One of the more widely promoted aspects of Windows Server 2003, IntelliMirror simply brings together other Windows Server technologies to provide more intelligent user interfacing. In particular, it helps to reconcile desktop settings, applications, and stored files for users, particularly those who move between workstations or those who must periodically work offline. This section provides a highlight of IntelliMirror functionality.

Roaming Documents and Preferences

Together folder redirection and offline folders provide centralized management and storage of user documents. Additionally, the user is permitted to access and update documents when not connected to the network. This design is ideally suited to laptop users. Maintaining an offline folder on the network allows the administrator to perform backups on a scheduled basis without direct concern for backing up the laptop system.


In this example the user's My Documents folder is redirected to a directory in his name under a shared network folder using group policies. The My Documents folder is designated as offline. A security group is used to determine which users and groups the folder redirection policy will affect.

  1. Create a network share called \Network Docs and Settings.

  2. Create a global security group called Engineers and a new user account called Joe Engineer.

  3. Add Joe Engineer to the Engineers group.

Redirect Joe Engineer's My Documents folder to the network share folder using the Default Domain Policy.

  1. From the Default Domain Policy, right-click the User Configuration Windows Settings Folder Redirection My Documents and select Properties (Figure).

    50. Folder Redirection


  2. Select the Target tab and select Advanced–Specify locations for various user groups. Click Add to reveal the Specify Group and Location dialog (see Figure) and browse for the Engineers group. Click Add, then click OK.

    51. Redirect Security Group to Target Folder


  3. Under Target Folder Location, click Browse and search for the \Network Docs and Settings folder on the appropriate server. Complete the path name using the \\servername\Network Docs and Settings\%username%. The %user name% environmental variable will be used to create a separate directory for each user. Click OK.

  4. On the Settings tab, make appropriate choices for policy removal and permissions. The default settings are fine for this example. Click OK.

Now all users in the Engineers security group will have their folders redirected to the new network share and have their own My Documents subdirectory below their personal folder. Let's use offline folders to allow the engineering users access to their documents when they are offline.

  1. Go to Joe Engineer's laptop and right-click My Computer and select Explore. From the Tools pull-down menu, select Folder Options. Select the Offline Files tab and enable the Enable Offline Files option.

  2. From My Computer, right-click the My Documents folder and select Make Available Offline. The Offline Files Wizard starts. Click Next.

  3. Select the Automatically synchronize the Offline Files when I log on and log off my computer option to instruct the Synchronization Manager to handle file updates between the remote system and the network share. Click Next.

  4. Select the Create shortcut option. Click Next.

  5. Select Yes, make this folder and all its subfolders available offline. Click OK.

Now when Joe Engineer logs on to his laptop when not connected to the network, an offline dialog warns that the system is offline. An icon on the taskbar appears. Right-clicking the icon gives the user four options:

  • Status indicates whether the folder is offline or online.

  • Synchronize allows manual synchronization of the offline files.

  • View Files displays all files that are available offline.

  • Settings sets reminders, synchronization, and offline availability (see Figure).

    52. Offline Settings


The Synchronization Manager may be manually started from either the My Computer or My Network Places desktop tools. From the Tools pull-down, select Synchronize. Manual synchronization can be started by selecting the desired directories and pressing the Synchronize button. Clicking Setup allows configuration via three tabs (Figure):

  • Logon/Logoff— logon, logoff, and prompting before synchronization configuration

  • On Idle— idle time before synchronization configuration

  • Scheduled— times and directories to synchronize

53. Synchronization Manager Configuration


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