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Profile path and Home Folder for users

Posted on 2014-11-10
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Last Modified: 2014-12-30
We are completing a migration from an SBS 2003 environment with mixed XP and 7 computers, over to Windows Server 2012 R2.

Our environment was a bit messy, and in the past many users had a Home Folder configured in Active Directory (Under the user's properties in Active Directory, under Account->Home Folder, it was set to map the "I:\" drive to a share on the SBS 2003 server). Some users had folder redirection, and so the home folder data would appear in the My Documents folder. Other users did not and it showed up as a separate mapped network drive, I:\. As you can imagine, people's documents were *all over the place* and it was quite confusing.

We've transitioned the environment and cleaned everything up, and now it is set up as follows:

All workstations are running a deployed image of Windows 7 Pro
All users have folder redirection turned on.
All folders redirected to our fileserver (\\companyfileserver\usershares\%username%). Permissions are correct. The data has already been migrated. Documents, Music, Videos, AppData, Favourites, Desktop etc. are all redirected.

Some of the users still have their old "Home Folder" configured, pointing at the share on the SBS 2003 server. These users do not have any important documents in there anymore, but they see it as the I:\ drive.

Additionally, the user's %userprofile% environment variable on the computers still points to C:\Users\%username%. This folder is usually mostly empty on the local computer. Sometimes this is annoying because some group policies and scripts assume that the "Documents" or "Desktop" or "Appdata" folders can be reached as a subfolder under the %userprofile%, folder e.g. "%userprofile%\Documents". These scripts have a bad time.

So here's what I'm wondering:

- Should I configure the "Profile Path", or "Home Folder" for the users to point to the user's share on the new fileserver? Both? Neither?

What are the ramifications of changing the Home Folder or Profile Path?

- Should I just remove the home folder specification from the user settings in active directory?
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Question by:Frosty555
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Coralon earned 500 total points
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Generally, you want both.

Typically, you'll assign the home directories and folder redirection by group policy.  Depending on your structure, you may want to redirect into the home directory by UNC underneath.  For example:  assign your home directory consistently (like i:\) and have it map to \\server\share\%username%. Then have your folder redirection go to \\server\share\%username%\<subdirectory>.  The folder redirection policies will create subdirectories inside the home directory.  I would *not* redirect AppData, since many applications have issues with AppData directions.

Your scripts can typically be fairly easily adjusted to pull the correct value out of the registry (hkcu\software\microsoft\windows\currentversion\explorer\user shell folders).

That's usually a pretty good start. The MS group policies will pull the correct location out of the registry to evaluate.  

Coralon
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by:Frosty555
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Hi Coralon,

We've been using redirected AppData for a while (just the roaming appdata), seems to be working okay with most programs, although I agree some software has difficulty with it and we have to manually exclude those folders through group policy.

In any case though, so you'd recommend that I specify the Home directory be mapped to the new location where we redirected all the folders, e.g. map I:\ to be "\\companyfileserver\usershares\%username%" ?

Should I set the profile path to the same thing as well? Or leave that blank?
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by:Frosty555
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Some questions left unanswered
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by:Coralon
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Sorry, I had missed the followup.

In general, yes, I put the home directories on a file share by policy, and then I redirect folders into their home directories.  It reduces your need for more shares etc.  But, in a very large scale environment, that may not be practical.

Coralon
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