Redirecting IE Favorites via GPO

18 בנובמבר 2006

22 תגובות
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
Value: Favorites
Type: REG_EXPAND_SZ
Default: %USERPROFILE%\Favorites

 
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)

CLASS USER
CATEGORY !!WindowsComponents
CATEGORY !!InternetExplorer
CATEGORY !!IE_Favorites
  KEYNAME "Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders"

  POLICY !!IE_Favorites
    #if version >= 4
      SUPPORTED !!SUPPORTED_IE5
    #endif

    EXPLAIN !!IE_Favorites_Location_Explain
    
    PART !!IE_Favorites_Location_Tip1 TEXT
    END PART

    PART !!IE_Favorites_Location EDITTEXT EXPANDABLETEXT
    VALUENAME Favorites
    DEFAULT "%USERPROFILE%\Favorites"
    REQUIRED
  END PART
  END POLICY

END CATEGORY ;; IE_Favorites
END CATEGORY ;; Internet Explorer
END CATEGORY ;; WindowsComponents

[strings]

WindowsComponents="Windows Components"
IE_Favorites="Favorites"
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"
InternetExplorer="Internet Explorer"
SUPPORTED_IE5="at least Internet Explorer v5.01"


 

How to use it:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Go to User Configuration–>Administrative Templates–>Windows Components–>Internet Explorer–>Favorites
  4. You will see there something like this:
  5. Configure the new location and apply the policy to the users you want their Favorites being redirected:
 
 
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22 תגובות

  1. Greg16 במרץ 2007 ב 17:46

    The group policy is creating the Favorites folder where I directed it to but it is not moving the favorites from the workstation to the created folder. Also when the user opens up IE and goes to favorites it is looking at the redirected folder because it's empty. If I move the favorites from the workstation to the redirected folder they do show up in IE then. Where am I going wrong?

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  2. guyt20 באפריל 2007 ב 17:27

    You are doing nothing wrong. This is the expected behavior. You'll need to move the Favorites manually or using some kind of script.

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  3. Matt7 ביוני 2007 ב 1:29

    I added it and it seems that it created the favorites folder under

    User Configuration–>Administrative Templates–>Windows Components–>Internet Explorer–>Favorites

    but there is no Favories icon in the folder or properties. I am using Windows SBS 2003.

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  4. Matt7 ביוני 2007 ב 2:37

    Nevermind……I had to modify filtering

    Thanks to: http://www.faronics.com/news/tips02.htm

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  5. Mark15 באוגוסט 2007 ב 18:57

    I'm trying to apply this GPO so that it only applies when a user logs on to one specific server. I have the server in it's own Organizational Unit and am applying the policy to that OU only. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be working. Any ideas?

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  6. guyt31 באוגוסט 2007 ב 10:36

    Mark,

    This is a user setting rather than computer setting. This means that you can filter either based on user account, or you cat turn loopback on the GPO that is applied to the OU the computer resides in

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  7. Bora24 באוקטובר 2007 ב 19:44

    Hi, after I apply the GPO on SBS2003 and logon my XP laptop. IE favorites are gone and does not show anywhere. I don't see the Favorites folder on the sepcify server either and now I can't even import or create a new IE favorite, any idea on how to correct this?

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  8. japi15 באפריל 2008 ב 18:12

    if any possible redirect IE Favorites to Network drive any option do this

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  9. John28 באפריל 2008 ב 20:52

    I'm in the exact same spot as Greg.

    I can get it to create a Favorites folder on our users' home directory. However, I need to copy their existing favorites first. Some of our users have extensive favorites lists.

    In the login script, I typed:

    copy %USERPROFILE%\Favorites %HOMEDRIVE% /y

    but all that seemed to do is copy some default favorites, not the favorites of the actual user.

    So, then I tried:

    copy "c:\documents and settings\%USERNAME%\Favorites" %HOMEDRIVE% /y

    That didn't seem to do anything. I'm stuck right now on how to script copying user's favorites up to the network drive. Getting the Favorites "redirected" via GPO is working though.

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  10. Paul8 במאי 2008 ב 21:34

    Is your home drive mapping before the favorites copy script run? Try coping it to the URL of the location of their home drive instead of the drive letter. (i.e. \\ServerName\HomeDriveShareNane\%username%)

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  11. N'Bhan27 במאי 2008 ב 20:44

    Works a treat, Thanks

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  12. EJJ3 ביולי 2008 ב 23:13

    The included Folder Redirection options (Desktop, My Documents, Start Menu, Application Data) all include an advanced option to apply to a specific AD group.

    Is there anyway to add that to this adm?

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  13. giom4 באוגוסט 2008 ב 6:51

    Hi guys,

    I´ve installed this gpo on my domain server and it works fine.
    just the behavior is not exactly the one I was expecting.
    Actually this GPO make a redirection, it means if the users have saved personal favorites in their local profile, those favorites will not appear anymore, just will appear the favorites of the redirected folder.

    What I would like to do wit his GPO, is the following:
    this gpo keeps the favorites for each user too.
    It would be like Adding instead of redirecting.

    Anyone could help me , please?

    thanks
    Cheers,

    להגיב
  14. giom4 באוגוסט 2008 ב 6:53

    Hi guys,

    I´ve installed this gpo on my domain server and it works fine.
    just the behavior is not exactly the one I was expecting.
    Actually this GPO make a redirection, it means if the users have saved personal favorites in their local profile, those favorites will not appear anymore, just will appear the favorites of the redirected folder.

    What I would like to do wit his GPO, is the following:
    this gpo keeps the favorites for each user too.
    It would be like Adding instead of redirecting.

    Anyone could help me , please?

    thanks
    Cheers,

    להגיב
  15. CCLab7 באוגוסט 2008 ב 10:16

    Great resource! Thanks for your time and effort on this issue!

    להגיב
  16. Stan the Man15 בינואר 2009 ב 19:06

    Excellent – did the trick! Many thanks Guy!

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  17. ADMtemp20 בינואר 2009 ב 11:45

    Have you tried to manage favorites using Group Policy? I noticed that if I add new favorite for users using GPO, this doesn't work… When I remove or change default Favorite path, then GPO favorite additions works fine.

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  18. Mike23 בינואר 2009 ב 7:25

    great thread, very helpful. I do have a question though… When users now log off there is an annoying little windows that comes up and says "Synchronizing…" why does it do that?

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  19. Henry6 במרץ 2009 ב 15:41

    @ADMtemp, How did you remove or change the Favorite path? Cause I have the same problem

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