Folder Redirection Broken After GPO Changes

I am learning quite a bit about the Windows 2012 environment thanks to a recent server migration.  The biggest lesson so far deals with Folder Redirection, and the effects of repeated adjustments to the GPO settings.

Under certain circumstances, folder redirection seems to get “stuck” showing either an old folder path or none at all when the user goes looking for their documents.  The Group Policy Results tool seems to confirm that the Folder Redirection settings are not being applied at all for the user/computer profile that is stuck.  Frustratingly, I couldn’t find any problem with my Group Policy configuration.

No amount of logging off and on, adjusting permissions, or messing with Group Policy seems to have any effect.

In the end, I was able to clear up the problem by running this command:

gpupdate /Target:User /Force /Logoff

The key here is the Force option, which successfully resets the folder redirection policy for that user profile, and perhaps all the profiles on that particular computer.  Problem solved!  Windows 8.1, Windows 2012, and possibly other versions are affected.

Manual Duplex Print in Windows 8

Acrobat print dialog for back sides
Print Back Sides

Among the many problems in Windows 8 is the poor driver support offered by Hewlett Packard.  The drivers are hard to find, do not install correctly if at all, and lack many features compared to older drivers.

HP dropped manual duplex printing support for Windows 8, which means it’s now up to each application to add this functionality.

In Adobe Acrobat, this can be done with some care and attention to detail.

Step 1:  Load Paper Upside Down

When duplex printing manually, some types of laser printers give different results depending which side you print first.  If you print the “front” side first and then the “back” side, you might end up with curled paper.  To avoid or prevent this, you will have to flip the blank paper over and print the “back” side first.

Due to the way paper is manufactured, it always has a grain direction, a concave side, and a convex side.  Usually the grain is in the direction of the longest edge, and the concave side of the ream of paper faces the package seam.  This can be determined by standing the paper on its short edge and watching which way it tends to curve, or by simply experimenting with which side gives the best results.  If you normally print on the concave side of the paper, then that is what I mean by the “front” side.  Printers are normally designed to use the concave side as this prevents the document from going limp in your hand when you hold it from the edge.

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Windows 8 Network Browsing Problems

Screen shot showing the Advanced Sharing Settings area of the Windows 8 control panel.
Check if these are disabled.

Network browsing in Windows has always been a fragile system plagued with bugs and configuration pitfalls.  If you’ve arrived at this page to find a solution, rest assured you are not alone.

I recently encountered a Windows 8 problem where the “Network” folder only showed the local computer and file shares.  When trying the “net view” command, the response was “A remote API error occurred.”  Not at all helpful, is it?  The Windows 2003 domain controller was not experiencing any problems, and the Windows 8 computer showed up normally on the server.

Symptoms Identified December 8, 2013

After struggling with this dysfunctional operating system for seven months without a solution, I found the pattern that would help identify the main problem.

With only Windows XP and Windows 2003 machines on the network, everything works fine.  Computers can see and browse each other without any problems.

With only Windows 8 and Windows 2003 machines on the network, network browsing may or may not work, depending on the Windows 8 network client configuration.

In a mixed environment of Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows 2003 machines, the Windows 8 machines are sometimes able to browse the network.  However, once the Windows XP machines are shut down, the Windows 8 machines are never able to browse the network.

Once I had all these variables figured out, I came up with a list of settings that are compatible across all versions.

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