By Ivy / Last Updated September 24, 2020

What Are Work Folders in Server?

Work Folders is a role service for file servers (often called sync server) in server 2012 R2/2016/2019 to help Windows users sync work files to a center server known as sync share. Also, this feature is compatible with Windows 7/8/8.1/10, iOS, and Android devices. It’s located on the %USERPROFILE%\Work Folders.

Besides, there are something related to this role you need to know.

This role only works on Windows 7 Ultimate/Enterprise/Professional edition. And it must be joined to the organization’s domain.
The user files must be stored in a volume with NTFS file system. The maximum size for individual files is 10 GB by default.
A server certificate for every file server on the network.
To access the sync shares through internet, you need to ensure that the file server is online, the server have a DNS record with public domain name, the Active Directory Federation Service is enabled.

How to Install Work Folders in Server?

Before you start to install work folders, you need to get the SSL certificates and create DNS records. With them, the process will become easier.

Now, let’s start to install Server 2012 R2 Work Folders client. If you want to use work folders in server 2019/2016, the following steps can be used as a reference. The steps are very similar.

Step 1. Type Server Manager in the search box and select it. Then, click Add Roles and Features on the main page.

Add Roles Features

Step 2. Select the installation type: Role-based or feature-based installation and click Next.

Role-based Feature-based Installation Type

Step 3. Select the server as shown below and click Next.

Select Server

Step 4. Expand File and Storage Services > File and iSCSI Services, then select Work Folders. Click OK if you are asked to install IIS(Internet Information Services) Hostable Web Core.

Install Work Folders

Note: The ISS Hostable Web Core does not install the IIS Management console, thus you are supposed to bind the SSL certificate to the Default Web Site https interface. To realize it, you can open CMD, type the following command and hit Enter.
netsh http add sslcert ipport=:443 certhash= appid={CE66697B-3AA0-49D1-BDBD-A25C8359FD5D} certstorename=MY

Step 5. follow the on-screen instructions and finish the rest of steps.

Besides, you still need to download Work Folders client on Windows 7/8/10 and other client-side devices if you want store data on the center server and access them later.

How to Create Work Folders Multiple Sync Shares?

To sync folders with Windows Server, please make some preparations first. Then, specify the sync share folder to store all the users’ files on the server computer.

First, create security groups to manage sync servers smoothly.

Then, delegate user attribute control to Work Folders administrators. It can help you deploy multiple servers.

Now, without further ado, let's start to create work folders multiple sync shares with the sync share folder.

Step 1. Create a new volume with free space and format it with NTFS file system. Then, open Server Manager, and click File and Storage Services.

File and Storage Services

Step 2. Select Work Folders > TASKS > New Sync Share to enter the New Sync Share Wizard.

Work Folders Task

Step 3. Click Next on the first screen. Then, select the server (sync share) and specify the path to store the sync files.

Select Path

Step 4. Select the folder structure from either User alias or User [email protected], and click Next. If you already have a file server, you can select the first option. If not, the second is more than suitable.

Create Sync Share for Work Folders

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, and require a password and then click Next.

Step 8. Preview all the selected options and start the synchronization.

This is the entire process of create sync share. To create multiple sync shares, repeat the above steps until you are satisfied. But the steps are quite complicated, NOT suitable for most users, and you need a domain name as well as username and password of the server to store data. In addition, Work folders does not work as normal sometime, it may be work folder setup or access issue. "There was a problem setting up work folders" can be one of the most common issues.

Don't want to waste time setting up work folders and resolving potential problems? Well then, how do we sync folders with Windows Server 2012/2012 R2/2016/2019? File sync software AOMEI Backupper Server comes here to help you. Simply scroll down to the easier way and have a try.

Easier Way to Perform Windows Server Sync Folders

Let's start the new journey and sync folders with Windows Server. To sync files from multiple computers, you need to choose a computer as the server client and create a shared folder on it, authorize all members, later sync files to from other computers to the shared folders. After that, you can type the IP address of server computer to access shared folder. If you are asked to input user name and password, just type it and hit OK.

Step 1. Download AOMEI backupper Server the client computers, install and launch it. After the installation is complete, click Sync and then Basic Sync as an example.

Download Free Trial Server 2003/2008/2012/2016/2019
Secure Download

File Sync

Please note that the core of "Basic Sync" feature is one-way file sync and it only automatic sync changes from source directory to destination. If you don't want to be limited to this, you could consider three other sync features.
Real-Time Sync: Different from "Basic Sync" feature, this can monitor changes of the files you added and sync them immediately when detected. It's very useful for teamwork purpose.
Mirror Sync: With this feature, any created, modified, or deleted files will be transferred to destination while the newly added files in the destination will be deleted and changes made will be undone.
Two-Way Sync: This feature is to track changes in both source and destination directory, then compare with the other side and sync.

Step 2. Click Add Folder, and then select one or more folders on the client computer.

Add Folder

Then, click the funnel shaped button of the selected folder and exclude file types you don't want to sync, or only include the file types need to be synced. It's called "Fille Filter", which can help you sync files with certain file extension.

File Filter

Step 3. Click the dop-down menu and click Select a network location.

Select Network Path

Then, Click Add Network Location to add details for server client computer. the network path, username and password is required and display name is optional.

Add Network Path

Step 4 (Recommended). Single sync task only sync folders you add currently, not including newly added, changed or deleted files. To get changes timely, please set a scheduled task by clicking Schedule. Here are 5 main choices for you containing daily, weekly, monthly, Event triggers, USB plug in.

Schedule Settings General

Notes:
◕ The previous three options only sync files at regular intervals. Mainly depends on how often you may modify the files you were added. And you could consider tick "Wake the computer to run scheduled tasks" if you want to sync files at off-peak hours, such as, midnight.
◕ Event triggers could help users sync files at a specific event, such as, user logon, user logoff, system startup, system shutdown.
USB plug in is designed for users who sync files to USB and take it everywhere. This feature can sync files to or from USB flash drive when plugged in the computer with AOMEI Backupper installed.

Meanwhile, you can set up other sync settings in "Options". Here, you can comment on this task for clearly distinguish, enable email notification to get result easily, create pre-command/post-command, and enjoy other options.

Real Time Sync to Network Share

Please note that "Basic Sync" option does not sync the deleted files or folders automatically. Therefore, if necessary, you need to tick the option "Sync the deletions in source directory to destination" shown in the above pictures.

Step 5. Confirm everything is ok and click Start Sync to sync folders with Windows Server.

Wrapping things up

The process of creating work folders multiple sync shares is complicated and error-prone. In view of thihs, you could consider using AOMEI Backupper Server to sync folders with Windows Server. It does not require a domain. And you can access data on the server computer from other computers as long as you have the permission.

Also, this software can do more to protect your data and system by its all-around solutions, including, file backup, system backup, disk backup, incremental & differential backup, encryption, compression, create bootable media, file restore, system restore, universal restore, disk clone, system clone etc.

But this software is limited to 5 servers or computers. To protect unlimited PCs and Servers, you need to upgrade to AOMEI Backupper TechPlus.