Storage Windows Server

How to find Dfs Referral Path and clear Dfs referral Cache

Distributed File System_DFS

Distributed File System (Dfs) is a Windows Server role that enables you to group shared folders that are located on different servers into logically structured namespaces. Just as if they were accessing their local storage. This allows users to have a virtual view of the shared folders, with a single path leading to files that reside on multiple servers. In this article, we shall discuss the steps to find Dfs path and clear Dfs cache. Please see Update Fujitsu Server BIOS: A Comprehensive Guide. Also, see how to Replicate MDT Deployment Share: How to Create a Selection Profile and Link MDT Deployment Shares.

A referral list in DFS provides information about the available targets (servers). Users accessing a DFS namespace are directed to these targets based on various factors such as load balancing, proximity, and availability.

Note: This is not the target folder where data and contents are stored. Therefore, a folder without a folder target adds structure and hierarchy to the namespace. While folders with folder targets provide users with actual contents.

Therefore, when users browse a folder that has folder targets in the namespace. The client computer receives a referral that transparently redirects the client’s computer to one of the folder targets.

Find Any Distributed File System (Dfs) Referral Path

When you wish to determine the Dfs referral list for a file or folder that is hosted on a Distributed File System you are accessing via a mapped network drive that is local to your Windows login. The steps below will enable you to do so.

Want to learn more about Distributed File System, How to target WSUS clients with the registry keys, Active Directory Forest – Trees and Domain and Sites, and how to Cache in Windows 11: Easy Steps to Clear them from Your System.

Browse any of the mapped drives on your PC. Right-click on the file or folder and choose properties as shown below.

Find DFS path

Select the Dfs tab as shown below.


You will see a referral list along with the full path name (server and DFS share name). This will transparently redirect the client’s computer to one of the folder targets.

DFS Referral List
Without Dfs, system administrators can run out of drive letters because of too many network connections.

Clear DFS Referral Cache On Windows PCs

As discussed above, a referral is an ordered list of targets that a PC receives from a domain controller or namespace server when the user accesses a namespace root or folder with targets in the namespace. You can adjust how long clients cache a referral before requesting a new one.

In this section, I would like to show you how to manually Flush the DFS referral cache via the Dfs properties in Windows and via the Command line. See this post if you wish to learn about Manually Clearing the ConflictAndDeleted Folder in DFSR.

Browse any of the mapped drives on your PC. Right-click on the file or folder and choose properties as shown below.

Next, select the Dfs tab as shown below. Click on Clear History as shown below. This action requires administrative rights.

Clear DFS Cache

Check DFS Status or Set Dfs Referral Target as Active

If you have multiple referrals target in the referral list. The ‘Set Active’ button is how you change the current referral to a different referral on your Windows PC. 

To see if the referral is active, use the check status button as shown below.

check status and set active

DFS Management Command Line Tools – Dfsutil

You can also use the following command below to clear Dfs cache in Windows 10 and 11 The DFSutil is a command used in managing DFS Namespaces, servers, and clients.

dfsutil /pktflush 

FAQs on Distributed File System (Dfs)

How do Users See Dfs Trees?

When a user views the contents of a root volume, they see the leaf volumes located under the root and the contents of the shared folder that comprises the root. Users can still use conventional \\servername\sharename syntax to access shared folders that are part of Dfs trees.

Why is Dfs important to users?

Dfs trees make network access easier for users, who no longer have to manually locate which server data is stored on. After connecting to the root of the Dfs tree.

Users can browse for and access all resources contained within the tree, regardless of where the resources are located.
– If a server crashes or must be replaced, or a volume must be moved from one server to another. Users do not need to be notified of the change. An administrator simply modifies the Dfs tree to refer to the new server location and users continue to use the same Dfs path to access resources.

I hope you found this blog post helpful on how to find Dfs Path and clear DFS cache. Please let me know in the comment section if you have any questions.

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