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SBS2003, redirect program files?

zboyblue
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Last Modified: 2011-10-03
I have just setup a roaming profile for one user on my SBS2003 network. I havent done too much playing with it yet but I did login from another PC and my outlook settings seemed to be there which is awesome.

One of the things I am trying to get done now is to get settings of other programs from the workstations onto the server. One example is Trillian. We want the profile folder to be on the server and roam with the user (And also just to be on the server so the files will be backed up). There are several programs like this were the data resides in program files.

Please let me know if you have any ideas of how to accomplish this.

Thanks!
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal Consultant
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Commented:
You don't need to set up roaming profiles for your Outlook to be configured automatically on an SBS-based network.

I'd suggest that you don't actually use full roaming profiles, and if you use the MyDocuments Folder Redirection (wizard run from the Server Management Console) and keep your Trillian Profiles in your My Documents Folder, then you'll have that travel with you quite easily.  Otherwise, I believe that Trillian's profile information is normally stored in the LOCAL SETTINGS which would not be included in a roaming profile.

Jeff
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal Consultant
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The other option is that when you set up Trillian, you designate the user's Home Directory for the location of the Trillian Profile Folder.  You would use the UNC path to \\SBSSERVER\Users\%Username%\Trillian (you might have to create that folder first)

Jeff
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Hi Jeff,

The reason I setup the roaming profile is so my outlook settings would travel. What is your objection to the roaming profile?

The problem with installing Trillian that way is that even if I get trillian working there will still be other software that I may not be able to install that way.

Let me know your thoughts.
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If you are using exchange then there is no need to use a roaming profile as all the is handled by exchnage. Redirecting My Documents to a network share is a good idea as users an then get at their documents from any workstation and you have them all in one place for easy backup - to do this see http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/cad7966e-c9b6-495f-b7bb-2a9673f69f4f1033.mspx?mfr=true

Roaming profiles can be useful in some situations but they do increase logon/off times. If you do use them then it is absolutly essential that you re-direct My documents otherwise this has to sync across the network as well. Also don't let users put stuff on the desktop as this must sunc as well
See http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/B41402C2-C982-4BFB-891E-91B47F211E181033.mspx
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal Consultant
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Your Outlook settings will travel no matter what in an SBS-based network.  When you join workstations to the domain using the http://<servername>/connectcomputer wizard the workstations are automatically set up to configure each user's Outlook profile whenever they log into the machine for the first time.

Coupled with MyDocuments Folder redirection, a user can log into any workstation on the network and have their documents, email, home folder share, and SharePoint Companyweb available to them without any additional configuration needed.

What other software do you have that requires a roaming profile?  Because there may be better ways to accomplish this.

If you do still want to use roaming profiles, then you should follow the section titled "Roaming Profiles" in this document:  http://sbsurl.com/postinstall

Jeff
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal Consultant
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KCTS... your link to "http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/cad7966e-c9b6-495f-b7bb-2a9673f69f4f1033.mspx?mfr=true" is really a disservice to those who have a Small Business Server because that GPO is configured automatically by running the Configure My Documents Redirection Wizard.  It really just complicates the issue for most people.


Jeff
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Hi again,

I do have My Documents redirected, I also have the desktop and now application data redirected as well. As for outlook moving on the network it does, but any settings you change are not there such as adding shared folders in the Exchange setup in the email accounts setup section. Also, favorite folders, and more. Setting up roaming profiles has resolved this so it seems. Like I said, I have only tested this on my one account. One thing I noticed was if I had outlook open on two machines and made changes on either the changes would be overwritten by whichever one was closed last. I just read something about making the folder not available offline but I dont see how that would change anything. I guess you just have to be careful with how you use it.

For the other software there is a "keyboard manager" that holds a few dozen clipboard snipets and are pasted with key combo's which we all use all the time. Not only would I like it to travel with the user but I would eventually like to auto install this software on all workstations. That, trillain, firefox, and maybe a few more than I cant think of.

Let me know what you think.
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Hey Jeff.

I do have all those folders redirected (Desktop, My Documents, Application Data). I may have not tested in the right order or may have overlooked something but it seems like things were smooth to the other workstation until I did the roaming profile.

The login was quick (maybe 5 seconds or so slower than usual) since all the folders were redirected.

It seemed like some of the things that appeared on the other workstation was the background and quick launch icons which is neat to have stay with you.

Based on this info do you have any further recommendations? I would like to have as much move with the user as possible, mostly to make moving to new workstations easier. I can look at moving trillian to the my docs folder but is there a way to do this in Active Directory? I would like to make it transparent to the user if possible.

Also, is there a way to actually cause the new workstation to use that data when opening? Again, the idea is to make moving to a new workstation easier.

As for the keyboard manager software it works anywhere in windows and we are used to using it. Its pretty simple and the folder with the profile is the only thing thats important to move with the user. Again, is there a way to redirect the folder in case I cant get it done from the software iteself?
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal Consultant
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Well, if you already have all those folders redirected, why enable roaming profiles at all?  

Quicklaunch is stored in the Application Data folder, so that'll travel since the folder is redirected.

Desktop background can be controlled via Group Policy.

As for Trillian... I would actually ask why you are using it.  It's a completely insecure application and really isn't a good idea to have installed on your network anyhow.  Since you now have a domain that you are trying to manage correctly and SECURELY, keeping applications like Trillian off your workstations is a Best Practice.  Depending on which IM services you use, there are a number of alternatives that are designed much better and more importantly are designed to work in a managed environment.  

If you only use Yahoo and MSN IM Servers, then you can use Windows Live Messenger.  If you also need access to AIM, ICQ and/or IRC as well as an internal Jabber server, then you should use OpenFire with their IM Gateway Plugin (http://www.igniterealtime.org/projects/openfire/) and running Spark as the IM client.

For Keyboard Manager, I took a look at their site, and it seems that you need to be running the Network Version in order to store the config file centrally: http://www.polyphonysoftware.com/products/keybdmgr/kbmgrver.htm
(this also allows users to share keyboard macros).

Jeff
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Commented:
You are unbelievable man! What DONT you know?  :-D

I had no idea they had a network version but that is awesome, we actually would love to share key combos in some situations also. I will check that out and see how it works and probably install that one.

As for trillian I have been wanting to do something on the server for a few reasons including logging .. but have not had time and didnt know what to look at using. I went to the site of this Jive Software thing and am a little overwhelmed by the info they give. I am not even sure what all it does but it seems like its a lot more than simple messaging. I dont want to get something installed that is too complicated to manage, I have too little time as it is. : )  I will try to spend more time looking at it soon but any final pointers on it?

What IS stored in the profile? If I am redirecting the folders and using roaming profiles what am I getting that I wouldnt get if I were not using roaming profiles? I don't mind not using the roaming profiles if you think its bad ... but I like the idea of the whole experience traveling with the user if possible.

One more question, you mentioned the Outlook Offline Mode and we currently do not use that. I am not sure why (maybe I wanted to keep everything completely on the server?) .. SHOULD we use that? What differences would it make in any area?

Craig
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal Consultant
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"What DONT you know?"    >>> perhaps you need to look at my personal domain's web page:  www.jeffreykane.com

By default, Trillian stores usernames, passwords and full-text logging of every instant message sent and received in C:\Program Files\Trillian\users\default.  Passwords are kept in one of the weakest hashes known...(I'm not a very skilled hacker, but I can figure out the passwords just by looking at the hashed entry) and sometimes even in plain text.  Personally, I don't let any networks I manage run it.  I mostly insist that they use www.meebo.com if they want a multi-platform IM client (if using Vista, or the Google Desktop, Meebo will create an easy to use desktop widget).

What IS stored in the profile?  Well, that's exactly the point.  We started down this path because by using roaming profiles you cannot use Outlook in Cached Exchange Mode, and by not being able to use that, Exchange's Intelligent Message Filter (SPAM Filter) won't work.  Additionally, the Junk Mail filters in Outlook don't work either.  So you are stuck with lots of unwanted SPAM.  So to answer your last question first, you do want to use Outlook in Cached Exchange Mode... plus it never hurts to have a cached copy of your mailbox on various workstations as an emergency backup should you need it.

What else is there?  Take a look at the table on this page:  http://www.microsoft.com/mspress/books/sampchap/5566e.aspx

You'll see that by using folder redirection you can cover just about everything.  The folders that would still have any noticable significance are as follows:

Cookies
Favorites
NetHood
PrintHood

Two of those don't matter on an SBS Network though (NetHood and PrintHood are configured by SBS automatically), so that leaves just Cookies and Favorites.  If you take my recommendation above to use the Windows Live Toolbar with Live Favorites enabled, then that'll take care of favorites.  Most people don't even like Cookies... (although I do because they save time and keep my settings... especially with ones for sites like Experts-Exchange that put all sorts of settings in the cookie).  But if they'll get rebuilt when you first log into a site from the new workstation, so it's really not a big deal in my opinion.

Jeff
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Commented:
Haha, I like that. : )

The meebo doesnt seem like it is a server based (or even PC based) solution. We need something that installs on the server and logs what people talk about.

How will cached exchange mode effect performance in general for good or bad? Right now we get a lot of "Outlook is waiting on Exchange" messages throughout the day. A place we have been using for server maintenance has been trying to talk us into a new server which I think is an upsell. I want some redundancy but I think our problems may not be as bad as they make them out to be.

For the toolbar didnt you say it would only work that way with Vista? We all have XP Pro. Also, we all use firefox.

Is there anything majorly wrong with using roaming profiles? It seems like it makes things easier from a dummie standpoint to not have to worry about the favorites, etc. (Although with Firefox I think we do anyway because they are stored in program files I think?)

Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks for all your help so far.
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal Consultant
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If you need to log conversations then you need to use OpenFire and Spark.  They work great.  

"For the toolbar didnt you say it would only work that way with Vista? We all have XP Pro."
Where did I say that?  Heaven's no, it works just fine with XP Pro  AND Internet Explorer.

"Also, we all use firefox"
Why?  You cannot manage Firefox unless ou install a complete GPO schema to do so and manually create the policies.  Also, FireFox doesn't run ActiveX scripts which are used in some important Windows features like Windows update.

If you like all of the add-ons for Firefox then you should try the browser that I use, Maxthon (I think I recommended this to you months ago)  www.maxthon.com  
It runs on IE's engine so all IE policies would apply.  Furthermore, it blows Firefox away in performance.  Once you try Maxthon's "Super Drag & Drop" feature, you'll never use anything else.  There's a demo of how Super Drag & Drop works in another browser (IE7Pro) http://ie7pro.blogspot.com/2007/05/ie7pro-super-drag-drop-demo.html, but I wouldn't use that browser because it's much less mature than Maxthon's latest version 2.0.

"Is there anything majorly wrong with using roaming profiles?"

Yes, this is why I've kept after you for this long to not use them.  Read my remarks above AGAIN to see why.  Or, if you still can't see the bigger picture... understand this:

Roaming profiles stop you from using Outlook in Cached Exchange Mode

Not using Cached Exchange Mode will cause you to have a LOT OF SPAM because Exchange's SPAM fighting tools require Cached mode to work properly.

Jeff
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