Planning to Use Folder Redirection with App-V

App-V 5.0 SP2 supports the use of folder redirection, a feature that enables users and administrators to redirect the path of a folder to a new location.

This topic contains the following sections:

Requirements and unsupported scenarios for using folder redirection

Requirements

To use %AppData% folder redirection, you must:

  • Have an App-V package that has an AppData virtual file system (VFS) folder.

  • Enable folder redirection and redirect users’ folders to a shared folder, typically a network folder.

  • Roam both or neither of the following:

  • Ensure that the following folders are available to each user who logs into the computer that is running the App-V 5.0 SP2 or later client:

    • %AppData% is configured to the desired network location (with or without Offline Files support).

    • %LocalAppData% is configured to the desired local folder.

Unsupported scenarios

  • Configuring %LocalAppData% as a network drive.

  • Redirecting the Start menu to a single folder for multiple users.

  • If roaming AppData (%AppData%) is redirected to a network share that is not available, App-V applications will fail to launch as follows:

    App-V version Scenario description

    In App-V 5.0 through App-V 5.0 SP2 plus hotfixes

    This failure will occur regardless of whether Offline Files is enabled.

    In App-V 5.0 SP3

    If the unavailable network share has been enabled for Offline Files, the App-V application will start successfully.

How to configure folder redirection for use with App-V

Folder redirection can be applied to different folders, such as Desktop, My Documents, My Pictures, etc. However, the only folder that impacts the use of App-V applications is the user’s roaming AppData folder (%AppData%). You can apply folder redirection to any other supported folders without impacting App-V.

How folder redirection works with App-V

The following table describes how folder redirection works when %AppData% is redirected to a network and when you have met the requirements listed earlier in this article.

Virtual environment state Action that occurs

When the virtual environment starts

The virtual file system (VFS) AppData folder is mapped to the local AppData folder (%LocalAppData%) instead of to the user’s roaming AppData folder (%AppData%).

  • LocalAppData contains a local cache of the user’s roaming AppData folder for the package in use. The local cache is located under:

    %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\AppV\Client\VFS\PackageGUID\AppData

  • The latest data from the user’s roaming AppData folder is copied to and replaces the data currently in the local cache.

  • While the virtual environment is running, data continues to be saved to the local cache. Data is served only out of %LocalAppData% and is not moved or synchronized with %AppData% until the end user shuts down the computer.

  • Entries to the AppData folder are made using the user context, not the system context.

Note

The App-V client folder redirection sometimes fails to move files from %AppData% to %LocalAppData%. See Release Notes for App-V 5.0 SP2.

When the virtual environment shuts down

The local cached data in AppData (roaming) is zipped up and copied to the “real” roaming AppData folder in %AppData%. A time stamp, which indicates the last known upload, is simultaneously saved as a registry key under:

HKCU\Software\Microsoft\AppV\Client\Packages<PACKAGE_GUID>\AppDataTime

To provide redundancy, App-V 5.0 keeps the three most recent copies of the compressed data under %AppData%.

Overview of folder redirection

Purpose

Enables end users to work with files, which have been redirected to another folder, as if the files still existed on the local drive.

Description

Folder redirection allows users and administrators to redirect the path of a folder to a network location. The documents in the folder are available to the user from any computer on the network.

  • Folder redirection allows users and administrators to redirect the path of a folder to a network location. The documents in the folder are available to the user from any computer on the network.

  • The new location can be a folder on the local computer or a folder on a shared network.

  • Folder redirection updates the files immediately, whereas roaming data is typically synchronized when the user logs in or logs off.

Usage example

You can redirect the Documents folder, which is usually stored on the computer's local hard disk, to a network location. The user can access the documents in the folder from any computer on the network.

More resources

Folder redirection overview

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