Windows 7 Folder Redirection

One of the more useful features for server admins on Windows is folder redirection. Basically this is a feature in which the user’s key folders such as Documents, Music and Videos can be redirected out of their user profile and into a fixed server based location. Taking the data out of the user profile speeds up login/logout times significantly.
The Application Data or AppData folder is one that can also be redirected and in previous versions of Windows this was a useful feature to have. However, in Windows 7, Microsoft made a bizarre and stupid decision to take the user’s start menu and other shortcuts out of their dedicated folders within the main part of the user profile (for example C:UsersusernameStart Menu would be the equivalent of the XP folder path for their start menu) and put this into the AppData folder’s Roaming subdirectory. The result of this is that what was a previously functional capability of having application data (which for the most part is invisible to the user) has turned into having the start menu (which is quite important and visible) redirected as well.
Whilst I haven’t investigated what this means, the fact that on my computer I frequently have problems with Taskbar icons that disappear (or rather the message is displayed “Can’t display this item, it must have been removed”) is most likely, in my view, related to the Start Menu redirection stupidity implemented by this design change in Windows 7. Redirecting plain old AppData is useful because a lot of this data does build up to a significant size over time and therefore is best taken out of the user profile. Redirecting the start menu, which doesn’t take up a lot of room, and is going to be affected by network disruptions, or perhaps a server going offline, isn’t a good idea. It’s another one of the changes in Windows 7 that Microsoft has foisted onto users without fully considering the implications.
In order to get rid of the impact of this decision (the disappearing taskbar shortcuts) I am going to have to stop redirecting AppData and therefore ending up with a larger profile and slower login/logout times as a result.