Windows 10 Direct Access and Home Folders

I was setting up DirectAccess for a client that has a small number of users. The implementation of DirectAccess went very smoothly with no glitches. We tested connectivity and all was working great – business applications connect to internal servers successfully, mapped folders through GPOs got reconnected and so on.

The one issue I discovered is with the home folders. In active directory, each user has a home folder setting as below:

Home Folder setting for Users
Home Folder setting for Users

The path is configured to \\domainname.local\home\%username% because we are using DFS for the home folders.

When the users go home, they complain they cannot access their home folders but can access everything else. What I noticed is that if the user closes their laptop and puts the machine to sleep before they leave the office and then go home and login, they do not have access (it does not show up) to the home folder.

Also if the user restarts their computer at home and they log in without first establishing a wireless connection, they do not have access to the folder but once they connect, log off and back on, they DO see the folder. What I take from this is that home folders are only mapped during Logon. And I verified this as follows:

User restarts their machine at home and connects to the wireless before they log in. If they wait 20-30 seconds for DirectAccess to kick in, they see the home folder and can access it. But if they do not wait for DirectAccess to kick in, they do not see the home folder.

ISSUE

In summary, home folders that have been defined in the Home Folder settings of a user account are only mapped at user logon.

WORKAROUND

What it means for DirectAccess users is that:

  • They need to make sure they are connected to a wireless network BEFORE they log into the computer.
    • Users are able to connect to a wireless network from the logon screen.
    • Once connected to a network, allow 20-30 seconds for DirectAccess to detect its conditions and get established
    • At that point, users will be able to see their home folder
  • If the user was already logged into the machine and then only after logging in did they establish a wireless connection, advice the user to log off and back on to the computer
    • Users should be selecting the option to Connect Automatically to their home (or other trusted) wireless networks.
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