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Windows Thread, Roaming Profiles in Technical; eek roaming profiles dont do it!!!! They are more trouble than they are worth and you dont need to resort ...
  1. #1
    ChrisH's Avatar
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    Roaming Profiles

    eek roaming profiles dont do it!!!! They are more trouble than they are worth and you dont need to resort to them these days with the various folder redirection you can use.

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    tarquel's Avatar
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    Re: What is....

    They work fine here [roaming profiles]

    Also a little story regarding them - a pupil came up to me the other week saying he couldn't log on. Did all the usual checks and discovered that it was the profile.

    I was pushed for time so only did a quick delete of user.day in his home folder and removed all the folders from his profile directory.

    He logged on and they were recreated perfectly and on he went with no probs - that I know of.

    The only downside is a longer logon time but if isn't that much to ask is it really? lol



    Cheers
    Nath

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: What is....

    Quote Originally Posted by tarquel
    They work fine here [roaming profiles]
    ...
    The only downside is a longer logon time but if isn't that much to ask is it really? lol
    Are you mad!?!?

    Imagine the scenario...

    It's 9am on a nice sunny Monday morning (first day back after holidays) and you have 200 kids and staff all deciding to log on for the first lesson of the day. You glance up at the switch behind you and notice an abundance of green and orange light. This is the transfer of approx 2GB of data (avg. of 10MB per user - a rather conservative figure) being transfered to your desktops!

    If you're using roaming profiles this will occur several times per day and you should also bear in mind that all this data must also be stored somewhere the rest of the time... 1500 * 10MB = 15GB of storage space that could be used a lot more productively.

    <rant level="slightly less annoying than printing">

    I mean, you redirect their desktops, start menus, etc. and you disable wallpaper, etc. So why the hell do you need to save the mandatory stuff in every users' share?

    </rant>

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    Re: What is....

    Because (traditionally) profiles had My Documents and other folders connected with them, bringing down lots (hundreds) of profiles and their encumbent saved files etc was a real pain (thinking back to NT4 here).

    If you think of both methods for a moment, it seems to me that if user A has 300MB of profile data in their profile on logoff using NT and another the same amount using XP, all the data (300MB of it) on the NT machine is saved back to the server; however on the XP machine only files changed since logon are saved back to the folder.

    If you are using roaming profiles and the user pretty much stays on one machine all day every day, this is OK. An XP machine will just send back to the profile changed data files, and this might not amount to much. But if the user genuinely "roams" this isn't so good- because the first time they log on to a new machine their whole profile is downloaded to their machine.

    I understand this can be a bind (and a worry). But from my experience (and I may be wrong here) using intellimirror services such as redirected folders makes roaming profiles a lot more manageable. For example, just enabling redirected folders for user B above would mean that they can logon at any station and not have their My Documents folder brought down with their profile. Because students are made to save to My Documents and can't tinker with other windows settings, and because Application Data is also redirected this *seems* to stop a huge logon time at a new machine.

    In other words (if I'm not making sense) user B in my example above saves their files to My Documents, which is anchored at the server (a fixed location) giving the impression that they can roam from station to station and have access to their files when they do so, but leaving the contents of My Docs on the server (which is better for security and backups etc).

    I've tested this and it appears to work well, but if you have any points I'll listen


    Paul

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    tarquel's Avatar
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    Re: What is....

    <ric_'s rant lol>
    8O 8O

    All I said was "they work fine here" lol

    Its maybe how I configure it that helps it a little i.e. I *think* I've managed to have it so that it doesn't "download" the whole of the pupils home dir, only the hidden directory within it called "profile"

    Its a little ingenius I think on my part but its not fool-proof by any means.

    We are off topic now ppl, and should probably start a new thread for this if ya like

    Cheers,
    Nath

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: What is....

    @Paul: The 'anchoring' of My Documents, etc. leads to my conservative prediction of an average of 10MB per profile.

    In a school environment, the nature of the environment leads to hot-desking where you can have as many as 10 users on one machine in a day. That is why it's best to delete the cached local copies (as these soon fill the tiny hard drives in older machines). With no cached profiles, the profile is pulled each time and you get extended logons.

    Besides, my point still stands that removing the roaming profiles will free storage space on your fileservers. If you are using roaming profiles, you have no right to complain about the amount of disk space being used!

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    tarquel's Avatar
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    Re: What is....

    phew - bit heated is this lol

    I delete locally cached profiles

    Ric - you got me curious so I had a look at the size of a few profile dirs

    Some year 10 pupils - 2 @ about 2.5MB and 1 @ about 4.6MB

    Not too bad on space really I think, considering they can easily consume that much with a small publisher ("oh no! - he mentioed publisher again" someone cries) document.

    I'm ok in that we've only got about 60 pc's where people would be using them at the same time so for me, I don't notice it badly and they pupils have got used to it. I think they realise that its stable unlike the 98 clients where it logs on quickly, but that doesn't mean the [Start] menu won't crash out on ya lol.

    Nath.

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    Re: What is....

    Hi Ric.

    You have a good point- it might seem that this much traffic makes a difference and ultimately it *may* do so. Hard drive space on the server isn't a problem for us (hence the choice of profiles to use) because we have a shiny new Dell PE 2800 with three 160GB SCSI hard drives (probably too much space mind you!).

    Looking at Microsoft estimates of average traffic generated during a single XP logon to a 2000 server (roughly 1MB), I can see your point about logons taking ages to come across the LAN. I'm not in any way knocking what you are saying ops:

    What I am planning on doing is knocking out the transfer of IE temp files (which cause a lot of traffic during logon/logoff) and taking the advice to heart about deleting locally cached copies of profiles on logoff. But seriously, if you think that in reality this isn't workable I am VERY open to suggestions.

    Can I ask how you cope with this- do you use local profiles with redirected folders etc?

    Thanks for your help and advice.

    Paul

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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: What is....

    LOL!

    This roaming profile question is excellent! I have roaming profiles here and I agree with everything Ric_ says. After all I can't really see what I gain. I don't want users to have settings saved.

    I have local copies disabled but still logon times are too slow - well i'd like it to be faster. And usually people want to log in fast if they're logging into a new machine [to them] - usually just to pint or similar.

    Are there any pifalls to not using roaming profiles?

    [1 vote to split thread]

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    Re: What is....

    Hi Mark.

    Yep- perhaps we should move this to another section

    I think Ric made some great points and I've spent the latter part of tonight looking into this some more. I think you asked a good question too- are there any pitfalls in not using roaming profiles?

    To be totally honest, I think it's a case of horses for courses. On our upper site we use CSE Systems and they manage our network's software configuration (mostly). They use local profiles with redirected My Documents. It's quite complex, and logon times vary depending on traffic but probably average at three minutes. Would roaming profiles help here? I doubt it, although we could redirect Application Data and see some kind of small improvement. What I think happens is that with locally stored profiles you get to the point where you are worrying about disk management anyway, so you may as well centralise this and "anchor" all this stuff on the server, where you might have more space or could use quotas etc.

    Remember, the files and folders in "C:\Documents and Settings\%Username%\Local Settings" (a hidden folder) don't roam, and these tend to be the beasts in the picture- not only internet temporary files but application temp files as well. Store these locally (and after one month my own is at 2GB) and after a term you can what would happen!

    In a nutshell there are pros and cons to both methods of profiling. Ric has given me much food for thought (thanks Ric) as have all other contributors. The good thing is, we all learn. And I have. If in the future traffic becomes a problem, I could always switch to running local profiles and redirected folders. I think it would be fair to say that I will know after at least the first term back

    Cheers all- I'm enjoying this discussion hugely!!

    Paul

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: Roaming Profiles

    :arrow: The above posts came from the 'What is...' topic that was split to save our sanity!

    Please continue the discussion, being as constructive as possible - keeping ranting to a minimum (I'm as guilty as anyone, I admit!)

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Re: Roaming Profiles

    Ahhh. Roaming profiles. I remember fondly the school in Garstang where teachers routinely had 2 GB of documents in their areas, all roaming, it got to the stage where no teachers could logon during a lesson because there was not enough time to download their user areas.
    Roaming profiles are evil and a lazy way to run a network which will eventually bite you in the bum if not corrected. What is so hard about mapping My Documents to their user area via a group policy FFS?!

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    Re: Roaming Profiles

    Why not just have GP make the desktop the same where ever you are, map a network drive to the students areas, and then make them choose their own folder. This also means that group folders can be set for for say.. science. No roaming profiles, no large logons!

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    Re: Roaming Profiles

    Thats basically how it should be. Fixed wallpaper (different colours per year group and for staff so you can see who is logged on as someone they shouldn't be).
    The My Documents folder is mapped to their user area and set up so as not to roam or be locally cached.
    The start menu is mapped with the default user profile aready edited to remove everything you don't want them to see.
    Anthing else is making hard work for yourself and increasing the network load.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: Roaming Profiles

    I use folder redirection for the start menu and desktops.

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