Known folder redirection is a new feature for Citrix Files for Windows. It provides a method for integrating Citrix Files with the existing folder redirection feature in Windows operating systems. For more information on Windows folder redirection, see Folder Redirection Protocol Overview in Microsoft docs.
Folder redirection provides users with a smoother experience storing their files and folders remotely.
The Folder Redirection feature in Windows allows specific known user folders including Desktop, Documents, Pictures, and Downloads to be redirected from their default locations to a custom path. This is configured either by the end user using Windows Explorer or by an administrator using a group policy object.
Users are able to configure this feature to point to a Citrix Files mounted drive (by default S:). However, since the drive is only available while the Citrix Files application is running, issues can arise if a user tries to access one of the redirected folders while Citrix Files isn’t running. This is most evident when redirecting the Desktop folder. The Windows Desktop folder is accessed at startup before Citrix Files has an opportunity to mount its drive. This results in error popups and an unsatisfactory user experience.
- Citrix Files for Windows version 21.10 or later
- Corresponding group policy templates
The Citrix Files Known Folder Redirection feature is meant to more cleanly integrate Citrix Files with the folder redirection process. Instead of configuring Windows directly, an admin can instead apply the new Citrix Files Folder Redirection GPO settings.
When Citrix Files starts up on a user’s machine, it will communicate with the OS to redirect all the configured folders to its mounted drive. When Citrix Files exits or the user is signed out, the redirected folder paths will be reverted to their previous values. This makes sure that the folders are only redirected once the Citrix Files drive is available, and that the user doesn’t experience error popups about inaccessible locations when the application isn’t running.
Configuration Steps for enabling Known Folder redirection
- Download the Citrix Files group policy templates from the download page.
- Save the .admx and .adml template files to their appropriate location in your policy definition store (C:WindowsPolicyDefinitions by default).
- Open the Group Policy Editor and navigate to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Citrix Files > Folder Redirection to access the policies.
- Configure policies for the known folder(s) that need to be redirected.
- Enter the full Citrix Files folder path that the folder is to be redirected to. The folder structure will be created if it doesn’t already exist.
- If needed, check the Move Existing Content To New Location checkbox to move existing contents from the local folder to the Citrix Files location when redirection is started.
- Push the policies to the client machines.
- When a user logs in to their Windows session and Citrix Files starts, the folder locations will be redirected. When the user logs out or closes Citrix Files, the redirected folders will be reverted to the their previous locations.
- Saved Games
Moving existing content
When redirecting a folder via Citrix Files, any pre-existing content in the folder will be left in the original location untouched. To change this behavior, the admin can enable the Move Existing Content To New Location checkbox for the folder’s policy. This will cause any existing contents in the known folder to be moved to the configured Citrix Files location when redirection occurs. Content will not be moved back when redirection is reverted.
Before being moved, these contents are copied to a backup location so that they can be recovered if any issues occur. The default location for these backups is %LOCALAPPDATA%CitrixCitrix FilesRedirectionBackups. The application will occasionally cleanup this backup location in the background by deleting any backups older than 72 hours.
The backup path, clean up interval, and maximum backup age can all be modified via the Redirection Backup Folder Settings policy. If the admin does not configure existing contents to be moved, then these settings can be ignored.
- The Windows user has to have permission to change the location of their known Windows folders. If this is blocked, then Citrix Files will fail to redirect the folders due to access denied errors.
- Multiple folders can not be redirected to the same Citrix Files path. Each Windows folder should have its own unique folder path configured in the GPO policy.
Folders that use a duplicate path will not be redirected.
- If Citrix Files is not allowed to exit cleanly (for example, by killing the CitrixFiles.exe process), it will not have the opportunity to revert the folder redirection changes. This may result in errors in Explorer when trying to access the folder as the Citrix Files drive is no longer mounted.
The issue will be resolved once Citrix Files is launched again. Allowing the application to exit cleanly will cause it to revert the folder once more.
- Windows GPO policies that interact with folder redirection may conflict with this feature. It is recommended to disable them if any issues are noticed.
- Windows Server 2012R2 users may see empty blank icons appearing on the desktop when using the feature.