Windows 7 Redirected Folders with Offline Files caching failing to reconnect after Laptop hibernation

A big thanks to the support guys at Microsoft for resolving this one!

The scenario;

Windows 7 clients with folder redirection enabled via Group Policy to a remote file and print server. Offline folders have been enabled.

A common file share has been employed to form the base of the user folder structure. The share NTFS permissions are set to disallow end users to browse the other end user folders.

A provisioning script was written that does the following;

  1. Create the folder structure for the end user.
  2. Set the end user as the owner of each folder.
  3. Set permissions to the folder structure so that only the end user and the helpdesk has access to the folder structure.

The end user folders are set up as follows;

  • <server name>\win7users$\FredBloggs\Documents
  • <server name>\win7users$\FredBloggs\Desktop
  • <server name>\win7users$\FredBloggs\Favorites

The first problem;

The issue would arise when a newly migrated end user left their laptop for a hour or so and the laptop went into hibernation. The offline folders would fail to switch back to ‘Online’  when the machine was brought out of hibernation.

Interesting points to note;

  • If a user reboots, the files go back online as expected.
  • If the user comes out of hibernation within about 10 minutes, the files go back to online status straight away.
  • If a full synchronization of all files and folders is performed manually, the problem goes away.

The second problem;

To get around this issue, we asked users to do a manual synchronisation.  This presented a new problem – if this was performed through the Sync Center, it would take days! If however we got them to browse their folder under the file share, right click ‘Documents’, ‘Desktop’ and ‘Favorites’ then click sync now….It works in under 5 minutes.

The Answer

One of the suggestions from Microsoft Support was this support article: KB2512089. It turns out that in order for Offline Folders to re-connected to the file share (Win7Users$) after an extended period of time, it requires certain permissions to be set.

In this case, I had to grant the ‘Authenticated Users’  group ‘List Folder/Read Data (This folder only)’ NTFS permissions to the file share folder.

Now full synchronisation is automatically done within five minutes of a newly migrated end user logging onto his shiny Windows 7 laptop.

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