Win 2003 Server with Roaming Profiles

Posted on 2005-05-04
Last Modified: 2008-07-19
I am new to using Roaming profiles.  I'm working on an existing network that had Roaming profiles setup.  I am adding a new workstation to the network and want to make sure that I understand how this works.  Correct me if I'm wrong.  When a user logs in with Roaming profiles, a copy of the profile is moved from the server to the local machine.  That user does his work and then when logging off the profile is copied back up to the server.

My question is.  If the user for some reason can't log into the profile or is at home and modifies files in the My Documents folder, when they log in the next time with the roaming profile will the profile overwrite those changes?  

I am more concerned that the files are written to the server so that nightly backups can take place.  I don't really care about the files coming from the server to the local machine.  I would almost prefer for the user to retain the current copies on the machine and the roaming profile to never overwrite those local copies.

Let me know if my thinking is right.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Question by:tbeasley123
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    Hi tbeasley123,
    Your thinking is right.

    When the user logs in, the machine takes a copy of the profile and stores it locally.  When they log off, it copies that profile back.

    If the machine can't contact the network storage where the profile is, it will allow the user to use the local copy.

    You may find folder redirection will be more useful - but I don't know your environment. should help get you started.

    In folder redirection, things like "My Documents" and the users desktop are actually stored on the server.  No local copy of the files are made, so you don't have synchronisation issues.

    Of course, if the user can't contact the network, they don't have access to anything.  If your users often edit large files, over a slow link, you may have issues with this.
    That said, if they store them in their profile - the files are being copied anyway.

    Any help?

    Author Comment

    So if the user is using the local copy when the profile isn't available what happens on the next logon?  I don't want someone to go and modify a bunch of files offline and those files be overwritten when the user logs in the next time.

    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    The profiles are actually "merged".
    So, if a file is created locally that doesn't exist on the server - it'll get copied.
    Other than that, it's based on timestamps.

    In the majority of cases it's OK, but you'll find some cases of odd behaviour where the most recent file isn't necessarily the one you want to keep.

    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    you can find the official confirmation about the merge at;en-us;269378

    Author Comment

    Thanks for your help.  One last question....I noticed that the profile on the machine was large (over 1 gig).  I looked and saw that the My Music folder was included in the roaming profile.  Temporarily I just moved that directory to be a subdirectory on the c: drive.  I know there is a way to exclude folders in the roaming profile.  Am I better off doing that or just moving it like I did?
    LVL 15

    Accepted Solution

    Roaming profiles will include the entire profile directory for the user.  If there's data that you don't want including in the profile, then you need to store it elsewhere.

    Once again, using folder redirection could help you out with this - it will make it appear that the directories (such as My Documents) are in one place, but are actually stored elsewhere.

    Write Comment

    Please enter a first name

    Please enter a last name

    We will never share this with anyone.

    Featured Post

    Why You Should Analyze Threat Actor TTPs

    After years of analyzing threat actor behavior, it’s become clear that at any given time there are specific tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) that are particularly prevalent. By analyzing and understanding these TTPs, you can dramatically enhance your security program.

    Setting up a Microsoft WSUS update system is free relatively speaking if you have hard disk space and processor capacity.   However, WSUS can be a blessing and a curse. For example, there is nothing worse than approving updates and they just have…
    A quick step-by-step overview of installing and configuring Carbonite Server Backup.
    This video gives you a great overview about bandwidth monitoring with SNMP and WMI with our network monitoring solution PRTG Network Monitor ( If you're looking for how to monitor bandwidth using netflow or packet s…
    Polish reports in Access so they look terrific. Take yourself to another level. Equations, Back Color, Alternate Back Color. Write easy VBA Code. Tighten space to use less pages. Launch report from a menu, considering criteria only when it is filled…

    737 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    19 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now