Work Folders Bring Synced Storage to Windows 8.1

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work-folder-iconA lot has been made of Windows 8.1 as both leaked versions, Preview and now RTM have been dissected by people trying discover what exactly is included in Microsoft’s next-generation operating system. One thing many have missed, thanks to it being rather well hidden by the company, is often a storage and syncing option called “Work Folders”. However, the corporation has begun to preview the modern service in some of recent IT events.

When you open Explorer in Windows 8.1, you'll find a number of pre-populated folders, including desktop, downloads, documents, music, pictures and video. These are not your only options, though, and after this Microsoft is rolling out one more when Windows 8.1 finds its way to the market the following month, along with its big brother Server 2012 R2. IT professional will get in on the act now by beginning the testing phase on this new feature.

work-folder-not-added

To add the modern Work Folders, head to the Charms menu, click search and type “work folders” then click the first of both the options that appear. Note that I am using Windows 8.1 Pro, and can find no documentation about the feature inside consumer relieve the OS.

work-folder-launch

This arises an instance of Explorer which contains a single option - “setup work folders” - you could click to obtain the process underway. Above the option, Microsoft explains that you could “use work folders to produce your work files on all devices you use, regardless if offline”.

work-folders-setup

Click the “Set up Work Folders option” and are prompted to enter your email or, alternatively, you'll be able to punch in a very URL for that folders instead. The latter is to the network administrator, while the former is good for workers.

This all commences with the IT department though, because the process first should be implemented - it is possible to do this in your house if you wish to play around with it, or get some good experience, however, you will need to have Windows Server 2012 R2 running on a computer as part of your network. There is, unfortunately, no way to set up this procedure without that, though SkyDrive is pretty similar and open to all.



If you meet the requirements to implement Work Folders, there are a few things you will need to setup a SyncSvr and join it for the provided Contoso.com domain. Security and domain settings also needs to be taken proper, but Microsoft has supplied detailed instructions for testing this out inside a VMware environment.


Once configured about the server and client, an individual just sees a unique “Work Folders” icon within their “This PC” view. Files placed inside this folder get automatically synced inside background similar to SkyDrive or Dropbox.

On the consumer side, each user will need to be running Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1 in order to participate in this new Microsoft feature. Now the worker can simply enter their email address contact information and begin syncing files from any device in just a secure setting that is certainly maintained from the company.

work-folder-syncing


Conclusion


This initial relieve Work Folders can be an early attempt, and it’s a fixed implementation without collaboration capabilities (shared files between multiple users), remote web file access or syncing of other user folders (for example Documents, Pictures and the like), but the Microsoft Server Storage team clearly has plans for that feature, such as the ability to access these Work Folders via clients on older versions of Windows and in many cases other platforms (iPad has become specifically mentioned).

Windows 8.1 is not yet officially on industry, but people that have TechNet and MSDN subscriptions can access the RTM now to start testing for your rollout if the OS is released on October 17.

Title Post: Work Folders Bring Synced Storage to Windows 8.1
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