Work Folders FAQ

When you use Work Folders to store your work files, you'll be able to get to them from all your PCs and devices—even when you're offline. Here are answers to some common questions about Work Folders in Windows 10 and the Work Folders app for iOS and Android.

Your organization's IT admin sets up your Work Folders account. Once it's set up, do one of the following:

  • If you have Windows 10, select the Start  button, select Work Folders > Set up Work Folders, and then follow the instructions. If you have trouble setting up Work Folders or accessing your files, contact your admin.

  • If you have an iPad or iPhone, install the Work Folders app from the App Store. If you have an Android device, install the Work Folders app from the Google Play Store. Make sure you're connected to the Internet, open the app, and then follow the setup instructions.

Button

What it does

Work Folders settings

 Takes you to your app settings. Use it to:

  • Update your password.

  • Change your app passcode (the four-digit PIN that unlocks the app).

  • See how much storage space the Work Folders app is using.

  • See details about any problems with the app.

Work Folders sort button

Changes the way files are sorted—by name, type, size, or date modified.

Work Folders select button 

Lets you select particular files to pin or unpin.

Work Folders pin button

Pins files so they're visible offline.

Files saved to Work Folders are stored on:

  • Your PC or other device. Unless you changed the location when you set up Work Folders, they're saved here: C:\Users\user name\Work Folders (where user name is your Windows user name).

  • Your organization's server.

  • Any other PCs or devices where you've set up Work Folders.

It's usually best to use the default location for Work Folders files (C:\Users\user name\Work Folders, where user name is your Windows user name). If you want to change the location:

  1. Select the Start  button, and then select Work Folders.

  2. Select Stop using Work Folders.

  3. Select Set up Work Folders.

  4. On the Introducing Work Folders screen, select Change, and then choose a new location for your Work Folders files.

Note: You can choose a location on another drive with more space as long as the drive is formatted with the NTFS file system and remains connected to your PC.

You won't be able to use certain locations on your PC that are reserved by Windows or encrypted. If you choose one of these locations for your Work Folders files, you'll see a message that says, "This location doesn't work."

The following locations are reserved by Windows:

  • The Windows folder and its subfolders.

  • The Program Files folder, the Program Files (x86) folder, and subfolders of either location.

  • The top-level folder in your user profile (usually C:\Users\user name, where user name is your Windows user name).

  • The top-level folder of a drive.

  • The Documents folder, or any other folder that redirects to another location.

  • Folders that are already encrypted using Encrypting File System (EFS).

If a location you want to use for Work Folders files is encrypted, you can choose a different location, or decrypt that location and then try again. To decrypt a location:

  1. Type File Explorer in the search box on the taskbar, and then select File Explorer.

  2. Find the encrypted location.

  3. Press and hold (or right-click) the folder, and then select Properties.

  4. On the General tab, select Advanced.

  5. Under Compress or Encryptattributes, clear the Encrypt contents to secure data check box, select OK, and then select OK again.

Yes, pinning files in the Work Folders app downloads them to your phone or tablet so you can see them when you're offline.

To pin, tap Select files, and then tap Pin.

Note: The Work Folders app updates your pinned files if they're changed from other devices. However, the app can only check for updates when it's open and your phone or tablet is connected to the Internet.

Currently, you can use the app to see Work Folder files, but you can't upload changes.

Tap the file to see it, and then tap Open-in.

Note: Because some apps don't support file encryption, your workplace might not let you open Work Folders files in other apps. Or they might only let you open files in certain apps, such as those that support Rights Management Service (RMS) encryption.

In any Office app, select File > Open > This PC, and then find Work Folders on your PC (its default location is C:\Users\user name\Work Folders, where user name is your Windows user name).

To make it even easier to find these files, add Work Folders to the list of file locations in the Open and Save as menus. Open an Office app, and select File > Open > Add a Place > Work Folders.

Work Folders keeps your files in sync automatically as long as your PC or device is connected to the Internet. You can also manually sync your files to make sure you have the latest version. To do this, select the Start  button, and then select Work Folders > Sync Now.

Green means that the files and folders are encrypted. Encryption helps keep your work files secure if your PC is stolen or if someone else uses your PC. Your organization decides if the files should be encrypted.

You can't decrypt an encrypted file in Work Folders, because your organization decides whether files should be encrypted. Even if you save a personal file in Work Folders and move it to a new location later, your organization's security policies will still apply to the file. You'll know a file is encrypted if the file name is green.

To remove your organization's security policies from your personal files:

  1. Type File Explorer in the search box on the taskbar, and then select File Explorer.

  2. Find your Work Folders location (usually located at C:\Users\user name\Work Folders, where user name is your Windows user name).

  3. Move any personal files out of Work Folders and into another folder on your PC.

  4. Press and hold (or right-click) the files you want to decrypt, and then select Remove enterprise control. If you move the decrypted files back into Work Folders, they'll be encrypted again.

Your organization controls the policy for how long stored passwords may be reused. So you may intermittently have to reenter your Work Folders password.

However, joining your workplace will decrease the number of times you're asked for your password. To connect to your workplace, select the Start button, then select Settings  > Accounts > Work access > Connect.

To help protect your files, the Work Folders app:

  • Keeps your files encrypted

  • Uses a four-digit passcode

Note: Some apps don't support file encryption. If you open a file from Work Folders in another app, it might not stay encrypted. See the "How do I open Work Folders files in other apps?" section for more info.


If you enter the wrong passcode five times in a row, the app resets itself to try to keep your work files safe. Your files aren't affected when the app resets, but you'll have to reenter your account info and create a new passcode.

If files don't sync correctly, Work Folders lists the files and the reason that they didn't sync. Here are some ways to try to fix syncing problems:

  • Close the problematic files. Sometimes that alone will fix the problem.

  • Restart your PC.

  • Open File Explorer and move the problematic files into another folder. Select the Start  button, and then select Work Folders > Sync Now. Move the files back into the Work Folders folder.

First, move your personal files to another location. If your files are encrypted, press and hold (or right-click) the files and select Remove enterprise control to decrypt them. Select the Start  button, and then select Work Folders > Stop using Work Folders. If your PC is managed by your organization, this option might not be available.

To get help from your organization's IT admin, on Windows 10, select the Start  button, and then select Work Folders > Email tech support. Your email app will open with a new message that includes details about your Work Folders account.

For more help, go to the Microsoft community website.

If you're an administrator looking for more info, see the Work Folders Overview topic on TechNet.


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