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 the Windows Client Policy Tool, or directly using a series of engineering keys. The engineering keys are located as follows:

  • 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.

Note that File Director 2020.3 introduced the Windows Client Policy Tool to enable administrators to set and modify policy easily - and from a single interface. It provides access to engineering key settings, and include an expression builder tool.

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.

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:


Value Type:


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:


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.

Note, if you have PST files in the cache and wish to monitor your sync status, we recommend reducing the value of ShadowSyncPeriod.

Value Name:


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

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.

PST files on a network share are not managed by File Director and are excluded from the unlink/relink process.

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

Values Description
Value Name:


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.

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.

Related topics

Windows Client Policy Tool

Exclusions and Electives

Sync status

Cache management

Scan outside of profile

Base configuration

Single sign-on

In-Location sync

Mapped drives

Bandwidth throttling

Conflict resolution