File Director

Home 

File Sync Controls

In this Section:

About File Director File Sync

File Director keeps all files in sync, regardless of age, type, or size. The sync happens when a user logs in or interacts with files in both automatic or manual modes, based on server policy.

You may want to tailor what gets synced, saving network bandwidth and storage.

You can customize file syncing in File Director using a series of engineering keys. Set the engineering keys at the following locations:

  • HKCU\Software\Policies\AppSense\DataNow
  • HKLM\Software\Policies\AppSense\DataNow
  • HKCU\Software\Appsense\DataNow
  • HKLM\Software\Appsense\DataNow

HKCU settings take precedence over HKLM settings.

Excluding and electing files

You can use file sync controls to exclude files and file types from being uploaded and downloaded. For example, temporary files are automatically excluded from synchronization and are not uploaded.

You can also define electives. Files for which an elective applies are visible to users but must be synchronized individually using the option from the File Director context menu or by double-clicking the required file. Electives are a way to avoid heavy network traffic. A good example is to make files over a certain size elective, and so not automatically synchronized.

When enabled, exclusions and electives are enforced across all map points regardless of map point sync policy. Changes are applied when the user logs into File Director.
For more information, see Exclusions and Electives.

File prioritization

Unlike other sync technologies, File Director is aware of user interaction and delivers needed content first.  As soon as files are identified, syncing starts and files are queued for upload and download. While syncing is in progress, File Director dynamically prioritizes the files according to the following criteria:

  • Activity origin - For example, a double-click by a user indicates that a file is likely to be more important than a file that is simply found during onboarding.
  • Previous run status - For example, if a file was previously downloading and then paused, it will jump the queue when downloading is resumed.
  • Low priority status - You can designate files as low priority for syncing using an engineering key that uses the same language as exclusions and electives
  • Last modified time - Files with the most recent modified time are given priority, as they are most likely to be files that users want or need.

For more information on configuring low priority files, see File Prioritization.

Delta uploads and downloads

Depending on file size, syncing can consume a lot of bandwidth, so File Director supports delta uploads and downloads, in which only the altered portion of a file is synced. However, a delta upload can be expensive in terms of CPU usage. Using file sync controls, you can set a size threshold after which a file is eligible for delta uploads.

For more information, see Delta Sync Options.

Using Engineering keys to control syncing

Some types of files, such as database type files, present a problem for syncing because these files are often large and remain open or locked. Further writes to the files can occur while syncing is taking place. To resolve the issue for these file types, File Director supports the Windows Volume Shadow Copy service, which creates read-only point-in-time snapshots of volumes, even when they are in use. Shadow Copy syncing of these file types takes place at regular intervals - the default is 24 hours. You can alter the interval using an engineering key.

You can also use engineering keys to set whether:

  • Users have the ability to apply their own sync preferences at folder level. See Endpoint Sync Policy
  • File Director client will still report stats such as user cache size and file count via the usual server interface. See Endpoint Sync Control.

Cache cleanup

File Director provides an automatic cache cleanup function configurable to your requirements. This can help simplify maintenance and reduce endpoint hard disk usage.

The cache cleanup will apply only to files that have been synced, where the user is online, and where no uploads are pending. As an administrator, you determine the grace period, this is the length of time unused files may remain in the cache before being removed. When the grace period expires the cached files are removed from the local cache. Rules can be specified to exclude specific file types from the cleanup. See Cache Cleanup.

Exclusions and Electives

Set exclusions in the following locations:

  • HKCU\Software\Policies\AppSense\DataNow\FilePolicy\Exclusions
  • HKCU\Software\Policies\AppSense\DataNow\FilePolicy\ExclusionOverrides
  • HKLM\Software\Policies\Appsense\DataNow\DeltaPolicy\Exclusions
  • HKLM\Software\Policies\Appsense\DataNow\DeltaPolicy\ExclusionOverrides

Set electives in the following locations:

  • HKCU\Software\Policies\AppSense\DataNow\FilePolicy\Electives
  • HKCU\Software\Policies\AppSense\DataNow\FilePolicy\ElectiveOverrides
  • HKLM\Software\Policies\Appsense\DataNow\DeltaPolicy\Electives
  • HKLM\Software\Policies\Appsense\DataNow\DeltaPolicy\ElectiveOverrides

HKCU settings take precedence over HKLM settings.

You define electives and exclusions using expressions.

Default Values

File Director includes a default exclusion expression that prevents temporary, partial, and other files that are unlikely to be required from being synchronized.

Exclusion Description
.*\.tmp All files ending with .tmp
.*\.partial IE temp download files
.*\.crdownload Chrome temp download files
*\.part Firefox temp download files
.*\.download Safari temp download files
~\$.*  All office backup files starting with ~$
[0-9A-F]{8,8} Excel temp files
.*~ Files ending in a tilde ~
$Recycle.Bin The Recycle bin

Default Exclusions for User Profile Folders

If you use In-Location Sync to select an entire user profile to be managed by File Director, the following locations in the profile are ignored by default to save bandwidth and storage:

  • The App Data directory
  • NTUSER.DAT* files, for example ntuser.dat.LOG1 or ntuser.ini
  • OneDrive
  • Junctions, for example Links, Favorites, or Printer Shortcuts

You can add additional locations in a user profile to ignore using the standard exclusions language. For example, if installed, you may want to exclude the Dropbox folder.

Default exclusions are always applied unless they are explicitly overridden by an ExclusionsOverride entry in the registry. For more information, see Exclusion and Elective Overrides.

Variables

When an expression is evaluated by the File Director client, the following variables are initialized with information relating to the file being processed:

Variable Description
Size The size of the file.
Age The period between now and the date the file was last modified in days, months or years (d, m or y).
Path The full path of the local file including drive and parent directories.
Name The name of the file. For example, file.docx.
Ext The extension of the file. For example, docx.
Type The type of file. This can be file or directory.
InSync True if the file has previously been synchronized because it had a different name or its size or age meant it was previously not excluded.

Files can be excluded on the basis of:

  • Type - The exclusion is applied against the filename extension and not using any metadata inspection to determine the file type. One file type exclusion can be set for each key.
  • Size - Files over a defined maximum limit are excluded from synchronization. Customers can define maximum size of any file to be synced. The file size limit is set in MB one size limit exclusion per key can be set.
  • Age - Files older than a defined maximum age are excluded from synchronization. The maximum age is taken from the Last Modified date. One age restriction exclusion per key can be set.

Environment variables are supported in exclusion expressions when used with the BENEATH keyword. You can also use an absolute path. For example, the following expression uses the BENEATH keyword to exclude both the Favorites and the Links folder when a user's profile is set as a managed location:

BENEATH == "%USERPROFILE%\Favorites" OR BENEATH == “%USERPROFILE%\Links”

There are no user-definable variables in the expressions. If the client encounters a syntax error in an expression, a message is logged in the Windows event log and the default values are applied.
You can apply multiple exclusions in a single expression, for example see the expression in the last row of the table.

Exclusion and Elective Overrides

To override an exclusion, create an Override entry in one of the following locations:

  • HKCU\Software\Policies\AppSense\DataNow\FilePolicy\ExclusionOverrides
  • HKLM\Software\Policies\Appsense\DataNow\DeltaPolicy\ExclusionOverrides

To override an exclusion, create an Override entry in one of the following locations:

  • HKCU\Software\Polices\AppSense\DataNow\FilePolicy\ElectiveOverrides
  • HKLM\Software\Policies\Appsense\DataNow\DeltaPolicy\ElectiveOverrides

Overrides use the same language as exclusions. For example, if a user wants remove the exclusion of TMP files, they can define an Override value as follows:

HKCU\Software\Policies\AppSense\DataNow\FilePolicy\ExclusionOverrides]

"Allow tmp files"="Ext In [tmp]"

This turns off the default exclusion of TMP files, but all other default exclusions remain in place.

File Prioritization

Using the same expression mechanism as exclusions and electives, you can use the LowPriorityFileTypes key to configure files that will be treated as low priority for syncing. You can also configure an expiry date for the low prioritization, in terms of how old the file is. For example, if you configure a low priority for filesthis means that recent large ISO and MP3 files are given a low upload or download priority. However, once files older than 12 days are being processed for syncing, the ISO and MP3 files are synced in terms of age order, like any files.

Values Description
Value Name:

LowPriorityFileTypes

Value Type:

REG_EXPAND_SZ

Defines the files to be treated as low priority for syncing. Set the value using an expression with the same variables and values as for exclusions and electives. If an expression is present, the expression is used to determine which files to treat as lower priority. If no expression is present, no files are regarded as low priority.

PST Synchronization

Endpoints can now synchronize file formats in the user’s profile, including the large database format of PST.

File Director is a sync technology; if you use the same file in multiple locations, conflicts can occur.

Values Description
Value Name:

ShadowSyncPeriod

Value Name:

REG_DWORD

By default, File Director synchronizes PST files every 24 hours. Using ShadowSyncPeriod admins can change the frequency in which PST files are synchronized from the endpoint. Set the ShadowSyncPeriod to an integer in seconds, to define the period. If set to zero or if a value is not present, the default of 86400 seconds (24 hours) is used.

Value Name:

ShadowSyncChangeThreshold

Value Type:

REG_DWORD

This setting allows for files with a large amount of change to be synchronised early. The setting specifies the number of megabytes change in a file that will trigger an upload ahead of the regular ShadowSyncPeriod. By default this feature is turned off (a value of 0). If turned on, we recommend a minimum threshold of 100Mb is used.

PST Smart Linking

When opening Outlook for the first time on a new endpoint, File Director will download the PST file(s) if they are not held locally. The end user may experience delays at logon whilst the file is being downloaded. File Director performs a background task to unlink any remote Outlook Data Files (PST) before Outlook is opened on a new endpoint for the first time. This occurs before the desktop has been loaded, ensuring that the end user experience is not affected whilst potentially large PST files are download. Once PST files are downloaded, File Director then performs a relink in the background, ensuring a smooth onboarding process for the end user throughout.

By default PST unlinking and relinking in File Director is enabled.

Values Description
Value Name:

PstUnlinkingEnabled

Value Name:

REG_DWORD

Default Value: 1

To disable PST unlinking and relinking background tasks, set the value of this key to 0.

The key is stored in: HKLM\Software\AppSense\DataNow\

Endpoint Sync Policy

Set whether users have the ability to apply their own sync preferences at folder level.

Values Description
Value Name: ForceManualMode

Value Type: REG_DWORD

Set all folders to manual mode. This hides the sync/unsync File Director menu. A non-zero value applies manual mode to all folders. No value or a value of 0 uses the preferences set by the admin or user.

Endpoint Sync Control

If this is switched on, the File Director client will still report statistics such as user cache size and file count via the usual server interface. This allows administrators to produce reports on the statistics so that staggered on-boarding decisions can be made for particular groups of users based on what is known about their local caches.

Values Description

Value Name: AdminPause

Value Type: REG_DWORD

Permits administrator, via group policy or Environment Manager, to specify that an end point should not sync any data. To enable admin pause, set to1. To unpause the endpoint, either set to 0 or remove the entry. The AdminPause value is written in HKCU\Software\AppSense\DataNow.Note

Delta Sync Options

Values Description
Value Name: DownloadFileSizeDeltaThreshold

Value Type: REG_DWORD

Default Value: 4096

Minimum Value: 4096

Maximum Value: 4294967296 (4Gb)

The size, in bytes, that a file must be larger than for File Director to attempt a delta download.
Value Name: UploadFileSizeDeltaThreshold

Value Type: REG_DWORD

Default Value: 4096

Minimum Value: 4096

Maximum Value: 4294967296 (4Gb)

The size, in bytes, that a file must be larger than for File Director to attempt a delta upload. If a value is not present, the default value is used.

Sync Status

Shows the status of File Director endpoints in terms or sync activity. The value is automatically updated and can be used in applications, such as Environment Manager, to create actions and conditions that are dependent on the sync status of endpoints.

Values Description

Value Name:

DataNowSyncStatus

Value Type:

REG_DWORD

The DataNowSyncStatus value is stored in HKCU\Software\AppSense\DataNow and can show one of the following values:

·       0 = IDLE - The endpoint is in currently in sync. This is the ideal state for an upgrade, refresh or OS update.

·       1 = SYNCING - There is some sync activity currently occurring on the endpoint such as uploading, downloading and listing. This activity makes it unsuitable for an upgrade.

·       2 = PAUSED - There is currently no sync activity on the endpoint and its state is remains unknown until the endpoint is taken off pause.

·       3 = OFFLINE - The endpoint is offline and until it contacts the server, its state remains unknown.

Cache Cleanup

When enabled, a grace period is specified to determine how long unused files can remain in the cache before being considered for deletion. At a system level, File Director monitors for file closes and uses the period of no closes as the period of inactivity. Certain third party applications such as Explorer.exe for example, will continuously open and close cached files without user action. For this reason, processes performed by specified applications are excluded from cache cleanup altogether. Additional application processes can be added to the exclusion blacklist.

Personal folder files (.pst files) are excluded from the cache cleanup due to their typical size. Further file types can be added to the list of exclusions such as .pdf for example.

File Directorchecks any file identified for removal to ensure the client is online, the file exists locally and on the server, and that the file is in sync with no uploads pending. If the criteria are met, then the file will be marked for removal from the cache. If the file cannot be removed immediately from the cache, it will be removed at the next earliest opportunity, for example, when the file has uploaded to the server.

All files removed from the cache are audited and recorded in event logs.

Values Description
Value Name:

CacheCleanupEnabled

Value Type: REG_DWORD

Default Value: 0

The cache cleanup function is enabled / disabled via the CacheCleanupEnabled key. By default, cache cleanup is disabled.

The key is stored in HKLM\SOFTWARE\AppSense\DataNow and can show one of the following values:

  • 0 = DISABLED - The cache cleanup function is disabled.
  • 1 = ENABLED - The cache cleanup function is enabled.
Value Name:

CacheCleanupGracePeriod

Value Type: REG_DWORD

Default Value: 300 (5m)

The grace period is specified via the CacheCleanupGracePeriod key. The value entered is measured in seconds. The default value is 300 seconds.

The key is stored in HKLM\SOFTWARE\AppSense\DataNow

Value Name:

CacheCleanupBlacklist

Value Type: REG_MULTI_SZ

Default Value: explorer.exe, mspeng.exe, svchost.exe, runtimebroker.exe, searchprotocolhost.exe

File closes that have been triggered by certain web browser applications are excluded from the grace period. By default the list includes: explorer.exe, mspeng.exe, svchost.exe, runtimebroker.exe, searchprotocolhost.exe

Process exclusions are added via the CacheCleanupBlacklist key.

The key is stored in HKLM\SOFTWARE\AppSense\DataNow

Value Name:

CacheCleanupExcludedFileTypes

Value Type: REG_MULTI_SZ

Default Value: pst

File types can be excluded from the cache cleanup process. By default .pst files are excluded so will not be selected for removal.

File types are excluded from the cache cleanup function via the CacheCleanupExcludedFileTypes key.

The key is stored in HKLM\SOFTWARE\AppSense\DataNow

Enabling/disabling cache cleanup and /or setting the grace period will require a File Director logoff/logon or service restart.
To prevent Access Denied errors or files being removed before applications are fully initialized, it is recommended that 10 seconds is the minimum grace period value.

Related topics


Was this article useful?