Planning to Use Folder Redirection with App-V

Applies to: Windows 10, version 1607

Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) supports the use of folder redirection, a feature that enables users and administrators to redirect the path of a folder to a new location.

What is folder redirection?

Folder redirection lets end users work with files that have been redirected to another folder as if the files still exist on the local drive.

  • Users and administrators can redirect the path of a folder to a network location. The documents in the specified folder will be available to users from any computer in the network.
    • For example, you can redirect the Documents folder from your computer's local hard disk to a network location. The user can then access the folder's documents from any computer on the network.
  • The new location can be a folder on either the local computer or a shared network.
  • Folder redirection immediately updates the files, while roaming data is typically synchronized when the user logs in or out of a session.

Requirements for using folder redirection with App-V

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:
    • Files under %appdata%\Microsoft\AppV\Client\Catalog
    • Registry settings under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\AppV\Client\Packages

For more information, see Application publishing and client interaction.

Unsupported scenarios for App-V folder redirection

The following scenarios aren't supported by App-V:

  • 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, unless the unavailable network share has been enabled for Offline Files.

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, and so on. 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.
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 that indicates the last known upload is simultaneously saved as a registry key under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\AppV\Client\Packages\<PACKAGE_GUID>\AppDataTime. App-V keeps the three most recent copies of the compressed data under %AppData% for redundancy.