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Why is user logging in as user.workstation ?

Posted on 2002-04-22
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Last Modified: 2010-04-13
We have 21 Win2k WORKSTATIONS in a WORKGROUP (NOT a Domain).  All were created using the same base image.  All normally log in to a Novell Network as well as the workstation.  All users are
administrative users of their own workstations.

When a user does a Mouse RIGHT CLICK on [Start] and selects EXPLORE, they get a windows explorer
window open to  "C:\Documents and Settings\xxx" where "xxx" is the user ID they logged in with.

But when ONE of my users logs in and then does this explore operation, the directory they find themselves in is "xxx.WSN" where "xxx" is their user ID, "WSN" is the full computer name that is normally displayed when the Right-Click on "My Computer", select "properties" and click the Network ID tab.  There is an explicit period between the two character strings.  The user ID is in lower case and the full computer name is in upper case in the directory name.

There IS a directory named for just the user ID in the same "C:\Documents and Settings" directory as well.

This all came about when the user reported a problem, an error message displaying in Eudora Pro 5.0
citing yet another odd directory inside "C:\Documents and Settings".  In an effort to clean things up, I had
the user delete all the unexpected directories inside  "C:\Documents and Settings" and reboot.  After the
reboot we found the  "C:\Documents and Settings\xxx.WSN" directory still existed (apparently re-created)
and the user's QuickLaunch toolbar had been wiped empty.  

Now the user's discovered that their IE favorites are gone too.  Apparently for several months they've been using this unexpected directory as their home directory, and they heavily populated this space with customizations, now all discarded.

Looking in the Users and Passwords app within Control Panel, I find ONLY three users defined.  The user in question, Administrator, and Guest (and Guest is disabled).

Backups and elbow grease will get the user back to where she wants to be, but WHY is this user getting
placed into this directory?  Where did this directory come from in the first place?

A random sampling of the other 20 workstations seems to be showing about a 50/50 mix of xxx vs xxx.WSN
for the individual logins.
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Question by:jlw011597
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jmiller47 earned 100 total points
ID: 6960207
This comes about when a user is using a profile and "something" happens to it and it is unusable. The PC then creates a new profile with the extension xxx.wsn if you are in a workgroup and xxx.domain if you are in a domain. (then it uses the extension .000 and .001 and so on and so forth...).

The reason that after the user deleted his own profile it still existed but some of it was missing was that he cannot delete his profile. It is impossible to delete profile when it is in use.

Since you no longer have the user's old profile because it was deleted. You really don't have much of a choice except to log into the workstation as Administrator, set up everything the way you want it to look for all users, and then delete all profiles except the Administrator's profile (you can't..). Then copy the Administrator's profile to c:\documents and settings\default user with the permitted to use set as "everyone".

By the way, If you haven't had much experienc with copying profiles, the correct way is to right-click on My Computer, choose properties, and then click on the profiles tab. THen use the buttons there to do what you need.

After you do all of this, the next time anyone logs into that computer they will receive the default user profile which is set up just like you set up the administrator's account. You will also have the profiles back to the way you are used to them.

I suggest looking into roaming profiles if possible.

I hope this helps.
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by:jlw011597
ID: 6960228
There's no purpose for Roaming Profiles if the user's don't roam.  Each workstation (desktop) resides in the individual worker's cubicle and two IDs are authorized for
each workstation:  The worker in that cubicle, and Administrator.

How would the user's profile become corrupted enough to become unusable, such
that this would happen as a result?  Is this some bug in Windows 2000 Pro?

Using Roaming Profiles to get around some inadequacies in Windows 2000 Pro seems to be putting the cart before the horse -- Windows 2000 needs to be fixed, not
implementing some alternative backdoor.

I'd like to see some further discussion of this before just accepting this answer.
But I'll add that I'd like to see some way to simplify the corrective measures suggested since it looks like I'll have close to a dozen machines that need to be "fixed" this way.
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by:jmiller47
ID: 6960349
You stated that this happens to "one" user. Is it happening to a dozen machines?? It is important to know this because you may have some larger problem here if it is affecting a dozon or so.. - "But when ONE of my users logs in and then does this explore operation, the directory they find themselves
in is "xxx.WSN" "

Roaming profiles allow for redundancy also. They make a backup of the profile on the network mirroring that of the local workstation.

The "corrective measure" will only take approximately 3-4 minutes per workstation. This is not actually just a corrective measure but is what should be done on each workstation during setup. It is best practice to set up a profile the way you would like it and then copy that profile to the default profile so that if anything happens to the user's profile, it can be deleted and a new user profile can be created from the default.

I have no idea exactly why the user profile was corrupted or ununasble and unfortunately, there seems to be no way to tell since the user profiles have already been deleted. If they had not, you might have been able to check permissions to that directory first as it is possible for someone to accidentally change the user's profile with permissions that don't allow that user to access it. It may have also been corrupted by bad software or a myriad of other problems. Without the profile in question, there is not much of a way to tell...


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by:jlw011597
ID: 6960413
As I was building my description, I wandered about the office and polled various users. It worked out to be about 50/50 and the results of that poll were added to the original
description.  Mea culpa if I didn't go back to the beginning of the description and strike
the ONE user (it was 1 user true, two users false, out of 3 total, when I first started writing the problem description).

The corrective measure will take several hours per workstation if deleting the existing
profiles deletes the user's individual favorites/IE bookmarks/etc.  Each of those have
to be preserved somehow before the extraneous profiles get deleted.

The workstations, when initially deployed, had "default user" set up the way it should be, short any user-specific customizations.  That said, every user is a member of their workstation's Administrator group so they can install user-specific software without requiring the Administrator's password and requiring the holder of that password to sit around while they install with the usual Win2K penchant for multiple reboots during the software installation phase.
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by:jmiller47
ID: 6960475
Good! (well not so much good...) But that is a bit more information to go on.

Have you possibly changed from a domain to a workgroup, changed the computer names, or changed the workgroup name since these computers were set up?

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by:jlw011597
ID: 6960649
Started out as a Workgroup from the beginning.  Imaged machines all started
out with the same computer name, as they were deployed the workstation name
was changed to reflect the user installation (each user's workstation has a DNS
name and IP address assigned to the office; deployment involved changing the
IP address to match the office assignment, the computer name to reflect the
unique workstation part of the DNS name with "-servicetag" appended.  Machines
are DELL Optiplexes with Dell-assigned service tags.  If my machine, for example,
has a DNS name of "Spunky.xyz.university.edu" and the Dell service tag is DXXHD523D, then the computer name assigned would have been Spunky-DXXHD523D.  The image had a user USER01 defined, and a profile created for user01.  Both were RENAMED during deployment to the user receiving the machine.  THAT was a 3-4 minute per workstation job ;-)
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by:jmiller47
ID: 6960679
When you change a workstation name, it can also create new profiles. It will append the profile name with .newworkstationname

You might want to consider not logging in the new user until after the workstation name has been changed. Is this what possibly happened?

Did you possibly set up the workstation, and then log in the user, then change the workstation name? Or was the name changed during imaging as what is possible using Sysmantec Ghost Corporate Edition. What imaging means are you using?
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by:jlw011597
ID: 6960714
The entire deployment setup was done logged in as Administrator to the workstation
and the Novell network.  Once the computer name was changed, the user01 was
changed and the user was allowed to change the password (in Users and Passwords), and the IP address was changed, then the box was rebooted and the
user logged in for the first time using their ID and password.

While the scenario you suggest was concievable, I was present at every deployment and don't recall that scenario being frequent if ever encountered.  It might have happened once or twice but not at the frequency we've seen this.  And considering it now is just closing the barn door after the horses have escaped; every machine IS deployed.  In 2-3 years we'll do it again with new boxes and whatever is the going OS then, I fear.

Imaging was done with DriveImage.  When we were buying machines a few years ago, Symantec Ghost didn't work for WinXX (whatever windows was to be deployed on said boxes THEN)  so we bought DriveImage instead.
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by:jmiller47
ID: 6960737
Ahh... since you have several workstations that have this problem, you may want to go to one under system properties> profiles like I showed above and see what names are listed. This may give you a clue as to what happened.

You may also want to look at the permissions of the profile and see if that specific user can access that profile. You might also want to log in as that user and  try to access that old profile.

You can also look at the date of the profile switch and then see if you can track down what may have happened that day.
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by:jlw011597
ID: 6960767
Consistantly every workstation has the user name.  Then there are roughly a dozen
that have username.COMPUTERNAME.  There are also several that have the
username.COMPUTERNAME (cannot say ALL for certain, but most so far) that also have a directory named USR~1~COM (kind of like the underlying DOS 8.3 version of a LONG filename) as well.  

When the user logs off and logs back in, then explores from within the [START] menu,
explorer ALWAYS opens up the username.COMPUTERNAME directory -- this suggests to me that they're logged in with that profile.

I'll have folks look at the directory dates.

At this point it looks like more disruption is caused to them if we try to rename or
clean up stuff -- until their C: drive begins to run out of space (which will likely exceed
the working life of the machines).

The whole question came up when we deleted one user's supposedly extraneous
profile information and wound up loosing valuable stuff in the process.

I wonder, however, if we were to remove all but the profile directory they SEEM to
be using, log out as them, in as Admnistrator, rename the username.COMPUTERNAME directory to just USERNAME, and let them log in again.
Or just rename their correct USERNAME profile directory to username.bogus
and rename username.COMPUTERNAME to USERNAME while logged in as Administrator.
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by:jmiller47
ID: 6960790
To keep their information, you would find out what profile they are using that they want to keep. Go to profiles and copy the profile you want to c:\documents and settings\deafult user and then delete all profiles except default user and all users. This will make sure that a brand new profile is created called USERNAME and that profile has all the information they need such as favorites, cookies, etc.

You also have a good known backup at that point of the user's profile info.

If you can find the dates of the changes, you may be able to track down when this happened and possibly why...
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by:jatcan
ID: 6962945
If you turn the machine off by pressing the pwoer button on the case instead of clicking start button\shutdown it could very well corrupt the profiles. I would suggest you educate your users.
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