Roaming profiles maintaining copies of redirected My Documents and Desktop

Posted on 2008-11-03
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
We have recently upgraded some of our network machines (XP Pro SP3) so to help in the user migration to the new machines i enabled Roaming Profiles for out users. Previous to this we had My Documents and Desktop folder redirection working perfectly. However now it appears that local copies are being created of My Documents and Desktop every time a user logs on, these folders are also being copied to the users profile directory.

As well as this there are some weird sync issues, such as a user deleting a file locally, logging off and back on and the file magically reappearing. This also happens if they delete the file locally, and i remove the file from the users network share.

This doesn't seem to be a problem for all users on all machines, just a select few.

Very odd, not entirely sure what is going on.


Question by:gazzer1982
    LVL 18

    Assisted Solution

    by:Don S.
    This sounds like you are having a problem at log off which isn't letting go of the profile (or registry) and so isn't completing the copy of the profile back to the server.  If that happens, then the local profile will be more current than the server profile at next login time, or if the local profile is correputed (another side effect of not releasing properly) then the non fully updated profile from the server will be used.

    the way folder redirection works is to cache updated items on the local system and then sync them back to the redirected location at log off.  If the log off process does not complete, the redirected folder caches will still be there.

    There are several things that can be holding on to the profile at log off time.  One known culprit is versions 10.1.0 - 10.1.6 of symantec anti-virus corporate.  This was fixed in 10.1.7

    Author Comment

    Thanks for your speedy response,i think i understand what you are saying. The thing is the logoff sync seems to complete without any issues, would i see an error there if the folders is not syncing properly.

    We do have symantec endpoint protection, but we are running version 11.0.201

    Also we never saw this behavior before roaming profiles became enabled.

    Though i think the problem with files not deleting properly is most likely a side effect of the my documents and desktop being synced to multiple places (seems the local, redirected and roaming versions are all being synced to each other.

    Some further information, the roaming profile and folder redirection paths where initally setup as the same, //pc08-server/users/profilename, however i read that this could cause issues, so we changed the roaming profile to be at //pc08-server/profile$/profilename, this however has not helped.

    The folder redirection id being done via a GPO with the roaming profiles being enabled by adding a path to the user profile in AD UaC.


    LVL 18

    Accepted Solution

    You won't neccissarily see an error message is the profile isn't released - someitimes a message in the logs under the USERENV heading complaining about saving the profile with the registry open.  Roaming profiles are pretty sensitive about having the registry released at log off.  Local profiles are not so sensitive.  So, you may have been having the issue all along but just not having it affect things all that much.  And, in my experience, this issue is often very sporadic - which makes it a B$%^ to permanently resolve.

    I don't know of this specific problem with SEP 11 mr2, but with all the other chalanges SEP has, I wouldn't discount that as being a possible issue.

    I was going to ask if the redirected folders were in the roaming profiles on the server - you answered that one.  There could be some confusion left over from switching out of that arrangement.  I would completely clear off the user's profile from their computer after they successfully log off so that only one copy of the profile remains (the one on the server) and see if the problem reoccurs for the user/PC over the succeeding several days.

    You have executed the combination of folder redirection and roaming prfiles correctly from your description of how you have done it.

    Author Comment

    I managed to solve this problem by ensuring that the roaming profiles path and the redirected documents path where not the same!!

    previously i had them both pointed to "\\Server\Users\" this is what was causing the issues, by changing it to be.

    Redirected folders = \\Server\Users\
    Roaming Profiles = \\Server\$Profiles\

    It sorted all the issues, though i had to manually backup everyone's documents and settings, disable roaming profiles and folder redirection so the reverted back to being local copies, setup all the new folders and policies and enable both options, after a rather lengthy logon/logoff all was up and running and populated to the right folders. You can then manually remove the users profile from the computer as it will be locally cached to a different folder.

    Hope that helps someone else, what a pain in the ass!!

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