Plan a structure for Homedirectories and Redirected folders

This post discusses some ways of planing for homedirectories.

The logic is the same for redirected folders. With the big difference is that with redirected folders you create folders for My Documents, Desktop and Favorites within each userfolder.

Different methods:

  • Individual shares
  • One giant share
  • One leveled share
  • “Equal” split on a couple of share

Individual shares

The creation of a single share per user have been a standard way of creating home directories since Windows NT.

Example: \server.domain.tldusername


  • Each user has its own share.
  • Short paths to the home directory.
  • Simplicity.


  • Requires that each user gets a share created.
  • As feature share subfolders arent available after the release of Windows 2008.
  • Lots of shares in a big environment.

One giant share

Lets create a giant share and putt all users folders in the same directory.

Example: \server.domain.tldhomeusername


  • Simplicy everything in the same location.


  • In case of problems every user will have problems.
  • It can create very many usersnames in the same folder.

One leveled share

A balance based on some part of the username or other data.

Example: \server.domain.tldhomeUusername


  • Reduces the number of users within a folder.
  • Understandable for servicedesk staff.


  • Might not be properly balanced due to selection of criteria.
  • Hard for endusers and servicedesk staff to understand if bad selection criteria is used.

“Equal” split on a couple of share

Based on the One leveled share the equal split is based on SID. Using a “Ring så spelar vi” logic it creates one of the best balances. “Ring så spelar vi” is a Swedish radio program translated into English stands for “Call and we will play”, to limit the number of callers only callers with the weekly last digits are allowed to call.

Example: \server.domain.tldhome9username


  • Well balanced
  • Each to balance on 10, 100 or more folders.


  • Hard for servicedesk staff and end users to understand the logic

Using DFS

Using DFS on the home folders can be an way to improve manageability. For instance by creating an domainbased DFS namespace you could balance between several file server or clusters. For a large corporation the logic could be \domain.tlddfs..9 where each dfs link points to a different server/cluster.


Using Windows XP clients one have to think about redirected documents and offline folders feature.

Remember to use a DFS different namespace for parts that will be allowed to be offline available.


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