How To: Configure and Use Work Folders in Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 provides its corporate users with a very helpful tool, called Work Folders. Work Folders allows you to access and store your work files on personal computers and other devices, in addition to your corporate PC. Furthermore, these files will sync back to the file server in the corporate environment. As a result, Windows users, who have to work on their personal devices too, can use Work Folders to work wherever and whenever they want. Let’s take a closer look on how you can set up and use this great feature.

Set up Work Folders in Windows 8.1

  • Assuming that you already have a company account, created by the IT administrator, go to the Control Panel and then select the System and Security section.
  • After this, choose the Work Folders option, found inside of that section.

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  • Click or tap Set up Work Folders from the middle of the screen or from the left-side column. Once you do it, you will be asked to give your email address and your credentials to the company domain, in case your PC has not joined it.
  • Enter your email address in the corresponding field and click or tap Next. 

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  • The Windows Security window will show up. In this window you need to enter the username and the password you are using on the company’s network. Enter them and click or tap OK. 

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  • You will be asked to determine the location, where you will store your work folders. You either use the default location for your folders, or you can choose another one, depending on your preferences. To select the location that you want, click or tap Change. If you are satisfied with the default storage location, simply click or tap Next.

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  • If you pressed on the Change button, a dialog box will display, which will prompt you to select a new folder for your work files. Once you choose the folder, click or tap the Select Folder button.

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  • Once again, click or tap Next in the Confirm Work Folders location window.
  • Next, you will have to accept the security policies of your company for Work Folders. Moreover, your company will encrypt your work folders, demand a password every time you or someone else tries to sign in your computer and lock your screen automatically, in order to protect your work files.

NOTE: In case you lost your computer, your company can erase the files, found in the Work Folders.

  • Check the ”I accept these policies on my PC” and click or tap Set up Work Folders.

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  • The set up process will take a while. Windows 8.1 will update you about the advance of the process by displaying a progress bar. Wait until the operation is finished.

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  • Once the process is finished, you will be informed that Work Folders has started synchronizing with your computer. Click or tap the Close button.

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After this, you will be redirected to the Work Folders control panel.

Note that during the configuration process, you may encounter  the following error: “There was a problem finding your Work Folders server”. 

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  • In this case, click or tap Enter a Work Folders URL in the Enter work email window.

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  • Type the Work Folders URL and click or tap Next.

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From now on, you will be asked to enter your email and password.

Manage the Work Folders from the Control Panel

Once you have configured the Work Folders, you can go to the System and Security section in the Control Panel and gain access to every management feature and option of the program. For example, you can get information about the available amount of space on the server, when you lastly synchronized your data and you can manually perform a synchronization.

  • If you want to activate file syncing over metered connections, check the Sync files over metered connections box.
  • Check the Sync even when I’m roaming box, if you want to synchronize files, while roaming.
  • In case you encounter issues with your work files, you will be able to ask for help  from your IT administrator by clicking the Email tech support link. When you do this, your default email client will open, which you should use to send your message.

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Use Work Files in Windows 8.1

  • In order to launch the Work Folders, open the File Explorer and then go to This PC. In this section you will see the shortcut of the Work Folders.

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Once you finished setting up Work Folders on multiple devices, you could be able to access your work files from any of those devices. On top of that, your work files will be kept in synchronization by Work Folders. From here onward, you can access and use your work files, as if they were normal files.

Sync Files in Work Folders

  • Now let’s see if your Work Folders are synchronized successfully. For the purposes of this test you will have to create a new document on one of your personal devices and save it in the Work Folders.
  • When you have done this, create another document on another device and save it also in the Work Folders. In a matter of seconds both documents should be available in the Work Folders of both devices.
  • If you prefer to synchronize your work data manually, right-click or press and hold in the window of Work Folders and finally click or tap Sync Now. Your work files will sync immediately.

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  • Another way to perform a manual synchronization is by pressing on the Sync Now link, which is in the Control Panel column on the upper left side of the window.

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  • The Control panel will instantly inform you about the progress of the synchronization.

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Green Color Files

Every file that is located inside of the Work Folders will probably display in green color. This small detail might get your attention, because no other file in your device displays in that color.

The reason behind of that color display is that your IT administrator has configured a security policy, which encrypts your Work Folder files, in order to prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to them.

For instance, if your computer gets stolen, the administrator can negate the access to your work files and delete them remotely, so that they can’t be used from people, who intend to harm you or your company.

Stop Using Work Folders in Windows 8.1

You can easily stop using the Work Folders in one of your personal devices.

  • To do this, you should first go to the Control Panel and select the System and Security section.
  • Then, open the Work Folders. On the upper left side of the window you will see a link named Stop using Work Folders. Click or tap on it.

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  • Once you do it, a dialog box will show up, asking you to confirm your decision. Click or tap Yes to stop Work Folders.

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What if your Administrator changes your Account’s Password ?

Most probably, your company will ask you to change the password of your account frequently. If that’s the case, you should know that you will have to enter the new credentials again, when your company changes your account’s password.

When your password has changed, Work Folders will try to sync your files again. At this moment you may get the following notification: “Your Work Folders sign-in info didn’t work”.

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In addition, if you go to the Work Folders window you will see this message: “Sync stopped. Password needed”.

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In this situation you need to update your credentials.

  • Click or tap the Manage credentials link, shown in the column on the upper left corner of the window.
  • The Window Security window will appear, asking you to enter the new username and the new password.
  • Type them and click or tap OK. Work Folders will verify your credentials with your the server of your company. If the verification is successful, Work Folders will resume syncing your files.

Although the majority of Windows users might think of Work Folders as a boring tool, there are many people, who consider this program as a great assistance for their businesses. If your opinion matches with the second category, you should better enable this useful feature in your Windows 8.1 devices.