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When Do Roaming Profiles Sync? Can it be changed?

Posted on 2010-08-19
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Last Modified: 2013-11-05
Hello,

I have been searching all over trying to find out some definitive information on Roaming Profiles and when they sync with the server. Everything I read alludes to it being done at Log Off, but I havent seen official wording or documentation saying so. It seems that is the case on our network, when users log off it syncs properly. When users do a Restart or Shutdown though it doesn't sync the profile. Is this correct? Should it be syncing? If not, is there a way to make it through GPO or some other way?

Thank you.
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Question by:dllewis1
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Expert Comment

by:MichaelVH
ID: 33479331
Hi!

As far as I am aware it is indeed true that syncing happens at logoff, restarting or doing a shutdown includes performing a logoff as well. So - normally - you'd expect it to sync than as well. Are you sure there was no sync after restart or shutdown?

Michael
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Glen Knight earned 125 total points
ID: 33479334
The profile should sync at shutdown, logoff or restart.
If it doesn't then something is preventing it from happening.

If when you click Shutdown the computer actually restarts this indicates that the shutdown isn't successful because of the unloading of a service or driver that actually causes the machine to bluescreen but very quickly and then restart.
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Expert Comment

by:mshields83
ID: 33479515
you can choose when it syncs. You can tell it to sync on logon, logoff, or specific time intervals. To do this, you go to my computer, tools -> folder options, offline files, and alter when you would like it to sync. In general, you would want it to do this on both logon and logoff.
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Expert Comment

by:Glen Knight
ID: 33479575
This is for offline files and has nothing to do with roaming profiles.

When you login, you download your roaming profile, at this stage you are using it from the local computer and not the server.

When you have finished with it (logoff,restart,shutdown) then it is copied or synced back to the server.
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Expert Comment

by:sparky2156
ID: 33479622
A few questions/points here.

1. You say you are using roaming profiles - did you just set this through ADUC?

2. Are you using Folder Redirection in Group Policy to redirect the My Documents, My Desktop, Application Data to a separate directory to improve roaming profile performance?

3. Sync is done as per your computers settings. In Windows XP/Server 2003, You can control this by going to My Computer>Tools>Folder Options>Offline Files

4. All Depending upon your setup, what is actually syncing and what way it is synching could be very variable. however there is a standard practice for setting these up.

Let me know what you have and I can guide you on what to do next.
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Expert Comment

by:mshields83
ID: 33479833
Is it save to assume you mean using offline files as in syncing files from the server, and not syncing files to do with roaming profiles?

You will only need to sync files if you have either enabled folder redirection, or you have some other files on the server you need access to using offline files functionality.

If you are wanting to sync files that reside on the server, you can alter when the sync happens through My computer->tools->folder options-> offline files.

If you havent set up folder redirection, or dont want to sync some other files on a server, you do not need to worry abouy syncing at all.

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Author Comment

by:dllewis1
ID: 33484090
sparky2156:   A few questions/points here.

1. You say you are using roaming profiles - did you just set this through ADUC?

2.  Are you using Folder Redirection in Group Policy to redirect the My  Documents, My Desktop, Application Data to a separate directory to  improve roaming profile performance?

3. Sync is done as per your  computers settings. In Windows XP/Server 2003, You can control this by  going to My Computer>Tools>Folder Options>Offline Files

4.  All Depending upon your setup, what is actually syncing and what way it  is synching could be very variable. however there is a standard  practice for setting these up.

Let me know what you have and I can guide you on what to do next.                            

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.) From everything I have read on Roaming Profiles this is setup correctly. Share created on our file server, no encryption or compression. the share is hidden, permissions given to Everyone to access the share, Offline caching turned off(I understand this will cause a lot of problems if turned on.) So in short, its not like just turned it on and expected it to work, the settings are in place.

2.) We currently only Redirect the My Documents folder, but are considering the Desktop and Application Data folders to help decrease the logon times.

3.)Sounds like this does not apply since this has to do with Offline files and not Roaming Profiles.

4.) Everything appears to sync as it should when a Log Off is performed, its when its a Restart or Shut Down that it seems the folder doesnt sync properly. Deleted Files show up again on the desktop etc.
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 33484161
You are talking about 2 different things.

Redirecting of My Documents is very different from a roaming profile.  Which is it you are talking about?
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by:dllewis1
ID: 33484451
demazter:   You are talking about 2 different things.

Redirecting of My Documents is very different from a roaming profile.  Which is it you are talking about?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not sure what you are referring too exactly, but i was answering the questions asked by sparky2156. The problem is not with our My Documents folder. That works as it should. My questions are all based on Roaming Profiles. Trying to understand when the sync takes place, because it seems sometimes when we do just a Restart or Shutdown changes made to the profile, mainly large files that are deleted, do not sync with our server.

I have been doing some testing this morning with my profile and two different computers adding and removing text files to see if the change carries from one computer to another through the sync with the server, and it appears to be working. So either there is an inconsistency with larger files or the times it doesnt sync correctly the user is logged into two computers at the same time. Still diagnosing.

I ask on here because i couldnt find any whitepapers or docs that would specifically say how the sync works with Roaming Profiles and/or if there were more settings to controlling this operation. I was hoping the wealth of knowledge here someone might have that info.
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 33484548
what you are seeing is quite a common problem and I explained why it happens here: http:#33479334
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by:dllewis1
ID: 33484582
demazter:

What error do you see in the event logs when this is happening? I havent looked at it from the perspective that the computer is not actually restarting correctly, that its blue screening. I also havent seen much evidence on our computers of this happening either. But again I havent looked for that on every computer when it has occurred.
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 33484708
Try changing the recovery settings to prevent the auto restart after blue screen: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/helpandsupport/learnmore/russel_02may13.mspx

I good indicator is if you hit shutdown bit the computer actually restarts instead.
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Expert Comment

by:sparky2156
ID: 33484840
I will describe the roaming profile process to you and perhaps you can relate this more specifically to your issues.

When roaming profiles are implemented, they by default hold everything (as i am sure you know) so that includes desktop, my documents and application data as well a myriad of other folders which are part of the profile.

By Implementing Folder Redirection, you are pointing these files to a different location and therefore removing them from the profile themselves, hence speeding up the logon process.

Synchronisation tends to happen if the my documents or desktop is not stored locally, therefore whether you have redirected this with a GPO or are just storing it in the profile, it will by default want to synchronise the my documents, my desktop and a few others when you logon/logoff. This is actually controlled in a GPO (User Confiig>Policies>Admin Templates>System>Folder Redirection>Do not Automatically make redirected folders .....). There is also more GPos governing offline files here (User Confiig>Policies>Admin Templates>Network>Offline Files). note these are server 2008 paths.

By default, roaming profiles themselves are downloaded at logon process (and if a copy already exists locally, only the changes found in the network version are downloaded and overwritten ontop of the local version) and worked on locally until users logoff. At which point, changes are uploaded back to the server and therefore the server contians the most uptodate copy of your profile. It is important to note here that the downloading and uploading of your profile at logon and logoff isn't synchronisation and shouldn't be seen as an object being synched. Rather, this is referenced by the 'saving your settings' line on the ctrl + alt + del' window.

It is a subtle but very important difference.

As for why it doesn't sync at logoff when a restart is selected, I cant imagine why that would be. To be honoust, it is very common practice to disable offline files altogether by the method described earlier in this thread, since having data stored locally can be deemed a security risk.

I hope this helps.
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 34980687
I believe i answered this question in http:#33479334
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by:modus_operandi
ID: 35025187
Starting auto-close process to implement the recommendations of the participating Expert(s).
 
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