- The article explains how to recover lost files after removing redirected folders, which is a feature in Windows that allows you to store your user data on a network location.
- The article provides three methods to recover lost files: checking the previous versions of the folder, searching for the deleted files under C:\Users, and using a data recovery program.
- The article also gives some tips on how to prevent losing files after removing redirected folders, such as backing up your data and syncing your offline files.
If you use folder redirection to store your user data on a server, you might encounter a problem when you remove the redirection policy. Some of your files might go missing or get overwritten by older versions. This can happen if the offline files feature is enabled and not synced properly with the server.
In this article, we’ll explain why this happens and how to recover your lost files after removing redirected folders. We’ll also share some tips on how to prevent this issue from happening again.
What is folder redirection and offline files?
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Folder redirection is a feature in Windows that allows you to redirect certain user folders (such as Desktop, Documents, Pictures, etc.) to a network location, such as a file server. This way, you can centralize and back up your user data, and also access it from any computer on the network.
Offline files is another feature in Windows that allows you to access network files even when you’re offline. It works by creating a local cache of the network files on your computer and syncing them with the server when you’re online. This way, you can work with your files even when the network connection is unavailable or slow.
Why do files go missing after removing redirected folders?
When you remove the folder redirection policy, Windows will try to move the files from the network location back to the local user profile. However, if the offline files feature is enabled and not synced properly, Windows might use the local cache instead of the server version. This can result in losing some of your files or getting older versions of them.
For example, let’s say you have redirected your Documents folder to \\server\users\jane\documents. You have offline files enabled and you have some unsynced changes in your local cache (C:\Users\Jane\Documents). When you remove the folder redirection policy, Windows will copy the files from C:\Users\Jane\Documents to C:\Users\Jane\Documents instead of \\server\users\jane\documents. This means that any files that are only on the server or have newer versions on the server will be lost or overwritten by the local cache.
How to recover lost files after removing redirected folders?
If you have lost some of your files after removing redirected folders, don’t panic. There are some ways to recover them, depending on your situation.
Solution 1: Check the previous versions of the folder
One of the easiest ways to recover lost files is to use the previous versions feature in Windows. This feature allows you to restore a folder or a file to an earlier state from a backup or a restore point. To use this feature, follow these steps:
- Right-click on the folder where your files were located before removing redirected folders (e.g., C:\Users\Jane\Documents) and select Properties.
- Go to the Previous Versions tab and look for a version that has a date and time before you removed redirected folders.
- Select the version and click on Restore to restore the entire folder, or click on Open to browse and copy individual files.
- Confirm your action and wait for Windows to restore your files.
Note: This method only works if you have enabled System Protection or File History on your computer. If you don’t see any previous versions of your folder, you might need to try another method.
Solution 2: Search for the deleted files under C:\Users
Another way to recover lost files is to search for them under C:\Users. Sometimes, Windows might move some of your files to a temporary or hidden folder when removing redirected folders. To find them, follow these steps:
- Open File Explorer and go to C:\Users.
- In the search box, type in the name or extension of one of your missing files (e.g., report.docx) and press Enter.
- Look for any results that match your file name or extension and check their locations.
- If you find any of your missing files, copy them to another location.
Note: You might need to enable Show hidden files, folders, and drives in File Explorer options to see all the results.
Solution 3: Use a data recovery program
If none of the above methods work, you might need to use a data recovery program to scan your hard drive and recover your lost files. There are many data recovery programs available online, both free and paid. One of them is EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, which supports various file types and storage devices.
To use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, follow these steps:
- Download and install EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your computer.
- Launch the program and select the drive where your files were located before removing redirected folders (e.g., C:).
- Click on Scan and wait for the program to scan your drive for deleted or lost files.
- Browse the results and look for your missing files. You can use the Filter or Search features to narrow down the results.
- Select the files you want to recover and click on Recover. Choose a different location to save your recovered files.
Note: This method is not guaranteed to work, especially if your files have been overwritten by new data. It’s also recommended to stop using your computer until you recover your files to avoid further data loss.
How to prevent losing files after removing redirected folders?
To avoid losing your files after removing redirected folders, you should always back up your data before making any changes to your folder redirection policy. You can use Windows Backup and Restore or a third-party backup software to create a backup of your user data on an external drive or a cloud service.
You should also make sure that your offline files are synced properly with the server before removing redirected folders. You can do this by following these steps:
- Open Control Panel and go to Sync Center.
- Click on Manage offline files and go to the Disk Usage tab.
- Click on Delete temporary files and wait for Windows to delete any unsynced changes in your local cache.
- Go back to Sync Center and click on Sync All.
- Wait for Windows to sync your offline files with the server.
By doing these steps, you can ensure that your user data is safe and up-to-date before removing redirected folders.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: What is the difference between folder redirection and roaming profiles?
Answer: Folder redirection and roaming profiles are both features in Windows that allow you to store your user data on a network location instead of a local computer. However, they have some differences:
- Folder redirection only redirects certain user folders (such as Desktop, Documents, Pictures, etc.) to a network location, while roaming profiles redirect the entire user profile (including AppData, Registry, etc.) to a network location.
- Folder redirection works well with offline files, which allows you to access your network files even when you’re offline, while roaming profiles require a constant network connection to load and save your user profile.
- Folder redirection is more flexible and customizable, as you can choose which folders to redirect and where to redirect them, while roaming profiles are more rigid and predefined.
Question: How do I enable or disable folder redirection?
Answer: Folder redirection is usually configured by an administrator using Group Policy. If you’re an administrator, you can enable or disable folder redirection by following these steps:
- Open Group Policy Management Console and create or edit a Group Policy Object (GPO) that applies to the users or computers you want to configure.
- Go to User Configuration > Policies > Windows Settings > Folder Redirection.
- Right-click on the folder you want to redirect (e.g., Documents) and select Properties.
- Choose one of the following options:
- Not configured: This option will not apply any folder redirection settings to the folder.
- Basic: This option will redirect the folder to the same location for all users in the GPO.
- Advanced: This option will redirect the folder to different locations based on group membership.
- Specify the network location where you want to redirect the folder (e.g., \\server\users\%username%\documents).
- Configure the settings for moving the contents of the folder, granting exclusive rights, and policy removal as needed.
- Click on OK and apply the GPO.
If you’re not an administrator, you might not be able to enable or disable folder redirection on your own. You’ll need to contact your administrator for assistance.
Question: How do I enable or disable offline files?
Answer: Offline files is usually enabled by default in Windows, but you can enable or disable it by following these steps:
- Open Control Panel and go to Sync Center.
- Click on Manage offline files and go to the General tab.
- Choose one of the following options:
- Enable offline files: This option will turn on offline files and allow you to access network files even when you’re offline.
- Disable offline files: This option will turn off offline files and delete any unsynced changes in your local cache.
- Click on OK and restart your computer.
Note: If offline files is controlled by a Group Policy setting, you might not be able to enable or disable it on your own. You’ll need to contact your administrator for assistance.
Folder redirection is a useful feature in Windows that allows you to store your user data on a network location instead of a local computer. However, it can also cause some problems when you remove the redirection policy, such as losing some of your files or getting older versions of them.
We hope this article has helped you recover your lost files after removing redirected folders. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below. Thank you for reading!
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