User Profile Disk (UPD) or Use An Alternative?

rmessing171
rmessing171 used Ask the Experts™
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We are trying to rollout User Profile Disk, but we are experiencing issues.  We have researched and read a number of posts that Server 2012/2016 User Profile Disk (UPD) can corrupt user profiles and many others have mentioned to not use it.  Our goal is to have users logon to any Windows 10 desktop (that is joined to the domain) and they receive their Windows profile.

Please share your thoughts and personal experiences with User Profile Disk, most important if you are successfully utilzing it the way we are seeking.  If you are using an alternative, please feel free to share that as well.

Thank you for your assistance, thoughts and suggestions.
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Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Your best bet for Win10 is user environment virtualization (UE-V) of simple folder redirection isn't good enough for you.

UPDs are good for remote desktop pools (session or VDI) and doesn't corrupt profiles when rolled out properly because the connection broker will always redirect back to an existing session whe  one exists so you don't have simultaneous use corruption.

But that isn't the use case you describe and is therefore outside of the design that UPD was trying to solve.
rmessing171Consultant

Author

Commented:
Just want to see if I am following you and what I have read online.  UPD is designed for VDI and remote sessions and not for Windows 10 desktops/laptops.  Correct?

Also, I think you are suggesting that I utilize Folder Redirection for the "roaming profiles" for my Windows 10 desktops/laptops?  Please share your thoughts.  Thank you for your quick assistance and suggestions!
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
UPDs are not supported at all for normal desktop or laptop use.

I am not suggesting that folder redirection be used for roaming profileszl, no.  I am saying that a majority of the time, people use roaming profiles to keep their documents and desktop folders in sync and don't *care* if other setting roam.

For example, I want Autocad to have a particular toolbar layout on my dual monitor desktop and want a different configuration on my laptop.  I don't want or need. That setting to "roam" at all.  And the few setting d that are the same (like email profiles) can just be set up twice.... Once in each machine, no big deal.

Folder redirection fills. That void better (itnsyncs documents and desktop) but doesn't bring the headaches that roaming profiles bring and a vast majority of users will find the experience "good enough."

Roaming profile settings is a very niche need.
Usually I recommend skipping it. But for those that truly need it, UE-V, as mentioned above, is the better choice.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage

Commented:
Not "Roaming Profiles". That's bad.

Folder Redirection is an excellent way to redirect key folders like Desktop, My Documents, and Links (Quick Access shortcuts). This is implemented through Group Policy.

User Profile Disks, or UPDs, are used in a Remote Desktop Services solution as a storage medium for user's local profiles. It allows them to log on to a RDS Farm that has multiple desktop Session Hosts and receive their profile every time.
rmessing171Consultant

Author

Commented:
Hi Philip - Thank you for your insights.  I am just seeking what would be the best solution for an environment that prefers users to obtain their windows user profile from any desktop they logon to?  Are you saying that UPD would be best?  I had thought UPD was only designed for VDI/remote session use?  Do you feel UE-V would be a good solution for what I am seeking?

I am a novice at this topic, the more details would be most helpful.  Please share your thoughts when you get a moment.
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage

Commented:
UPDs are for Remote Desktop Services solutions only. Not users logging on to a desktop machine in the domain.

Folder Redirection is what we use to get the user's data in between machines. It works really well.
rmessing171Consultant

Author

Commented:
Thank you Philip.  Just want to make sure I am aligned with you - Remote Desktop Services are VDI sessions and remote desktop (RDP) to a computer or virtual PC?  From previous posts and research I read, if a user's profile has large amounts of data the Folder Redirection solution could take a while when the user logs on?  Also, will the folder redirection solution provide the user's windows profile follow them to every PC they logon to?  Thank you for your patience and assistance!
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage

Commented:
Remote Desktop Services requires:
 + Broker - Role that arbitrates user's access to a Session Host or Windows Desktop OS running in the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
 + Gateway - Not mandatory, but we deploy all of the time, the "proxy" that provides a secure layer of access from the outside
 + Web - The web portal for access to RemoteApps and/or Desktops
 + Session Host(s) - Provide the shared desktop experience for user access
 + Windows Desktop OS - Provide a dedicated pool of desktop OS virtual machines for user access

The above is the only way that UPDs can be deployed and used as its the Broker that ties everything together.

For users logging on to various desktops throughout the org at one site Folder Redirection is the way to go.
rmessing171Consultant

Author

Commented:
Thank you Philip!  Quick question - from the research I have performed on Folder Redirection it seems that corrupt user profiles can occur.  Have you experienced this behavior?
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage

Commented:
We've been using Folder Redirection with Access-based Enumeration turned on for all of our clients since the latter was a .MSI plug-in for Server 2003. The root FR ACLs need to be set up exact.

We enable Offline Files by default via Group Policy and set up any needed file extension filters so as to not munge the CSC database Offline Files get stored in. Things like .PST files don't belong or Intuit/Sage MySQL files. Anything active data related should be excluded.

With the above we've had great success.

NOTE: When enabled, users with large profiles may see a prolonged logon time while their profiles are being copied to the server. Be aware of logon storms. Also, it can take a few logon attempts before the User based GPO settings take (we only do User based GPO setup).
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
I want to make very clear that folder redirection DOES NOT roam profiles. Therefore profile corruption does not occur because if folder redirection.  The OP seems to think that folder redirection will roam the entire profile and it does not.
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/Storage

Commented:
@Cliff has a point.

Roaming Profiles should have gone the way of the Do Do many, many, OS versions ago but there are some that still use them and have to fight with all of the grief they cause. Note the lack of a "can" prior to cause. They _are_ grief and nothing but grief. Period.
rmessing171Consultant

Author

Commented:
Hi guys, my apologies but I am a little confused and hope you can clarify.  Cliff mentioned that Folder Redirection is not roaming profiles, however it was referenced that Folder Redirection will provide the user's windows profile on any PC they logon to.  Is this correct?  Just seeking a solution that will provide the user's windows profile when they logon to any desktop PC within the domain.  Thank you for all of your assistance.
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
As I've explained above previous comments, folder redirection can provide a user's documents folder and files/icon on their desktop folder.  These are all PART of a user's profile.  There are many settings in a user's profile that are NOT included in folder redirection.

So whether folder redirection fits your needs is really dependent on the user experience you are trying to provide that technical level of support you are willing to invest to achieve that experience.

Roaming profiles had a very high technical cost.

UE-V has a lower cost. But had other requirements (software assurance I believe) so it can be a relatively high monetary cost of you aren't already committed to windows enterprise already for other reasons.

Folder redirection has a low technical and monetary cost. And as Phillip and I have both said, is great for our uses. But it should not be construed as a full profile that is roamed. If users expect every setting to roam (desktop wallpaper for example) it won't.  You have to decide if the user experience is "good enough."

TL;DR: folder redirection is not the same as roaming profiles. And what technology you choose to use is a decision you have to do the research and make. There isn't one single answer wr can give you as you seem to want.

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