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Roaming Profiles Questions

Posted on 2007-03-29
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Last Modified: 2007-12-19
We have an office with many employees and would like to setup Roaming Profiles to backup data to the central server. All of our clients are running XP Pro.

I have some users that are listed type as "Roaming" and status "Roaming". I have some that are listed as type "Roaming" and status "Local", and others saying type "Local" and status "Local". We need help setting up these roamingprofiles issue. I have found various conflicting methods of doing this here and am looking for a definitive answer from an expert in this field.

What I have done so far:
1) On SBS 2003 server in AD I set everyones profile path Ito: \\servername\users\usersname\profiles\
2) Log into Domain with users account.
3) Check User Profiles in System Properties

What am I missing or how do I ensure users are working with Roaming Profiles?
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Question by:x3o
7 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18820523
I strongly advise you AGAINST using Roaming profiles.  There are many possible issues that could cause you more headaches.

Instead, use Folder Redirection to redirect the Desktop, My Documents, and other folders to a server share.
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Expert Comment

by:Olaf De Ceuster
ID: 18821077
As Leew said: They are a p.. in a... Redirect is better.
But if you insist: There is a section on Roaming in this article. Make sure you exclude desktp, applications and Documents from the profile using the GPO (And than what's the point in having them I ask?)
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/solutionaccelerators/smbiz/sitsol/SBServcs_15.mspx?mfr=true
Good luck,
Olaf
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Expert Comment

by:itsireland
ID: 18822395
Yes, some issues with application installations may occur especially with older software. However, in my experience most newer software does handle roaming profiles fine with some exceptions.

Just test it first. Just install the computer like you want it. Have one user run nearly all applications. Do a restart and run all the applications with the same user again. Then log on as the other user and try these applications.

Errors are in my experience most often to do with registry entries linking user-specific settings to a location in another user's folder to which the current user has no access. Usually removing this interfering key from the registry fixes all but again, it needs testing.

Setting up the roaming profiles path in the user is enough to set up the profiles as roaming with the requirement that you have set the correct permissions on the folder share where you keep the roaming profiles. Any error there and users will get errors.

 If you let people with local profiles log off and back on on their own machines you should see their profile appearing on the server. I have actually never lost any data using roaming profiles. Problems do occur with duplicate copies of files when people log on to 2 machines at once.

As far as I know roaming profiles will not be downloaded over a slow link and folder redirects probably are but I'm not 100% certain about this.

Hope this helps.
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by:itsireland
ID: 18822410
I must admit just having a read through that article by alafdc: that's rediculous! What's the point in roaming profiles if you don't get the documents and desktop of the user?!?

 In my opinion the main reason you do roaming profiles is that you can back up users data regardless whether they should be storing it on a server or not: protect them from themselves. Second is the easier transfer to a new computer because settings are transfered automatically.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18823333
itsireland,

I'm not suggesting there is any problem whatsoever with software.  The problems come from:
1.  Full hard disks (corrupt the roaming profile which then prevents printing and numerous other things).
2.  SLOW logins (when a user has lots of files on the desktop or in another location of the profile, especially MANY little files OR few very large files like ISO images).
3.  Lost data if multiple logins/computers are used - even once.
4.  Redirection of start menu items that may not actually be on another computer (which in turn can generate error messages and result in more helpdesk calls).

Document redirection is a far better solution.  And testing won't help much - it will work great for a couple of months... until user X loses his or her data... or people start complaining "why is it taking me 15 minutes to login and logout?"
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itsireland earned 500 total points
ID: 18835344
Does document redirection also work with several sites where users have different profiles at each site? Can you redirect per site?

Any link to an article about this? Seems I must look into this. Interesting!

The multiple login is definately a problem, but I have actually never had any reports of data loss for any of the 100 users. We did get some duplicates or continuously reappearing files.

Thanks,
Rogier.
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Author Comment

by:x3o
ID: 18839028
So if folder redirection is the better method of ensuring data is backed up on a server for users data then what is the proper procedure to setup this up. I need directions for both the server and the 20 clients.
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