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Best user profile practice

Posted on 2008-10-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Greetings Experts,

We have a Windows 2003 domain, in which we use Roaming Profiles, and My Documents redirection.
When a user's laptop crashes, we wipe the machine, and it is back up and running within hours, with NO DATA LOSS.

However, this is causing problems for one of our users. She is out of the office 50% of the time doing presentations, and she gets annoying pop messages about "Roaming profile cannot be found", and "Cannot synchronize", and cannot connect to the domain.

She wants to make it a stand alone machine, and take it off the network. I don't see that as an option. I like being able to fully recover a crashed laptop within 2 hours or less without any data loss.

What options do we have. All suggestions are welcome!
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Question by:pzozulka
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10 Comments
 
LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Paranormastic
ID: 22734147
Log in over VPN.  This way she would actually be logging into the domain.  Get a VPN client that is logon enabled (ie. you connect to the VPN from the logon screen and it will authenticate you to windows either during or after getting onto the VPN).  Same could go for dialup, but its dialup so that's not as exciting as it used to be.

Beyond that, not thinking of anything great for all of your requirements.  Anything else would elude to having local data and even if you got her a decent sized usb drive she would still not be forced to use it for backup.

Briefcase would synch when back on the network, when it actually works right - another bad implementation of a good idea, but still not perfect.
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Expert Comment

by:exx1976
ID: 22734170
Citrix!  :-)
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Accepted Solution

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Americom earned 2000 total points
ID: 22734235
You can try offline file feature for the My Documents and keep that away from the roaming profile. If she often travel to site without good connection to your domain, then the offline file would be the way to do. I have about 6GB of files that I need all the time regardless I'm on the network or not. I ususally let it synchronize when I log off and knowing that I'm actually connected to the network where the fileserver is local to the subnet. If there's no change made, synchronize will take less than a minute pretty much the same with some file changed. Roaming profile may not needed for her as she frequently goes from site to site. Keeping things local would make her happy as long as she doesn't keep anything important on her desktop which will be a part of her profile. If she ever lost her laptop. You have a copy of her data on the network. All you need to do is UNC to her data then make offline, she will have her data again.
You can still use My Documents Redirection. But just that whatever the UNC path is, you can just make offline to have a copy on her laptop so that in the event she does not have access to the network, she would not know the different when access it from the laptop.
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Expert Comment

by:Americom
ID: 22734289
We also have user run their workstation from a Terminal server as well. As long as the user can connect to the network, yes, that may not be an bad idea....
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Author Comment

by:pzozulka
ID: 22734532
Unfortunately, most of the time at her off-site presentations there is not internet connection. So a VPN or Terminal Server are not options for us.

exx1976: I only heard of CITRIX before, but don't quite know what it is. I will definetly look into it, but I think its just another flavor of Term Serv, so if that is the case, it will not work for us.

Americom: I'm not fully sure I understand your suggestion. Are you suggesting to make her a local profile with only MyDocuments Redirection? That sounds like a good idea. Did I understant you correctly? What did you mean by make the MyDocuments folder OFFLINE?
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Expert Comment

by:Americom
ID: 22734569
Yes, and the folder redirection can also be configured as offline file so that she will have a copy on her laptop at all time.
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Author Comment

by:pzozulka
ID: 22734585
Will offline files still synchronize?
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Expert Comment

by:Americom
ID: 22734604
MY Document redirection is usually on \\servername\sharename\etc..., right-click on this folder and make offline will create a copy on her laptop. Read a bit on offline file features before doing so or post any question here. You may want to make a folder or shortcut on her desktop so that each time she dig into the folder it points to the network when connected. Otherwise, still points to a network like but physically and locally on her laptop.
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Expert Comment

by:Americom
ID: 22734615
yes, it will synchronize. logon or logoff or manual or just logoff and can be cancelled anytime.
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Author Closing Comment

by:pzozulka
ID: 31506858
We might choose another route as well. We might keep her roaming profile as is and not make any changes at all. Instead, we might simply add another local profile to her machine called "Presentor". She would login to this account to only do presentations. Once she is done, she would log back in to her normal profile.
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