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How do you do....it? Thread, Roaming Profiles... in Technical; I'm in the process of setting up a new server for a school and have been asked, actually told is ...
  1. #1
    richard_s
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    Roaming Profiles...

    I'm in the process of setting up a new server for a school and have been asked, actually told is more like it, to set up some 20 roaming profiles for the staff so that they can have their files (normally saved to the desktop) wallpapers etc available on any computer.

    So what I need from you guys is a very simple guide to setting the profiles up as in all my years in IT I have kept well away from roaming profiles as I have always thought them to be unwieldy and a pain on any network but now I must bite the bullet and deal with it.

  2. #2

    SYNACK's Avatar
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    XP or Vista. Roaming profiles are deceptivly simple, in their most basic form all that you need to do to enable them is to put a network path to a folder in the profile location box under the users AD properties. The user must have full access to the folder and be the owner.

    The best implementation is to redirect stuff like documents and favorites to the appropriate places on the server so that these are not included in the profile copy at logon and logoff. It is also a good idea to redirect the desktop to a folder under their documents folder incase they like to use it as a storage area. All of this redirection is done in user settings of a group policy applied to the roaming users.

    To cut load times down further you can also delve into GP and set the folders not cached setting to inclued local settings which will stop a whole chunk of rubbish from being synced to the server and make it more reliable.

    If the users have laptops that are being used while disconnected you must also add administrativly assigned offline files to point to the redirected desktop, documents etc. The profile itself is cached on the laptop (unless you have disabled this) but any redirectied folders are not.

    Profile and Folder Redirection In Windows Server 2003
    Folder Redirection Windows Server 2003 - Microsoft Group Policy

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  4. #3
    richard_s
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    XP or Vista. Roaming profiles are deceptivly simple, in their most basic form all that you need to do to enable them is to put a network path to a folder in the profile location box under the users AD properties. The user must have full access to the folder and be the owner.

    The best implementation is to redirect stuff like documents and favorites to the appropriate places on the server so that these are not included in the profile copy at logon and logoff. It is also a good idea to redirect the desktop to a folder under their documents folder incase they like to use it as a storage area. All of this redirection is done in user settings of a group policy applied to the roaming users.

    To cut load times down further you can also delve into GP and set the folders not cached setting to inclued local settings which will stop a whole chunk of rubbish from being synced to the server and make it more reliable.

    If the users have laptops that are being used while disconnected you must also add administrativly assigned offline files to point to the redirected desktop, documents etc. The profile itself is cached on the laptop (unless you have disabled this) but any redirectied folders are not.

    Profile and Folder Redirection In Windows Server 2003
    Folder Redirection Windows Server 2003 - Microsoft Group Policy
    Thanks for that. The client machines are running XP Pro so hopefully it will be easier than Vista. The only draw back is that I have been told only to use Group Policies if it is only absolutely necessary as my boss doesn't believe in them. Will be able to probably redirect My Docs but thats about it.

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    Um.. what does he believe in then?

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Yikes, no GP, I have an ocean view cave and a new stone club that would probably be just perfect for him and all at a very good price.

    Jokeing aside you will really want to redirect the desktop as well at the very least otherwise you will end up with headaches from teachers with 10GB profiles that take 20 minutes to logon and don't sync properly back to the server. The rest can probably be left but that much is crucial unless your staff are really well trained. GP also offers a profile maximum size option in GP which it is good to set as a safety measure.

    You really need to involve group policy here as short of building a whole app to duplicate the functionality it would be difficult to duplicate the features offered by GP. You may be able to redirect the desktops with a reg key but add in profile size limiting and offline files for laptops and you will end up wasteing days on it as apposed to 10 minutes with GP.

  7. #6
    richard_s
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    The Schools existing server was setup by another firm who played around with the group policies so much that it made the system basically unusable. So he has decided that we shall go the other way as it is only a small primary school and doesn't need all the additional complexities that Group Policies bring, or so my boss believes. I would rather use Group Policies as they can be a great benefit if used correctly but I'm only the engineer and he is the boss.

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    Leave him to do it then to be honest, reinventing the wheel comes to mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by richard_s View Post
    The only draw back is that I have been told only to use Group Policies if it is only absolutely necessary as my boss doesn't believe in them. .
    Is he from the stone ages?.

  10. #9
    richard_s
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    Quote Originally Posted by strawberry View Post
    Is he from the stone ages?.
    Not quite. He believes in keeping things simple. We have just put a workgroup server into a school as he said they didn't need a full domain setup.

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    Keeping it simple is fine, it's sensible.

    However, in order to implement some functionality things can be better done with the supplied tools rather than reinventing the wheel.

    I'm sure he has some ideas on what he wants to achieve but I agree with SYNACK, it won't be fun doing this with scripts etc (I've done it) given the tools are right there in front of you to do it properly.

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    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    This is interesting because i've set the profiles of staff to roaming. They have redirected desktops....just wondering about what Synack said about the profiles sizes....hmmmm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little-Miss View Post
    This is interesting because i've set the profiles of staff to roaming. They have redirected desktops....just wondering about what Synack said about the profiles sizes....hmmmm
    One member of staff had a profile of 800 Mb and wondered why it took ages to log on. Turns out she had tons of stuff on her desktop - not shortcuts actual folders containing umpteen Powerpoints. I moved them all to her Docs folder, put links on the desktop, hey presto instant log in.

    Sometimes they just need a little training and info. i.e.when a download instructs "save to your desktop" it doesn't mean literally.



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