Product Documentation

Folder redirection

Oct 30, 2014
Note: Configure folder redirection using only Citrix Policies or Active Directory Group Policy Objects, not both. Configuring folder redirection using both policy engines may result in unpredictable behavior.

You can configure folder redirection using policies in Studio. Folder redirection lets you store user data on network shares other than the location where the profiles are stored. This reduces profile size and load time but it might impact network bandwidth.

Folder redirection does not require that Citrix user profiles are employed. You can choose to manage user profiles on your own, and still redirect folders.

General advice on folder redirection

When setting up folder redirection in Studio, note the following:

  • Ensure that the network locations used to store the contents of redirected folders are available and have the correct permissions. The location properties are validated.
  • Redirected folders are set up on the network and their contents populated from users' virtual desktops at logon.

Advanced folder redirection

In deployments with multiple operating systems (OSs), you might want some of a user's profile to be shared by each OS. The rest of the profile is not shared and is used only by one OS. To ensure a consistent user experience across the OSs, you need a different configuration for each OS. This is advanced folder redirection. For example, different versions of an application running on two OSs might need to read or edit a shared file, so you decide to redirect it to a single network location where both versions can access it. Alternatively, because the Start Menu folder contents are structured differently in two OSs, you decide to redirect only one folder, not both. This separates the Start Menu folder and its contents on each OS, ensuring a consistent experience for users.

If your deployment requires advanced folder redirection, you must understand the structure of your users' profile data and determine which parts of it can be shared between OSs. This is important because unpredictable behavior can result unless folder redirection is used correctly.

To redirect folders in advanced deployments

  1. Use a separate Delivery Group for each OS.
  2. Understand where your virtual applications, including those on virtual desktops, store user data and settings, and understand how the data is structured.
  3. For shared profile data that can safely roam (because it is structured identically in each OS), redirect the containing folders in each Delivery Group.
  4. For non-shared profile data that cannot roam, redirect the containing folder in only one of the Desktop Groups, typically the one with the most used OS or the one where the data is most relevant. Alternatively, for non-shared data that cannot roam between OSs, redirect the containing folders on both systems to separate network locations.

Example advanced deployment

This example has applications, including versions of Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer, running on Windows 8 desktops and applications, including other versions of Outlook and Internet Explorer, delivered by Windows Server 2008. To achieve this, you have already set up two Delivery Groups for the two OSs. Users want to access the same set of Contacts and Favorites in both versions of those two applications.

Important: The following decisions and advice are valid for the OSs and deployment described. In your organization, the folders you choose to redirect and whether your decide to share them depend on a number of factors that are unique to your specific deployment.

Using policies applied to the Delivery Groups, you choose the following folders to redirect.

Folder Redirected in Windows 8? Redirected in Windows Server 2008?
My Documents Yes Yes
Application Data No No
Contacts Yes Yes
Desktop Yes No
Downloads No No
Favorites Yes Yes
Links Yes No
My Music Yes Yes
My Pictures Yes Yes
My Videos Yes Yes
Searches Yes No
Saved Games No No
Start Menu Yes No

Note the following about the shared, redirected folders:

  • After analyzing the structure of the data saved by the different versions of Outlook and Internet Explorer, you decide it is safe to share the Contacts and Favorites folders
  • You know the structure of the My Documents, My Music, My Pictures, and My Videos folders is standard across OSs, so it is safe to store these in the same network location for each Delivery Group

Note the following about the non-shared, redirected folders:

  • You do not redirect the Desktop, Links, Searches, or Start Menu folders folder in the Windows Server Delivery Group because data in these folders is organized differently in the two OSs. It therefore cannot be shared.
  • To ensure predictable behavior of this non-shared data, you redirect it only in the Windows 8 Delivery Group. You choose this, rather than the Windows Server Delivery Group, because Windows 8 will be used more often by users in their day-to-day work; they will only occasionally access the applications delivered by the server. Also, in this case the non-shared data is more relevant to a desktop environment rather than an application environment. For example, desktop shortcuts are stored in the Desktop folder and might be useful if they originate from a Windows 8 machine but not from a Windows Server machine.

Note the following about the non-redirected folders:

  • You do not want to clutter your servers with users' downloaded files, so you choose not to redirect the Downloads folder
  • Data from individual applications can cause compatibility and performance issues, so you decide not to redirect the Application Data folder

For more information on folder redirection, see http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766489%28v=ws.10%29.aspx.

Folder redirection and exclusions

In Citrix Profile management (but not in Studio), a performance enhancement allows you to prevent folders from being processed using exclusions. If you use this feature, do not exclude any redirected folders. The folder redirection and exclusion features work together, so ensuring no redirected folders are excluded allows Profile management to move them back into the profile folder structure again, while preserving data integrity, if you later decide not to redirect them.