The most common problem on campus | Rickard Andersson

The most common problem on campus

Without a doubt, the most common user issue we have on campus is students that do the following:

  1. Click a link to a Word document in their Gmail (or somewhere else on the web).
  2. When asked if they want to open of save the document, they select open.
  3. They work on the document for a couple of hours and then hit save.
  4. They log out.

The issue with this is that when you pick the open option in the open/save dialogue, the document gets downloaded into your “Temporary Internet Files” and then opened from there. It works, but Temporary Internet Files is a highly volatile place to store documents, in particular when Internet Explorer is set up to clear the folder when you log out (to keep roaming profile size to a minimum). In other words, the changes the student worked on are gone.

I don’t know how to solve this. I’m looking for a solution that does either of the following:

  1. Defaults to save and disables the open option for particular file types in Internet Explorer.
  2. Forces users to “save as” when the document has been “opened” through a browser.



  1. Rattus
    Posted December 3, 2009 at 12:11 | Permalink

    For Windows, you might consider using “MirrorFolder” from TechSoft to create a RAID1 mirror of the Temporary Internet Files folder to another location and set MirrorFolder’s option to not mirror file delete operations… should all work for you

    That way if a desperate student comes crying, you will be able to find his/her file in the mirror.

    ps. IMHO “MirrorFolder” is a wonderful and unique piece of software.

    pps. Are you involved with fluxBB at all, or is it a completely separate project?

  2. Rattus
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 12:21 | Permalink

    Of course on *Nix systems rsync based tools like rdiff and rdiff-backup etc. might be suitable.

    The basic idea is the same, how you implement it is up to you.

  3. Posted December 11, 2009 at 13:13 | Permalink

    Well, I guess we could do something like that, but it seems a bit backwards. The contents of Temporary Internet Files is not something we want to store at all. It’s temporary for a reason :)

    I’m no longer involved in neither FluxBB or PunBB. I left the PunBB project after which a bunch of the other developers forked the project into FluxBB.

  4. Posted April 27, 2010 at 07:55 | Permalink

    I guess you should be glad that such a silly issue is the most common problem on your campus. My most common issue at my campus is the server with all our course materials going down for 4 days at a time

    Firefox does let you specify that certain types should be always saved/opened/etc, if that’s an option.

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