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Step by Step : Install & Configure Work Folder in Windows Server 2012 R2

August 8, 2014

More and more our staff want to use their own gadget such as smart phones and tablets to access corporate data files while out of the office.

Work Folders in Server 2012 R2 / windows 8.1, allows our users to store and access work files from anywhere while complying with corporate policies.

Work Folders use a new synchronization protocol to synchronize corporate data to user devices from a centralized, on-premises server.

The corporate organization still maintains control of the data by implementing policies such as encryption.

Work Folders is a new role service of the File and Storage Services role and is available only in Windows Server 2012 R2.

When a user creates or modifies a file in a Work Folders folder on any device or PC, it is replicated automatically to the corporate file server’s sync share via Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connections on port 443.

The changes in the sync share are then replicated securely to that user’s other devices if those devices also are configured to use Work Folders.

A sync share maps to a physical location on the file server where files are stored.

New folders or existing shared folders can be mapped to sync shares.

For more information, please log in to :

Now lets go through a step by step how you can install & configure Work Folder in Windows Server 2012 R2 & Windows 8.1

1 – 1st, we need to install Work Folders services in our Server, for this demo i will be using 2 server which are my Domain Server (OSI-ADDS01) and OSI-SVR01 server which is will hosted my Work Folder services…

On the OSI-SVR01 server, open Server Manager, click Add roles & features, click Next 3 times and then on the Select server roles interface, under File an Storage Services, click Work Folders and then click Next


2 – On the Select features interface, click Next to proceed…


3 – On the Confirmation installation selections interface, click Install


4 – Wait for few second until installation successful, then click Close


5 – Open Server Manager, on the right side click File and Storage Services


6 – Click Work Folders, and then click “To create a sync share for Work Folders, start the New Sync Share Wizard“…


7 – On the Before you begin interface, click Next


8 – On the Select the server and path interface, under Server verify that you have your server which is in my case, OSI-SVR01 with Online status…

under location, click Enter a local Path : and the type E:\OSI-ITTech2014Report (this will be our new empty Work Folder that will share with domain Users), and then click Next


9 – Click OK (to create the E:\OSI-ITTech2014Report directory)…


10 – On the Specify the structure for user folders, click User alias and then click Next


11 – On the Enter the sync share name interface, just click Next


12 – On the Grant sync access to group interface, click Add and then in the Enter the object name to select, type Domain Users and then click OK and click Next to proceed.. (for this demo, i allow all my domain users to have Work Folder function to sync to my OSI-SVR01 server…)


13 – On the Specify device policies interface, click Next


14 – On the Confirm selections interface, click Create


15 – On the View results, verify the sync share created successfully and then click Close


16 – Next, switch to domain Server which is OSI-ADDS01 server, what are we going to now is to automate settings for our domain users by using Group Policy

On the  OSI-ADDS01 server, open Server Manager, click Tools and then click Group Policy Management


17 – In the Group Policy Management Console interface, go to Forest:osi.local\Domains\osi.local, right click osi.local and then click Create a GPO in this domain, and Link it here


18 – In the New GPO dialog box, type OSI Work Folder Policy, and then click OK…


19 – Right-click the OSI Work Folder Policy GPO, and then click Edit


20 – In the Group Policy Management Editor interface, go to User Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Work Folders, then double click Work Folders


21 – In the details pane, double-click Specify Work Folders settings


22 – On the Specify Work Folders settings interface, click Enabled, and then in Work Folders URL, type http://osi-svr01.osi.local, click Force automatic setup, and then click OK


23 – Close all open windows, open command prompt and then type gpupdate /force


24 – now lets log in to client PC so that we can try Work Folder function, on the OSI-Win8.1×64 PC, i log in as sten…


25 – in the Windows 8.1 PC, open Control Panel, and verify you have Work Folders


26 – for the purpose of lab testing, i will allow my Windows 8.1  running on unsecure connection before we start testing our Work Folders function, open CMD and type :

Reg add HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WorkFolders /v AllowUnsecureConnection /t REG_DWORD /d 1

** By default, client always connect to the server using SSL, which requires the server to have SSL certificate installed and configured.


27 – now open Work Folders, if you get error stated “Sync stooped. A problem occurred. The data transferred isn’t in the proper format…”


28 – to solve this problem, you need to update your Window Server 2012 R2 & Windows 8.1, or you can download standalone General Availability Roll up (A) patches from…


29 – after you complete install the General Availability Roll up (A) patches, everything should work fine now…


30 – still in the Windows 8.1 client PC, open This PC explorer and then open Work Folders…


31 – to simulate the Work Folders sync function, create a few folders & Files…


32 – next, switch to OSI-SVR01 server, open E: drive and browse to domain users work folder, you will notice that synchronization is successful…



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