Redirecting IE Favorites via GPO
I have seen this question multiple times at different web forums and newsgroups. Sometimes you want to redirect user's favorites to a network share, letting user access his favorites when he logs on from different workstations (or just for the sakes of backups).
The location of the user's favorites is determined by the following registry value:
Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
The fact that the registry value has a type of REG_EXPAND_SZ is actually very convenient - you can use environment variables when pointing to the location of the Favorites.
Now you can solve the issue of redirecting the folder using either logon script or something similar, but being GPO addict I decided to create an administrative template to handle the task.
Here is what I came up with:
(you can download the ADM from here
. No need to cut&paste)
KEYNAME "Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders"
#if version >= 4
PART !!IE_Favorites_Location_Tip1 TEXT
PART !!IE_Favorites_Location EDITTEXT EXPANDABLETEXT
END CATEGORY ;; IE_Favorites
END CATEGORY ;; Internet Explorer
END CATEGORY ;; WindowsComponents
IE_Favorites_Location="The path to the favorites folder"
IE_Favorites_Location_Explain="Specify the path to the location of favorites. You can use variables like %USERPROFILE%, %USERNAME%, etc... Both local and UNC paths are valid."
IE_Favorites_Location_Tip1="Specify the UNC path to the favorites location"
SUPPORTED_IE5="at least Internet Explorer v5.01"
How to use it:
- Follow the steps outlined in Daniel Petri's Adding New Administrative Templates to a GPO article on general instructions on how to add or remove an .ADM file from the Administrative Templates section in GPO.
- Because we are dealing with so called "preference" and not policy setting (we are tattooing the registry just like with NT4 policies), you will need to make the GPO Editor to show the preferences. Instruction for doing that can be found here under the "Disabling GPO settings filtering" section.
- Go to User Configuration-->Administrative Templates-->Windows Components-->Internet Explorer-->Favorites
- You will see there something like this:
- Configure the new location and apply the policy to the users you want their Favorites being redirected: