Redirect user's desktop folder to a single, shared desktop folder

Experts, in an attempt to standardize our working environment, I am going to begin redirecting the user's desktop folder to a folder on a file server.  Originally I was going to create a folder for each user but for 200+ users, that will be time consuming and tedious.  So I am going to create department folders and put a single "desktop" folder under each department folder, then redirect the user's desktop folder to their department's desktop folder.  The question is, what problems could I run into doing this?  Can 20 people in one department have their desktop redirected to the same desktop folder?  I started the testing using virtual computers but wanted some insight before I got too far down the road.  

To get the points, I need you to offer a technical opinion based on A) experience or B) a technical document.  I appreciate your help on this.
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samiam41Asked:
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Jon WinterburnConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Yes:
1. Create the parent folder on your server that will house the profile folders (i.e. \\fileserver1\profiles - change fileserver1 for the name of the server that will house their profiles) and set Everyone permissions (or Domain Users with full access).

2. Open AD Users and Computers.
3. Select the OU.
4. Select all users in the OU you want affected by this change.
5. Right click on them once all selected and select Properties
6. Go to Profile and tick Profile Path
7. Set the path to the user's profiles as such: \\fileserver1\profiles\%username% (obviously replace \\fileserver1\profiles with your servername\profilefolderpath but leave %username% as it is as this variable tells Windows to autofill this with the username of the user; this will work for each user)
8. Click Apply and OK.

Now the user's folders will all be automatically created, along with the correct permissions. Once they have logged off as they currently are, and on again, configured their profiles as they desire, and then logged off again, their profiles will be saved on the the server under their own folders.

If you want help in getting User Profile Hive Cleanup Service installed on all PCs in one foul swoop, let me know :)
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Jon WinterburnCommented:
20 people sharing the same desktop is going to be a nightmare, as they'll all be changing it and users will be complaining about stuff missing, etc. The only two options I see is this:

1. The best solution - roaming profiles. Yes, you have a ton of users but you can easily script folder creation for their profiles (which will include their desktops) so that each one has their own desktop and profile which resides on any machine they log on to, but which is updated on the server at each logoff. Much easier to manage and more user-friendly.

2. Have all users share the same desktop folder (as you mention), but create this as read-only rights for the users so they cannot change it.

Personally, I'd go with roaming profiles.
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samiam41Author Commented:
Jonathen-  Great post.  Thanks for the information.  I failed to mention that the folders will be read-only as the new administration wants nothing saved on the desktops.  I was glad to see you mention #2.  We tried using roaming profiles before (NT4 domain) but not in the AD domain.  Is there a lot that has changed with the AD roaming profiles?
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samiam41Author Commented:
We ran into issues with slow logins and the network came to a crawl in the mornings and right around closing time.  
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Jon WinterburnCommented:
One other option I've thought of. In our environment, most people have their own profiles which are then restricted to follow department guidelines using GPOs, but the call centre staff do not have a unique profile. They all log on with the same user profile (which is also a roaming profile), but their profile is a "mandatory" profile so that none of them can change the desktop or anything - all changes they make are lost at logoff and their desktop etc are returned to the original. You can then manage their desktop centrally in the server. All you need do is create the profile and customise it and then rename NTUSER.DAT to NTUSER.MAN.
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Jon WinterburnCommented:
My experience of roaming profiles under NT4 was horrible; they were always breaking. I manage a network with 200 static users and 2500 mobile users and the all use roaming profiles and I rarely have problems.

Installing User Profile Hive Cleanup Service on all PCs (easily done via GPO as managed software) takes care of the profile unloading issues that used to occur in Win2k and Win2k3.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=1B286E6D-8912-4E18-B570-42470E2F3582&displaylang=en
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samiam41Author Commented:
Wow....  Talk about an eye-opening discussion.  I was unaware of how much had changed with MS Roaming Profiles from NT4 to W2K3 AD.  This warrants a second, more in-depth look.  Gives me something to do for the evening.  I will post back tomorrow if I have additional questions, otherwise I will award points if no one else has added their thoughts.  Thanks again for the info and help!
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samiam41Author Commented:
I just thought of one more.  You mentioned that it would be easy to create the folders for the users, could you provide the information on that?
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samiam41Author Commented:
Great work!  I am rolling with your idea.  Wish I could add you as a "preferred" expert.

-Aaron
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