Moving roaming profiles

Hi guys,

We have been using roaming profiles for some time, and i'd like to get away from them since they are older technology. What do you recommend in its place?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
At our clients, we generally allow people to log into a different computer with their own profile. This takes a bit of time for the new profile to load but not enormous. This beats roaming profiles in my opinion.
Cobra25Author Commented:
And if they use if a different pc, then they would not see their data..
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
If you are on a domain and log in, then they will see their data on the server. We do not use redirected documents - we use server folders. That way people can log in wherever (without a roaming profile) and get what they need.

If you are using redirected documents, then you must use roaming profiles.

Ask people to move the data in "My Documents" to the server.
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Cobra25Author Commented:
Why not just use Folder Re-Direction?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Folder redirection goes to the user's folder on the server.

Try logging onto a different PC and see if the user's folder comes up. If it does, you can use it. Users would have to sync back changes to their own computer.
Cobra25Author Commented:
I know that.

I think folder re-direction is what i' d go with then, i want to make it easy for users.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
A roaming profile copies and saves the profile to/from the users machine on logon / logoff which depending upon the size of the profile can cause logon and logoff delays.
Redirected Folders carves out the users folders from the profile and instead of copying/saving them on logon/logoff the files stay on the server. Since these user files (documents/video/music/downloads etc) are usually a significant part of the user profile the copy/save time is reduced when using redirected folders.

You can use folder redirection without roaming profiles contrary to a previous comment

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Spike99On-Site IT TechnicianCommented:
I agree with David Johnson. You can use folder redirection without roaming profiles. But, if you use roaming profiles, I believe using folder redirection is recommended.

That way, when a user logs on to another server or PC, their redirected files (favorites, documents, etc.) stay on the server, only settings are copied from the central roaming profile to their local profile folder.

In a previous job, we used roaming profiles on Server 2003 terminal servers in conjunction with folder redirection. We used a custom ADM template to redirect almost everything:  appdata, cookies, favorites, music, desktop, start menu, programs menu and documents.  Personal folders like appdata, cookies, favorites, music and documents were redirected to the user's H: drive.   So we could control the icons that users saw and programs they could launch, we redirected the desktop, start menu and programs menu to another location used by all users.  We also set the default location for PST files to their H: drive.

That kept the roaming portion of the profile relatively small since most user data was elsewhere stored on the network.

We had less success using roaming profiles with Server 2008, so we moved away from that method a few years later, but we still redirected the user's personal folders (faves, docs, etc.).
Cobra25Author Commented:
I was thinking Folder Redirection myself...or i could go with a Home Drive for each user.

As far as testing would go, i would make a new OU and move that user there, remove their roaming profile path and then test the Folder Redirection GpO.
Cobra25Author Commented:
Anyone have an answer on what happens when i remove the "roaming profile" path from AD? Does it copy it back to the local machine?
Luis MouraCommented:
No is not copy back.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
you have to tell it to use the local path. And no it doesn't copy it back.. it will use the data already present in the local profile on the disk if it exists.  Folder redirection has a handy switch that when the gpo goes out of scope that it will copy back to the original location from the network if enabled.
Cobra25Author Commented:
How do i tell it to use the local path?
Luis MouraCommented:
Cobra25Author Commented:
I know that Luis, if i remove that path, what happens?
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
then it uses the local path by default.
Cobra25Author Commented:
So then what happens to their files when you remove the path?
Spike99On-Site IT TechnicianCommented:
Nothing happens to their files.  The profile path reverts to the default and the files will sit where they were.    The local profile will revert from a "roaming" type to a "local" one when you view the list of profiles on the server (System properties > Advanced tab > User Profiles).

If you need to copy files over (like Office docs, PST files, favorites, etc.), you'd have to move them manually to the new location for their files.  If this involves a large number of users, you could use a file copying tool like RoboCopy to copy the files to their new location.
Cobra25Author Commented:

So there files still sit on the server (which is where the roaming profiles point to right now)?
Cobra25Author Commented:
does anyone know what happens to the files when i remove the roaming profile path from AD?
Spike99On-Site IT TechnicianCommented:
Yes, their files will just sit there unless you do something with them.

A lot of the profile consists of files and folders they might not need in the AppData folder (like temp files, configuration files, etc.). But, if there are personal files like PST or signature files for Outlook, Excel , Word and other Office files, internet favorites, etc.: those will need to be copied over to a folder where the user can access them.
Cobra25Author Commented:
Got it, thanks Alicia!
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