What’s the difference between User Profile Disks and folder redirection?

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What’s the difference between User Profile Disks and folder redirection?

Posted on 21 January 2022 by Beaming Support

Remote desktop servers are nothing new and many businesses now rely on them every day. User data storage methods are unlikely to be a cause for concern to the average RDS user as this is predominantly the responsibility of the system administrators. However, in the event that problems accessing data do occur, understanding the differences between these methods can be helpful.

What are the differences?

Folder redirection was created as a solution to problems accessing and storing data on remote desktop servers. Originally, a user’s data was stored on the C: drive of the server during remote desktop sessions. This created problems for collections of multiple servers as users wouldn’t have access to their data from another server.

Folder redirection solved this problem by centralising file storage to one server meaning that there was just one master copy of users’ data on the file storage server rather than copies on each server. Users could log in to any RDS in the collection and their files would be redirected there from the file storage server. However, this only applied to files specified for storage on the file storage server, other files and user data would remain on the C: drive.

User Profile Disks were introduced in Windows Server 2012 as an improved solution to RDS file storage. This method used a virtual ‘Disk’ which would be mounted under the normal user location on the RDS. Regardless of which RDS a user is logged on to, they would see exactly the same files and have access to application data which was not included in folder redirection. In this method, all user files are saved to the UPD by default which are stored on the file storage server.

Where might you have trouble?

Folder redirection allows users to be logged in to multiple servers at once without issue accessing files whereas with UPDs, a user cannot be logged into more than one RDS concurrently as their UPD will be locked for use on one server and inaccessible from another until properly dismounted after logging off.

If a UPD is not correctly dismounted it will not be accessible in the next session or until the issue is fixed. The user will not be able to access their files and will be using a temporary profile disk until their user profile disk becomes available.

For more troubleshooting help see our Knowledge Base

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