In Windows Small Business Server 2008, one of the things I like most is "My Documents Redirection," a.k.a., Offline Files.
For an excellent description of how Offline Files work, refer to this blog post. In general, everything that you save to "My Documents" is sync'd to the server. Every time you log on and log off, all your "My Documents" documents syncs. You take your documents with you on your laptop. Everytime you connect to your Windows Small Business Server network, you sync all the documents from My Documents back to the server.
The way your laptop or desktop looks at these documents, is that the location is a "Shared" location on your server. So, if your server is called SBS, then your share location might be \\SBS\Users\FolderRedirction\actual-folder-name – good right? Yea, because your F:\ drive on your SBS has RAID 5 redundancy, all your data is centrally located, and backed up nightly.
Only one thing to watch out for: you've heard of "Previous Versions." With Previoius Versions, if you malign a file you've been working on — and then save it. You open it and realized you've lost all today's work, and more, because you don't even have a previous version of the file to revert back to. Because you copied it to your My DOcuments with the same name. (SharePoint couldn't helped out with this and Previous Versions, but that's a different blog post.)
Anyway, this is where "Previous Versions" could help. You set your Windows 7 machine to keep Previous Versions when you turn on System Protection, at the Volume level.
The only problem is, as you recall, my documents are not seen as being on the C:\ drive, they're seen as being on the share \\SBS\Users\FolderRedirection…
So here's what I'm going to do: enable shadow copies of files on Shared Folders on the F:\ drive of the Small Business Server machine (where the My Documents redirection Share is located).
Now I've got Shadow Copies that will provide point-in-time copies that users can use to view shared files and folders as they existed at points of time in the past. Accessing previous versions of files, or shadow copies, is useful because users can:
- Recover files that were accidentally deleted. If you accidentally delete a file, you can open a previous version and copy it to a safe location.
- Recover from accidentally overwriting a file. If you accidentally overwrite a file, you can recover a previous version of the file.
- Compare versions of a file while working. You can use previous versions when you want to check what has changed between two versions of a file.
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