What Is Work Folders
Work Folders is a feature in Windows 10 that allows you to access your work files from your personal computer or device. With Work Folders, you can keep copies of your work files on your personal devices and have them sync automatically to your company’s data center.
The Work Folders feature applies to Windows Server 2022, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, iOS, and Android.
Administrators can use Work Folders to provide users with access to their work files while maintaining centralized storage and control of organizational data. Some specific applications for Work Folders include:
- Provides a single point of access to work files from users’ work and personal computers and devices.
- Access work files offline, then sync with a central file server the next time your PC or device is connected to the Internet or intranet.
- Deploy using existing deployments of Folder Redirection, Offline Files, and Home Folders.
- Manage user data using existing file server management techniques, such as file classification and folder quotas.
- Specify security policies to instruct users’ PCs and devices to encrypt Work Folders and use lock screen passwords.
- Using Failover Clustering with Work Folders for a high availability solution.
Work Folders has the following software requirements for the file server and your network infrastructure:
- A server running Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, or Windows Server 2012 R2 to host a sync share with user files.
- A volume formatted with the NTFS file system for storing user files.
- To enforce password policies on Windows 7 PCs, you must use Group Policy Password Policies. You must also exclude Windows 7 PCs from the Work Folders password policy.
- A server certificate for each file server that will host Work Folders. These certificates should come from a certificate authority (CA) that users trust, preferably a public CA.
If you want to sync across the Internet, there are additional requirements:
- The ability to make servers accessible from the Internet by creating publishing rules in your organization's reverse proxy or network gateway.
- Publicly registered domain names and the ability to create additional public DNS records for the domain.
Work Folders has the following software requirements for client computers:
PCs and devices must be running one of the following operating systems:
- Windows 10
- Windows 8.1
- Windows RT 8.1
- Windows 7
- Android 4.4 KitKat and above
- iOS 10.2 and later
Main Features of Work Folders
The Work Folders feature includes the following functionality.
|Work Folders role service in Server Manager||Windows Server 2022, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, or Windows Server 2012 R2||The file and storage service provides a way to set up sync shares (folders that store users’ work files), monitor work folders, and manage sync shares and user access.|
|Work Folders cmdlets||Windows Server 2022, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, or Windows Server 2012 R2||Windows PowerShell module containing comprehensive cmdlets for managing Work Folders servers.|
|Work Folders integration with Windows||Windows 10|
Windows RT 8.1
|Work Folders provides the following features on Windows computers:|
|Work Folders app for devices||Android|
iPhone and iPad
|Apps that allow popular devices to access files in Work Folders.|
How to Download Work Folders on Windows 7/iOS/Android
How to download Work Folders on Windows 7/iOS/Android? Here are the steps:
For Windows 7 users:
1. Click the below download link based on your computer’s architecture.
2. Select the language you want and click the Download button.
For iOS/Android Users:
If you are an iPhone user, you can go to App Store to download Work Folders. If you are an Android user, you can go to the Google Play Store to download Work Folders.
How to Open Work Folders on Windows 10
Just now, we have introduced how to download Work Folders on Windows 7. Now, we will introduce how to open Work Folders on Windows 10 (you don’t need to download it).
Way 1: Via the Search Box
Type Work Folders in the Search box. Then, choose Work Folders and click Open.
Way 2: Via Command Prompt
Step 1: Type cmd in the Search box and choose Run as administrator to open Command Prompt.
Step 2: Input workfolders.exe and press Enter.
Way 3: Via Windows PowerShell
Step 1: Right-click the Start menu to choose Windows PowerShell (Admin).
Step 2: Type workfolders and click Enter.
Way 4: Via the Run Box
Press Windows + R to open the Run dialog, input workfolders, and press OK.
Way 5: Via Control Panel
Step 1: Type Control Panel in the Search box to open it.
Step 2: Type work in the top-right search box, and select Work Folders or Manage Work Folders.
How to Set up Work Folders on Windows 10
After opening Work Folders, you can set up it. Here is how to do that:
Step 1: Click Set up Work Folders. Then, type your work email address and click Next.
Step 2: Then, enter the username and password that you use on your company’s network.
Step 3: Type the URL address of your company’s Work Folders server and click Next.
Step 4: You can information about the Work Folders feature and where your files will be saved on your computer. Click Next.
Step 5: Select I Accept These Policies on My PC and click Set up Work Folders.
How to Install Work Folder on Windows Server?
Now, let’s start to install Work Folders on Windows Server 2022. If you want to use work folders in Windows server 2019/2016/2012, you can refer to the following steps. The steps are very similar.
Step 1. Type Server Manager in the search box and select it. Then, click Add Roles and Features.
Step 2. Under the installation type page, choose Role-based or feature-based installation and click Next.
Step 3. Select the server and click Next.
Step 4. Expand File and Storage Services > File and iSCSI Services. Then, check Work Folders.
Step 5. Then, you are asked to install IIS(Internet Information Services) Hostable Web Core. Click Add Features.
Step 6. Follow the on-screen instructions and finish the rest of the steps.
How to Create Work Folders Sync Task in Windows Server?
To sync folders with Windows Server, please make some preparations first. Then, specify the sync share folder to store all the user’s files on the server computer.
- Create security groups to manage sync servers smoothly.
- Delegate user attribute control to Work Folders administrators to deploy multiple servers.
Now, let’s start to create the Work Folders sync task in Windows Server 2022.
Step 1. Create a new volume with free space and format it with the NTFS file system. Then, open Server Manager > click File and Storage Services> select Work Folders.
Step 2. Click TASKS > New Sync Share… to enter the New Sync Share Wizard.
Step 3. Click Next. Then, select the server (sync share) and specify the path to store the sync files, and click Next.
Step 4. Select User alias or User alias@domain, and click Next. If you already have a file server, you can select the first option. If not, choose the second one.
Step 5. Specify a name and description for the sync share and click Next.
Step 6. On the Grant sync access to group window, select the group you created before and click Next.
Step 7. On the Specify device policies page, select the Encrypt Work Folders or Automatically lock screen. Type a password and then click Next.
Step 8. After that, you can start to sync.
Work Folders Not Working
Sometimes, you may encounter the “Work Folders not working” issue. There are three situations you may encounter.
1. Work Folders Sync Stopped Requiring a Password
Password policies are administrator-configured on the server and enforced on the client. It enforces the following configurations on user PCs and devices, and you can check whether the device complies with the policy.
- The minimum password length is 6.
- Auto-lock screen set to 15 minutes or less.
- Up to 10 or fewer password retries.
2. Work Folder Sync Stopped Unable to Encrypt Files
Work Folders will attempt to create encrypted folders if the administrator requests that files be encrypted on the client side. If the encryption fails, the user will see the failure and be asked to use a different path. There are several possible reasons for a sync failure.
- If the folder is on a USB drive and the drive does not support encryption.
- There is an existing Work Folders folder, and this folder is encrypted by a different key.
- If the device is domain joined, you can also search for expired/revoked certificates in the Default Domain Policy, which prevents client-side encryption.
3. Work Folders Sync Stops Conflicting Files
If the same file is modified on different devices, conflicts appear. You can check the following reasons.
- If a user changes a file on one device without closing it, the file will not be synced to the server.
- If the server loses the sync metadata database, the client and server will need to compare file sets to determine what to sync. Any discrepancy found between the client and server will create a conflict.
Easier Way to Sync Folders on Windows Server
From the above content, you can find that the steps for setting up Work Folders are complicated. Besides, it’s annoying to encounter the “Work Folders not working” issue. Thus, it’s recommended to try another way to sync folders on Windows Server – via MiniTool ShadowMkaer.
MiniTool ShdowMaker is compatible with Windows 11/10/8/7, Windows Server 2022, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012/2012 R2, and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2. It supports syncing folders and files to Network Attached Storage (NAS), Home File Server, etc.
MiniTool ShadowMaker can only sync files on local and it is a one-way sync.
What's the difference between sync and backup? What are their advantages and disadvantages? This post provides information about backup vs sync.
Here are all details about the Work Folders feature. I hope that this post can be helpful to you. In addition, if you have any problem with MiniTool ShadowMaker, please feel free to contact us via the email [email protected].