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15 users sharing 1 profile causes delays and errors when logging in. Is a mandatory profile the answer?

Posted on 2006-11-29
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Greetings to all, I have 15 PCs who all login using the same profile. I have just rebuilt all of these PCs with a new image on new drives. Everything is working well except: If you login all of the PCs in a rapid sequence, some will not load the profile, and will give the generic message that the roaming profile cannot be found. Upon reboot they will work. As a test, I logged each one in and then waited 60 seconds to login the next and so on. When I do this, they all login perfectly everytime. So, I am assuming that all 15 of them asking the server for the same profile all at the same time is causing the error in loading the profiles. (This is random and not machine specific.) My question is twofold. First, is there any way to avoid this problem that someone may have allready used? Second, I was wondering if a "mandatory" profile would load any better. These PCs are pretty much locked down. The only thing these students access is a folder on the desktop that has shortcuts to educational type games. There are between 5 and 15 students using this profile before school, and again after school. They do not save anything in this profile. There are other profiles on the machines for older students that do save info.
   The enviroment: W2K Server, dual 900 Mhz cpu's, 512 Ram, 4 SCSI drives, 18% free space, roaming profiles. This server is 6 years old.
Desktops: XP Pro sp2, 2.0 Ghz cpu, 256 ram, new 80GB 7200 rpm 8mb cache drives. Desktops have Panda AV installed which loads very slowly. (normal)
   I have not had the chance to see if the other 2 profiles on these machines exibit the same behavior. Creating 15 different profiles is not an option. These PCs are used as "entertainment" for the younger students while waiting for school to start in the am, or their parents to pick them up in the pm. I am trying to avoid the
"fix by delaying the login" that we are using right now. Thanks in advance for your help and ideas!        
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Question by:gpfrank
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Expert Comment

by:SysExpert
ID: 18041241
XP with only 256 MB is going to be slow anyway. I would first bump it to 512 MB.

Other than that, You should consider setting up a few more identical profiles so that they are not all being accesed at once.

I hope this helps !
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Assisted Solution

by:mikeleebrla
mikeleebrla earned 100 total points
ID: 18045763
>>First, is there any way to avoid this problem that someone may have allready used?
Yes, have them use their own profiles.  Windows was not designed to have multiple users accessing the same roaming profile at the same time (as you are finding out)

>>Second, I was wondering if a "mandatory" profile would load any better
no, the login process is the same for a manditory profile.... the only difference is that changes made during the session are not saved.

i guess the biggest question i have is why are you using roaming profiles in the first place?  Roaming profiles are for ONE user who uses many computers, which is NOT the situation you have.



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by:SysExpert
SysExpert earned 100 total points
ID: 18045979
I agree, in your situation you should probably have 15 madatory profiles. You should create one and then I think that you can copy/ clone the rest.
This seems correct for a situation in aclass setting where you want to start from scratch each time and not save any settings. If not 15 then at least 3 or 4.

I hope this helps !
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Author Comment

by:gpfrank
ID: 18050880
OK, you guys need to be aware of the difference between a school and a business. It is not feasible for a pre school teacher to have 15 different logins to go through every time she wants the students to have a computer to use.
This is not a business that needs to have separate user accounts for security. The teachers and the older classes HAVE individual logins. These are 10 year olds that just need to be babysat by a computer. (sorry, but I need to clarify)
   There are 3 different accounts on these PCs. PreK, for really little kids, BCAC (before and after care) and Mcenter which is for the older ones. Mcenter creates documents, 3D animations, etc. So Mcenter HAS to have a roaming profile
with folder redirection. The reason for this is that the documents folder is gigantic. Therefore I used redirection so that the huge my docs does not have to load over the Network at each login.
   The problem is with the BCAC profile. It is possible that they will create and save info later. So I made the profile a roaming one. I may have to use redirection later if it gets large.
   I realize that Windows was not designed to have 15 people use the same profile. However, every lower grade
classroom in the school uses the "shared room profile" and they do not have this problem. Now, there are only 6 or 7 PCs in each one of those rooms that share the "room" profile. I am just wondering why this room has this issue. Is it the profile, the # of computers sharing the profile, or what?
   Is it possible to create multiples of the BCAC profile in order to spread out the load? I will test that on my test W2K
Server box tomorrow.
   I am trying to NOT create separate accounts for each of these PCs as this will be a burden for the before care
teacher. (spell that, computer brain dead) Even though I know that this would make the problem disappear.
   C'mon guys, I know you got more. Lay it on me. LOL....Install Linux? How about a quad CPU server? I am all ears.
   BTW, the grade levels are Pre K through 8th. The teacher logs in the PCs, not the students. We have a problem with the older students logging into these PCs and playing pranks, so we do not allow anyone to login. yes, they are pretty much locked down. But you can't lock them completely or they become unusable for the students. (sigh)  Cl*ster F***
   I hope this helps to clarify. (now let's see, if I use liquid nitrogen to cool the server cpu's, I can overclock it so it can load the profiles faster) Hmmmm, I like that......LOL    Hello, NASA?
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Accepted Solution

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saw830 earned 300 total points
ID: 18082427
Hi,

Having worked in a school network environment, as a contractor, I do understand what you are saying.  Regardless of whether it fixes the slow login issue, it needs to be manditory, not roaming.  If it's roaming, the last one to log out is the profile that gets written to the server for the next time it loads.  A mandatory profile loads just like a roaming profile does, but the workstation knows not to try to save it back to the server on logout.  Be aware that if you do this, and someone saves a file to the desktop, the file will be lost when the user logs out.  Due to this, I'd redirect the My Documents to a share somewhere and try to educate the users (teachers) about trying to save files on the desktop or anywhere else in the profile, if you haven't already done this.

Have you checked the profile size?  There may be some large files there that need moving or deleting.

Hope this helps,
Alan
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Author Comment

by:gpfrank
ID: 18344187
900 mb of temp files. Apparantly the normal temp files X 16 loggins is causing this. Something else to monitor. Thanks all.      Glenn
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Expert Comment

by:saw830
ID: 18344224
The mandatory profiles should prevent this from coming back, a good thing.

Come to think of it, the madatory profiles will also prevent other things from coming back, like favorites and shortcuts, maybe not such a good thing.  From a broad view, I see it as a good thing, but in some cases the teachers may want to add specific shortcuts or favorites.  You will probably have to help them add such things to the profile.

Alan
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