into a Fat32 External USB Hdd.
Then, assess the nature of the redirected folders:
- Which Folders have been redirected?
- Where have they been redirected to?
Once you have an idea of which folders were redirected, on the DC (or on your RSAT Console):
- Run gpmc.msc & Locate/Edit the FR GPO.
- Make sure your GPO has “Revert files to the original location”-option flagged.
- Revert the Group Policy setting for 1 User.
- gpupdate /force
- Restart the affected workstation.
Provided your GPO has “Revert files to the original location” set to Enabled, the above steps will restore your User's Redirected Folders to their original location.
Do not rush and disable FR for ALL/everyone.
Start small, remove FR from only one User and adjust the procedure for your unique scenario.
If it works then no need to manually restore the profiles from the Fat32 External USB Hdd.
Go on, disable FR for all your Users and you should be done!
If “Revert files to the original location” is set to Disabled (as per SBS-default - including Windows Server Essentials 2012), then undoing FR won’t revert your User's Folders.
Said in other words, your User's Folders won't be "moved" off the File Server and back into their original location(!).
This is why I’ve urged you to create a copy of your User Profile to a FAT32 Filesystem (so the User's folders permissions get "sanitised").
Manual Restoration :)
Now, IF FR has been applied to the usual (I’d say safe) candidates (let's assume "Documents", "Pictures" & "Downloads"), then the manual restoration process should be easier and shouldn't involve regedit.
Proceed as follows:
- Disable FR for that specific profile (as described above).
- Reboot the computer.
- (On the workstation) verify the location of Documents, Pictures & Downloads.
To verify the location of Documents, Pictures & Downloads, on a User Workstation:
- Win + E & Go to "C:\Users\%username%"
- Right Click on each of the redirected folders (ie. Documents, Pictures, Downloads, etc.).
- Click on Properties.
- Click on the "Location"-Tab to verify the folder location.
Repet Steps 1..3 for each redirected folder to verify the Folders location.
- IF the Location is not correct (ie. it points to a file server...), Then Click on the "Restore Default"-Button.
That will restore your Redirected Folders to their default locations (ie. "C:\Users\%username%\Documents", "C:\Users\%username%\Downloads", etc.).
My User Profile is a total mess!
If your Favorites and Libraries are broken/missing too, you may restore them as follows:
- (On Windows Explorer)
- Right Click on "Libraries" & Click on “Restore default libraries”.
- Right Click on "Favorites" & Click on “Restore favorite links”.
Now your last step should involve a restore of your offline backup copy.
At the beginning I suggested you to copy the User's Folders into a Fat32 Filesystem.
- It is now time to restore those files to the Local User's Home.
AppData Roaming AppData Roaming AppData Roaming.
In case Appdata has also been redirected you’re fckued :P, you will have to perform additional steps:
While performing a backup copy, make sure you also copied over the \Appdata\Roaming folder (ie. “C:\Users\%username%\AppData”), please refer to the beginning of the post - "How to reset Folder Redirection".
Assuming you successfully restored \Appdata\Roaming.
- Run "regedit"
- Search for all the locations referring to the remote File UNC (ie. \\dc02\home).
- Manually (and carefully) adjust all the locations accordingly (ie. change each "\\dc02\home"-entry To "C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming").
For reference, you'll find within the following regkeys the User's Paths.
- [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders]
- [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders]
Please remember that From Windows XP to Vista+, the default location of some folders have changed (for the better):
|Folder||Windows XP Path||Windows Vista/7/8/8.1 Path|
|Local Settings||%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings||%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local|
|Start Menu (FWIW...)||%USERPROFILE%\Start Menu||%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu|
|Temporary Internet Files||%USERPROFILE%\Temporary Internet Files||%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files|
Happy reg-editing and don't break stuff.
Remember - for every step you take, make sure you can always undo.
As always, expert input welcome.
Shell Folders VS User Shell Folders: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2003/11/03/55532.aspx