Work Folders was introduced with the release of Windows Server 2012. With Work Folders users can store and access work files on personal computers and devices (BYOD) in addition to corporate PCs. Users gain a convenient location to store work files, and they can access them from anywhere – almost like a DropBox or OneDrive, but for corporate managed and controlled networks. Up until now, the feature has only been available on for Windows 8.x and above.

Yesterday, Microsoft released a Work Folders component that works with business versions of Windows 7 with SP1 (Enterprise, Pro, and Ultimate), giving those companies choosing to stick with Windows 7 the ability to still take advantage of the Windows Server 2012 R2 feature. The only difference between the Windows 8.x capability and the Windows 7 capability is that the Windows 7 version requires a domain-connected PC. Windows 8.x is built to work without the domain requirement and also works with Windows RT.

The downloads are here:

Work Folders for Windows 7 (64 bit)

Work Folders for Windows 7 (32 bit)

Work Folders is a valuable feature of Windows Server 2012 R2, and helps curb end-user habit of secretly using Cloud-based storage to stockpile corporate documents and put the company at potential risk. Since the majority of companies are settling on Windows 7 (instead of Windows 8), this should help Microsoft improve customer acceptance for Windows Server 2012 R2 and I expect more Windows 7 interoperability to release. I've not seen numbers related to Windows Server 2012 R2 usage, but I can't help but think adoption is low and companies are sticking with Windows Server 2008 for now.