ISSUE:

Some users have laptops that are taken into the field, losing network connectivity. Even if AutoCAD and CADWorx have stanadalone licenses for use in the field, many network resource files are unavailable, making design work difficult.


SOLUTION:

Using Windows Scheduled Tasks to create the automation and Robocopy (inside a BAT file) to handle the mirroring, this solution has been able to keep laptops fully synchronized with regards to CAD Standards, specifications and configuration files.

First, you need to create your batch file with the Robocopy command inside it. Remember, Robocopy is a FOLDER copy utility, not a file copy utility.

robocopy \\SourceServer\Share \\DestinationServer\Share /MIR /FFT /XA:H /W:5

  • /MIR specifies that robocopy should mirror the source directory and the destination directory. Be aware that this may delete files at the destination if the user has created some there.
  • /FFT uses fat file timing instead of NTFS. This means the granularity is a bit less precise. For cross-network share operations this seems to be much more reliable - just don’t rely on the file timings to be completely precise to the second.
  • /XA:H makes robocopy ignore hidden files, usually these will be system files that we’re not interested in.
  • /W:5 reduces the wait time between failures to 5 seconds instead of the 30 second default.
  • /Z can be used if you have large files in the directory, as it ensures robocopy can resume the transfer of a large file in mid-file instead of restarting. There is a performance penalty for using this switch.

Next, you’ll need to create a scheduled task to execute the batch file in the background. In order to get the task to run silently, you need to change the user to SYSTEM. I usually set the task to run once an hour, and if robocopy detects no changes in the source directory, it will not do anything, keeping system overhead very low.

Once you’ve configured your scheduled task and verified that it runs the batch file as expected, you can export the task and save it as an XML file. Keep both the XML file and the BAT file together to simplify setup. Copy them to the user’s laptop, run the BAT file once to create the directory and then import the scheduled task. Run it once to verify in the log that it ran properly, and you’re done!