Hi guys,

I've recently been dabbling with network user folders at a site I'm managing but I have a few queries about OS X user profiles that I've never really gotten my head around.

I have previously had some odd errors on machines that were set up by another company complaining that users home folders were missing (a little out of the blue) even for local users and it literally stopped me from opening anything, even the finder.

This was just one of many problems I faced, so my first step was to re-image a load of machines to set them up how I deemed correct and now that they're set up, I've enrolled them all into my Open Directory. To ensure they're all administered the same and nice and uniform, I've been messing with some methods of applying settings to certain users and machines via. Work Group Manager (Profile manager just seemed to be a trashpile so far).

Whilst messing with WGM, I've set users to have a network home folder located on the server's share as well as tweak some other settings, such as locking down dock items and the likes. However, I was changing a user's dock preferences and unticked 'merge with user's dock', logged on to a machine and now their dock is simply a few folders and 2 apps instead of the usual stuff. I then reverted the setting but it seem to be stuck like this and when I went to look in /Users/ I couldn't see a folder for that user (simply called 'staff' as a generic guinea pig).

I've also tried deleting a user folder in the past to see if I could reset a user's 'profile settings' (excuse me if I'm using the incorrect terminology, I'm coming from a Windows background) but I just get an error saying that the folder is missing. I haven't tried recreating the folder as the permissions will be incorrect, but in a Windows environment I'd just have to delete/rename a User's folder and then delete the registry key that points that user to that certain folder and the next time a user logs in, all the folders and settings are recreated.

Basically what I'm asking is:
- Where are user settings generally saved?
- What's the best way to 'default' a user's profile?
- Is there an OS X equivalent of roaming profiles (not that I like roaming profiles any way, I'd much prefer to redirect folders)
- Probably a whole lot more, but I'm just trying to get my head around the basics to begin with.

Thanks for your time.
Kind regards,