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Win 2003 Server with Roaming Profiles

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.
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tbeasley123
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tbeasley123
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scampgbCommented:
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.  http://www.computerperformance.co.uk/w2k3/gp/group_policy_folder_redirect.htm 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?
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tbeasley123Author Commented:
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.

Thanks
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scampgbCommented:
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.
 



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kiranghagCommented:
you can find the official confirmation about the merge at
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;269378
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tbeasley123Author Commented:
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?
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scampgbCommented:
tbeasley123:
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.
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