During Citrix Synergy 2012 in San Francisco it was argued numerous times by Shawn Bass that redirecting Favorites to the home folder is a very bad idea. Shawn mentioned that Internet Explorer causes an extensive number of calls on your file server when browsing so I wanted to dig a little bit deeper into this topic.
Folder redirection to home folder is the rule of thumb to improve logon speed and create a better user experience across platforms. That being said, redirecting AppData should be avoided at all costs.
To redirect or not is a sensible topic and I think it would be a great Geek Speak Session with CTP Shawn Bass and Aaron Parker vs Citrix Consulting Services.
What happens under the hood :
To illustrate this I’ve been using Internet Explorer 9 and Process Monitor on my Windows 7 laptop. The filter beeing used is Path IS C:\Users\Administrator\Favorites.
When opening Internet Explorer you’ll see 13 calls in Process Monitor.
If just clicking the Favorites icon inside IE you’ll get 6 calls, but when scolling the Favorites list you’ll get another 24 calls. This happens only the first time though, so IE is most likely caching this list.
The most interesting findings in this test is the fact that EVERY time the user types an URL into the browser the Favorites folder is queried.
As a comparison Google Chrome handles this much better and only writes when adding new bookmarks. That beeing said, Chrome stores the bookmarks in this file : C:\Users\%UserName%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Bookmarks so Favorites Redirection won’t affect Chrome.
This test has been conducted on my laptop with only one user browsing the Internet, so imaging the load on your file server when thousands of users are browsing the internet!
Even though redirecting Favorites causes a lot of extra file calls, it’s not nessecary wrong. I mean it depends on the number of users and the file system. If you’re running Windows 2008 R2 file servers make sure to check this blog post : SMB 2.0 Tuning for Citrix XenApp 6.x.