Folder Redirection in Group Policy allows a systems administrator to redirect certain folders from a user’s profile to a file server. In part 4 of this series, I’ll discuss configuring Folder Redirection and the available configuration options in Group Policy.

Now that we have a server with a share configured, we’re ready to set up the Folder Redirection in Group Policy. Folder Redirection is User configuration. Because of that, you’ll need to either create a new Group Policy Object (GPO) or edit an existing GPO that is linked to an OU for your users. Go to User Configuration > Policies > Windows Settings > Folder Redirection.

GPMC in Windows 7 Showing Folder Redirection

GPMC in Windows 7 Showing Folder Redirection

Right-click on one of the folder names and click Properties. In my example, I’ll be using Documents. The first thing you’ll want to set in the Target tab is how you want to redirect folders: Basic or Advanced. If you’re planning on directing every user to your new User share, then Basic will probably do for you. If you have multiple shares for Folder Redirection (possibly for departments or geographical locations), you can choose Advanced and assign specific folders for groups.

Folder Redirection Properties

Folder Redirection Properties

Next, you’ll need to determine where you want to redirect the user folders. In most circumstances, you’ll probably want to use “Create a folder for each user under the root path.” However, you can also use a user’s home directory (if you have that attribute configured in AD), a specific path (for labs or common area computers where every user should share certain folders), and the local user profile (useful if you don’t want users reconfiguring folder locations).

Folder Redirection - Target folder location

Target folder location

Type in the name of your server and the path to your Users share. If you used the option to create a folder for each user under the path, you’ll see that your folder structure should be in the format \\fileserver\Users\%username%\redirectefoldername for each Folder Redirection you configure.

Folder Redirection - Root Path setting

Root Path setting

Go to the Settings tab. Uncheck the checkbox by “Grant the user exclusive rights to Documents.” If you don’t uncheck this setting, the permissions will be configured so that even Administrators won’t be able to access the files without changing the folder permissions.

Folder Redirection - Settings Tab

Settings Tab

Choose the settings for the remaining options that work for your environment and click OK.

That’s it! All you need to do is go to your test system, refresh Group Policy, log off, and log back in. Just be aware that when you run gpupdate, you’ll get a reminder that you need to log out and back in for the changes to take place.

In the last post of this Folder Redirection series I will share some best practices tips.

  1. Avatar
    Adam Kessler 11 years ago

    I am familiar with all of these tips and tricks but I have a question on how to undo these settings if you need to say point Appdata back to a local folder. I need to do this because of a glitch in Outlook which is keeping users from editing signatures when their Appdata is redirected. My question is what is the best way to undo the redirection. When you remove a redirection it does not seems to take affect and of course the empty reference remains in the GPO. Help!!!!

  2. Avatar
    Kyle Beckman 11 years ago

    On my list for a followup… thanks for the feedback, Adam.

  3. Avatar
    Shea Werner 10 years ago

    I could not get this working I kept getting “Can’t create folder “\\server\shares\redirect\user\Desktop””. I tried everything;
    Permissions, manually creating the folder, etc.. Nothing helped.
    Unchecking the checkbox by “Grant the user exclusive rights to … ” Fixed it right away.
    Thanks a lot.

  4. Avatar
    LB 7 years ago


    My IT-admin set up “folder redirection” within our network… So our folders are synced from/to a central-share, as described here. Because of some custom programs we have… We need the folder for the user to be created using the user’s UPN name, instead of their sAMAccountName. The users actually do login using their UPN name, but for whatever reason, the folder redirection technology creates the folder using the sAMAccountName instead of the UPN name. We can’t find any options on how to change it from using sAMAccountName to UPN.

    IOW, the %username% part of the foldername…  We see that value as coming from the sAMAccountName value… We want it instead to come from the UPN value… Is this possible?

  5. Avatar
    Michael 7 years ago

    I have recently joined an organization that sadly checked the box “Grant the user exclusive rights to documents.”  As you mentioned in the post, this setting will not allow admins access to the redirected folder on the file share.  Will editing the GPO to remove this setting, restore access?  If so, is there a reason I would NOT want to do this?  I like the folder redirection, but ultimately need administrator access as well.  Hopefully this can be done retroactively without too much pain:)

  6. Avatar
    Jeremy Hauger 7 years ago


    I have always set that so that when folders are automatically created it keeps everyone on the organization from being able to access a users documents.  The only time that I have ever needed access to their folders is when I have staff retire.  I then user my backup system to restore the users folder to a “Retired Staff” folder and set permissions as directed by our schools administration.  I have never seen a reason not to turn this setting on.

  7. Avatar
    Pooran 5 years ago

    I want to create folder under folder redirection. Please help

  8. Avatar
    Sal younis 5 years ago

    How can I use Group Policy Preferences targeting for folder redirection. Actually I just want it to apply to my Windows 10 machines not 7 operating system. Is their a easy way?

    • Avatar
      Dan 5 years ago

      Have a read up on WMI Filters, thats what your after.

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