SBS 2003 Failure to create user profile directories and My Documents

I have a problem with a SBS 2003 installation.  As usual, the OEM vendor only gave a small amount of free space on the boot drive, so after creating a couple of admin users, the Users Shared Folder was moved to another drive.

Furthers users were added but the wizard said it could not create the users home directory and quota.

It turned out that was a problem with permissions and the share name on the moved Users Shared Folder (the share name has to be 'Users').
On correcting that, the wizard created new users withouth complaint, with the users home directory being created in the moved Users Shared Folder, but the user profile directory containing all the usual User directries such as [My] Documents, Application Data etc can not be found, presumed never created.  The user can log in and out on the workstation, but it seems that the workstation profile files are not written back to the server (no events in the eventlog indicating failure either).

I guess that the wizard is still trying to create the users profile somewhere else and failing, perhaps in the original. but now deleted Users Shared Folder directory.

Getting back to basics, I presume the location for the user profile directory creation is stored somewhere in the wizard config or indeed in the active directory but I am not familiar with active directory to know where to look (I presume its like the registry).

Any help in getting this installation of SBS back into shape would be appreciated.

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As usual in SBS there is a wizard.  It is accessible through Server Management Console - User Management - Configure My Documents Redirection

There is a general document on moving data folders,  with also the configuration aspects of user shared folders.
Moving Data Folders for Windows Small Business Server 2003

Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
What you are thinking is happening, isn't really supposed to be happening... ROAMING PROFILES are not created by default on SBS.  And while a user's home folder is created for their Documents, it's not enabled until you run the My Documents Redirection wizard which is found in three places on the Server Management Console:  Users, Backup & Shares (they all do the same thing... just placed in each section for convenience).

Once you run that wizard it will create a Group Policy Object that will automatically move the files from their local machine to the server... as long as the permissions are now correct on the share.

To clarify, the Add-User wizard does NOT create a user profile.  If you look at the add-user wizard's log you would see something like the following after creating a new user account:

Date: 1/29/2006
Time: 10:56 AM
User: techsoeasy
Command-Line: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Windows Small Business Server\Administration\addusr.exe" -c

Options specified by the user:
A user account will be created with the following properties:
      Full name: Josh Royce
      User logon name: Josh
      E-mail alias: Josh
      Home folder: \\SBS\USERS\Josh

The following template will be applied to this user:
      User Template

The user will be added to the following security groups:
      Remote Web Workplace Users
      Domain Users

The user will have the following disk quota:
      Disk space limited to 1024 MB
      Warning sent at 900 MB


Wizard Execution:
      Entering the Account Committer...
            Creating Josh Royce...
            Finished with Josh Royce...
            Creating the mailbox Josh...
            Finished the mailbox...
      Leaving the Account Committer...
      Entering the Template Committer...
      Leaving the Template Committer...
      StampAllUsers() - Returned [0]
      DoOfflineABTask() - Returned [0]

Wizard results:

User account: Josh Royce created successfully.


So, you see, it creates an account, not a profile.  This is because there is a possibility that the user already had a profile on their local computer, before the SBS was installed.  This profile would be migrated to a Domain profile when you run the ConnectComputer wizard on the workstation to join it to the domain.  However it still does not store that profile on the server.

If you do want to have ROAMING profiles, the please follow the steps outlined in the Roaming Profile section of


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sheepfarmerAuthor Commented:
Makes sense - thanks.

With hindsight, both the admin accounts have logged directly in to the server, hence the creation of their "Documents and Settings" entries, on the server boot disk.
I took their existance to indicate the roaming profiles were turned on and was confused when, creating 'normal' users, no entries were created in "Docs and Sett" on the server.

From my other question, I am fairly sure I do need roaming profiles, so will check out your link above.

One further clarifcation - I presume its the ConnectComputer wizard that 'instructs' each workstation to remap local My Documents folders to the server share (assuming thats been turned on).  Does this have to be done on a per user basis or is it basically a machine policy set when the machine joins the domain.

Thanks again.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
ConnectComputer has nothing to do with the My Documents Folder Redirection.  These are two separate configurations.

To enable My Documents Redirection, you need to run the Redirection wizard as described in my post above.  This is a USER group policy setting, it's not machine based, but it's linked at the DOMAIN level, so it is inherited by all users.

sheepfarmerAuthor Commented:
OK, I still can't get the users My Documents to get copied back to the server.

Steps taken:
1. Ensured the My Documents is redirected using Server Management | Users | Configure My Doc. Redirection | Redirect All My Doc default shared folders on SBS
1a. The default folder has been moved as per instructions and permissions set correctly.
2. Checked GPO under Advanced Management | GPM | Domains | <domain name> | SBS Folder Redir. and the Path allocated is correct (\\<servername>\Users\%USERNAME%\My Documents)
3. When the account was created, an empty folder was created  \\<servername>\Users\<username> and I note that the <username> has been given full permissions on this folder
4. Logged into a workstation, that has already been joined to the domain and login worked (albeit it took a long time to Apply Settings, perhaps due to (7) below.
5. Created a few files in My Documents
6. Logged out - but the  \\<servername>\Users\<username> remains empty on the server.
7. Checking the event log on the workstation shows a number of errors, but one that seems relevent is ID 1053, "Windows cannot determine the user or computer name (The specified domain either does not exist or could not be contacted).  Group Policy processing aborted"
8. Clearly the domain could be contacted, else the new user account would not have been allowed to login to the workstation, but it looks like its given up on the GPO and perhaps this is why the My Docs folder has not been updated on the server.

I wonder if the workstation is at fault here or there is a network issue (pinging the <servername> works).

I don't know if this is relevent, but the workstation(s) used to be attached to another SBS (on another network entirely).  Just to confirm, there is only one server (i.e. SBS) on this network with a bunch of workstations.

Any further ideas would be gratefully received.


sheepfarmerAuthor Commented:
Sorted it.

The 1053 was genuine.
For the record in case of interest:
1. The DHCP server on this network is the ADSL router (rather than SBS DHCP which was turned off)
2. The workstation DNS was that the ADSL router had assigned, was an address on the other side of the firewall (i.e. the ISP DNS server).
3. Therefore, the local SBS server name of <servername.local> could not be resolved, hence the error.
4. Adding the SBS as the primary DNS and ISP DNS as secondary solved the problem in that 1053 did not occur and the group policy regarding My Documents was correctly applied to the workstation.

The workstation is now saving My Documents contents to the server, as required.

This has been quite a learning curve.  Many thanks Jeff for your help in getting me thinking in the right direction.

Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Well, it may have sorted that particular problem, but you should NOT have external DNS IP's on your workstations.  DHCP should be running from the server, not your router.  Because of other network services, you want your workstations to ONLY resolve to the server and then the server should have the external IP's in the DNS Forwarders.  This would happen automaticallly via the Configure Email and Internet  Connection Wizard (CEICW).

You need to ensure that you also have WINS pointing to the SBS, which, again would be handled by having the SBS provide DHCP.

Not following this practice will cause other issues with Companyweb, Email, Shared Fax, etc.

Please see for more information.

sheepfarmerAuthor Commented:
You are quite right of course regarding the DNS.  As it happens we had a hardware problem with the router which forced the configuration of the DHCP service on the SBS box, including the WINS setting.

Where would you put the DNS forwarding to the ISPs DNS in SBS DNS setup?

As a consequence of the SBS server being part of the DNS chain, the companyweb now works :)

Thanks again for your follow up.
sheepfarmerAuthor Commented:
DNS Forwarding: Found it in your link - thanks

Verify the DNS server configuration. To do this, follow these steps:
a.       Click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click DNS.
b.       Click your server's name under DNS, and then right-click Properties.
c.       On the Interfaces tab, verify that the server's local area connection IP address is listed in the Listen On: IP Address table.
d.       Click the Forwarders tab.
e.       Under Selected domain's forwarder IP address list, type the DNS server addresses that were provided by your ISP.
f.       Click to clear the Do not use recursion for this domain check box.
g.       Click Apply, and then click OK.

Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Actually I wouldn't do it that way in this situation... you would run the CEICW and it will ask you for the ISP's DNS IP addresses.  It will then put them in the forwarders as well as ensure that EVERYTHING is configured properly.

sheepfarmerAuthor Commented:
OK, I'll give that a go - call me old fashioned, but I do like to know what these wizards are actually changing underneath.  Must be the Unix old man in me :)

Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
So, take a look at the logs they create... even though they are called "wizards" they are just overblown scripts.  Certainly you've run a few of those on Unix.  :-)  They just don't have a GUI.

The first page of the wizard summarizes what is about to be done.  Then,  the last page of the wizard you are provided a VERY DETAILED overview of the script's plan.  If you want to review this stuff later, just go look at any of the logs in "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Windows Small Business Server\Support" on the server.

But DON'T think that you can manually enter the over 500 command lines issued by the CEICW.  You have to remember that SBS is a unified server system that has a number of interdependencies.  Making changes to the configuration may require 6 or 7 other changes in order to keep things humming along and WORKING PRODUCTIVELY.  Take a look at to get the Old Man IT Professional perspective on this.

sheepfarmerAuthor Commented:
ROFL! Perhaps we should continue this in the Lounge :)
In fact, I was joking with the client today - "I guess I'll have to do it the M$ way"

Give me a /etc/passwd file any day... (but I take your point).

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