Thinking of how you Sync Files and Folders remotely before might have been a pain – What’s new in Windows 8.1 and 2012 R2

Thinking of how you Sync Files and Folders remotely before might have been a pain (nightmare) –
Introducing what’s new in Windows 8.1 and 2012 R2 that can help.

Thinking of how you Sync Files and Folders remotely before might have been a pain (nightmare), offline syncing
was not easy and you had to be connected to the LAN or connected via a VPN.

Over the past years this has got better in Windows 7 and then Windows 8 and now in Windows 8.1 and
Window Server 2012 R2 the options have got better and more.

Options available: How Work Folders Compares to Other Microsoft Sync Technologies


Consumer / personal data

Individual work data

Team / group work data

Personal devices

Access protocol

Data location







Public cloud

SkyDrive Pro






SharePoint / Office 365

Work Folders






File server

Folder Redirection / Client-Side Caching





SMB (only from on-prem or using VPN)

File server

Microsoft have published a few links and walk thoughts how this  

Microsoft Working Folders

Work Folders address the bring-your-own device (BYOD) scenario, enabling users to store and access work files on personal PCs and devices as well as corporate PCs. Users gain a convenient location to store work files and access them from anywhere, while organizations maintain control over corporate data, storing the files on centrally managed file servers and optionally specifying user device policies such as encryption and lock screen passwords.

Work Folders can be deployed alongside existing deployments of Folder Redirection, Offline Files, and home folders. Work Folders stores user files in a folder on the server called a sync share, and you can specify a folder that already contains user data, enabling you to adopt Work Folders without migrating servers and data or immediately phasing out your existing solution.

Here is some of the functionality that Work Folders includes:

  • Provide a single point of access to work files on a user’s work and personal PCs and devices (Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, with immediate plans to follow up with Windows 7 and iPad support and other devices likely in the future)
  • Access work files while offline and sync with the central file server when the PC or device next has Internet or network connectivity
  • Maintain data encryption in transit as well as at rest on devices and allow corporate data wipe through device management services such as Windows Intune
  • Use existing file server management technologies such as file classification and folder quotas to manage user data
  • Specify security policies to instruct user PCs and devices to encrypt Work Folders and use a lock screen password, for example
  • Use Failover Clustering with Work Folders to provide high-availability solution

Microsoft Working Folders Overview

Microsoft Working Folders

Work Folders Test Lab Deployment


BYOD scenarios will become a great experience in Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

Networking features optimized for mobile productivity. Windows 8.1 improves mobile productivity for today’s workforce with new networking capabilities that take advantage of NFC-tagged and Wi-Fi connected devices, including:

  • NFC tap-to-pair printing– Tap your Windows 8.1 device against an enterprise NFC-enabled printer and you’re all set to print. No more hunting on your network for the correct printer and no need to buy a special printer; just attach a NFC tag to your existing machines. And you don’t need to buy new printers to take advantage of this; you can simply put an NFC tag on your existing printers to enable this functionality.
  • Wi-Fi Direct printing– Connect to Wi-Fi Direct printers without adding additional drivers or software on your Windows 8.1 device, forming a peer-to-peer network between your device and the printer.
  • Native Miracast wireless display– Present your work wirelessly without any dongles needed; simply project your content to a Miracast-enabled device by pairing the device through Bluetooth or NFC. Miracast will then use the available Wi-Fi connection to let you lean back and project wire-free.
  • Broadband tethering– Turn your Windows 8.1 mobile broadband-enabled PC or tablet into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing other devices to connect and access the internet.
  • Auto-triggered VPN – When you select an app or resource that needs access through the inbox VPN – like a company’s intranet site – Windows 8.1 will automatically prompt you to sign in with one click. This feature will be available with Microsoft and third-party inbox VPN clients.

Security enhancements for device proliferation and mobility.Security continues to be a top priority for companies across the world, so we’re making sure we continue to invest resources to help you protect your corporate data, applications and devices:

  • Modern Access Controls– Sign in and authenticate devices with new support for fingerprint-based biometrics. Multi-factor authentication using Virtual Smart Cards will also be made even easier in Windows 8.1.
  • Malware Resistance –Windows Defender, Microsoft’s free antivirus solution in Windows 8, will include network behavior monitoring to help detect and stop the execution of known and unknown malware. Internet Explorer will scan binary extensions (e.g. ActiveX) using the antimalware solution before potentially harmful code is executed.

Improved management solutions to make BYOD a reality. As BYOD scenarios continue to grow in popularity among businesses, Windows 8.1 will make managing mobile devices even easier for IT Pros:

  • Improved IT controls– IT departments can now control the layout of the Start screen on company-issued devices to ensure key apps are easily accessible. IT departments can also prevent users from customizing their start screen to ensure consistency across individual workgroups or the entire company.
  • Remote business data removal– Allows personal devices to connect to, access and store company content that can be efficiently removed from the device by IT at a later date while leaving the personal data intact.
  • Open MDM– With Windows 8.1, new Open Mobile Alliance Device Management (OMA-DM) capabilities are built into the OS and enable mobile device management using third-party MDM solutions, such as MobileIron or AirWatch, with no additional agent required. Enhanced policies allow administrators to manage more settings from both Windows Intune and the third-party MDM solutions for both Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1.
  • Workplace Join – Further control access to company data by ensuring that only registered and trusted devices are allowed to access secured enterprise data.

More control over business devices. Businesses can more effectively deliver an intended experience to their end users – whether that be employees or customers.

  • Assigned Access – Enable a single Windows Store application experience on the device (e.g. a learning application for a child, a customer service application at a boutique.) Enabling this feature turns on a predefined set of filters that blocks other actions so the user only experiences the specified application and is unable to access system files and other applications.
  • Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry – Our offering for Industry devices like POS Systems, ATMs, and Digital Signage that provides a broader set of device lockdown capabilities.

The preview of Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 will be released June 26th.