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Enable Folder Redirection through Local Group Policy

Articles and Tips: tip

01 Jan 2004

Here's another Cool Solutions article that has received rave reviews in the past year. One reader commented, "Excellent!!! You made me shout a big YYYIIIIIIIIIEEEEHHAAAA after finally getting the default location of the folders as I wanted them to be!!!" Now that's what we call an endorsement!

If you'd like to redirect folders like "My Documents" through local Windows Group Policies, you undoubtedly know that you can't do it. As it says in TID #10078467 "Microsoft has moved "Custom Folders" from Extensible Policies (in Windows 9x and NT 4.0) to "Folder Redirection" in AD Domain Group Policies. ZENworks for Desktops manages local Windows Group Policies, not Active Directory Group Policies."

Here's what Microsoft says about it: "Local Group Policy objects do not support Folder Redirection or Software Installation."


I have created an ADM template which can be used to enable folder redirection through local Group Policy, as used by ZENworks for Desktops. I have tested this with a customer running ZENworks for Desktops 3.2, who uses it to re-direct "My Documents" (Personal) and Templates.

Here is a quick why and how, with URLs to download the zips containing the ADM template as well as a REG file that can be used to reset the "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders" to the default (i.e., %USERPROFILE%\....). This is useful for administrators who inadvertently change their own settings whilst using the group policy editor!

This policy template allows folder redirection through a local Group Policy, using an template. This can be added to the Group Policy by selecting User Configuration->Administrative Templates; Action->Add/Remove Templates. And then specify the path to the HKCUUserShellFolders.adm file (in the zip file).


You need to uncheck "Show Policies Only" (MMC with GP->Local Computer Policy->User Configuration->Administrative Templates->View) to get the options to display N.B. AS THESE DO NOT EXIST UNDER EITHER THE Software\Policies OR Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies REGISTRY SUBKEYS. THEY ARE NOT "True policies" and hence are persistent. So take care, especially when editing!!

You can download the registry file that contains the default settings from the link below, so this can be merged once you have edited the settings to get your own profile back in shape!


The author of this tool takes no responsibility whatsoever for the performance or effects of this tool. Proceed at your own risk.

* Originally published in Novell Connection Magazine


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