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Windows Thread, The whole roaming/mandatory/default profile debate in Technical; Problems (and varied suggestions) about user profiles (which we CANNOT escape, like it or not) seem to be regular subjects ...
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    ajbritton's Avatar
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    The whole roaming/mandatory/default profile debate

    Problems (and varied suggestions) about user profiles (which we CANNOT escape, like it or not) seem to be regular subjects for threads. I'm proposing to write some stuff in the WIKI about the various options. This would include...

    - Brief explanation of what a user profile is and it's constituent parts
    - Implications for network management
    - Roaming profiles
    - Mandatory profiles
    - Local profiles
    - Temporary profiles
    - Folder redirection
    - Hybrid profiles
    - Suggestions for different users/environments

    My motivation here is so that rather than simply pronouncing certain ways of doing things as 'evil' (naming no names), members can refer to a common explanation and set of suggestions.

    Before I get RSI writing all that, I'd be interested in comments from those with strong opinions on the matter as well as those who feel confused by the whole subject!

    If it's OK, I'll post a reminder next week after the hols just to get the thread back in the top 10.

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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: The whole roaming/mandatory/default profile debate

    You the MAN aj!!! hehe!

    Great idea - thanks for taking up the torch here. It will be so good to get this topic out in the open and thoroughly thrashed out once and for all [IMHO :P].

    With the fullest information all in one place we can see once and for all which camp really makes the most sense, and adopt an informed methodology.

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    Re: The whole roaming/mandatory/default profile debate

    I'm considering giving this topic a forum of its own!! First things first however I just have one question that needs answering.

    Q. What, in an educational enviroment with limited server space and network bandwidth concerns, benefits do roaming profiles provide?

    My personal; preferance is to just map a drive to the user area and redirect My Documents to the same. The rest is not required.

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    Re: The whole roaming/mandatory/default profile debate

    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box
    I'm considering giving this topic a forum of its own!! First things first however I just have one question that needs answering.

    Q. What, in an educational enviroment with limited server space and network bandwidth concerns, benefits do roaming profiles provide?

    My personal; preferance is to just map a drive to the user area and redirect My Documents to the same. The rest is not required.
    I'm using a combination of roaming profiles (admin staff), madatory profiles (teachers and students) and just gpo settings (administrators).

    The profiles are created through logging in and getting the group policy settings applied and then tweaking a few options.

    I also use Default User on the netlogon share. This is set so only admin staff can read it, so thier profiles are all based on this template. I dislike local profiles as they make life complicated when cloning. I also use folder redirection for home directories, but they are mapped to a folder that only the user can see through a single share, no individual shares for each user.

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    Re: The whole roaming/mandatory/default profile debate

    But what benefits does that give your admin staff that a simple remapping of my documents and a mapped drive does not. This isn't the start of an argument, but I really need to see the advantages as in my job I am often asked to take a look at schools problems and the amount of grief that roaming profiles create is huge!

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    ajbritton's Avatar
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    Re: The whole roaming/mandatory/default profile debate

    @Dos_Box: Basically, it comes down to what is in the user portion of the registry. If a user does not have roaming profiles, these settings are held uniquely on each PC. A roaming profile lets these settings follow the user from PC to PC. Everything else can be taken care of with a combination of redirected folders and heavily managed 'default user' profiles.

    The main reason for me starting this thread is that every time a user asks a question about profiles, everyone dives in with their own opinions about which is the best way to do it and how 'evil' roaming profiles are. I just want to try to formalise some kind of collective recommendations on what profiles are and the different ways of managing them. Do you want to help people or brainwash them into doing everything the same way?

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    Re: The whole roaming/mandatory/default profile debate

    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box
    But what benefits does that give your admin staff that a simple remapping of my documents and a mapped drive does not. This isn't the start of an argument, but I really need to see the advantages as in my job I am often asked to take a look at schools problems and the amount of grief that roaming profiles create is huge!
    Personal desktops and application settings? Something redirecting can't do unless you redirect everyones desktop and application data to individual places, in which case you might as well use profiles. There is (or was) an issue with internet explorers maintenance settings not working with redirected application folders.

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    Re: The whole roaming/mandatory/default profile debate


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    Re: The whole roaming/mandatory/default profile debate

    Educationally?

    For the students a mandatory profile is better ... make them learn to conform, and administratively it makes life easier for us when we want to update various settings ... and yes, I know we can do it ither ways, but for now it is more convenient this way. We might have changed some things this half-term but we were tied up doing something else ;-)

    For staff with laptops then it can do. It all depends on how the laptops are set up. It all depends on how much they hot desk (which they do, even with laptops) and helps to give them an individual feeling that can make a difference in a learning environment.

    The frequent change of desktop backgrounds to help motivate the students is a good example, individualisation of applications ... and this is important for us considering how much work our staff do at home.

    I suppose it is a case of what works for you and your school.

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    Re: The whole roaming/mandatory/default profile debate

    Yes. I was told that roaming profiles are "evil" when I asked a question about it on here, and it very nearly put me off the forum. However, behind the rhetoric and testosterone-driven "I do it better" responses there were some points to the arguments. The good thing is that each of us can fit what we need with how we can achieve it.

    For me, I still prefer roaming profiles, redirected folders, and group policies to lock the rest down. We currently use locally stored profiles and redirected folders alongside group policies to do this. Does it work? Absolutely. Would it work for you? Perhaps not. For Tony and LPTC it's mandatory profiles; for others its roaming; for some its ANother way. Whatever. The big question is: does it decrease administrative time and increase usability and security on your network? How easy is it to implement? Can you enhance it when you need to?

    *sigh*

    It's a good topic though, and one that definitely deserves a Wiki of its own and a celebration of diversity ;-)

    Paul

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    Re: The whole roaming/mandatory/default profile debate

    @Tony: Education is making students conform? Surely not?? :-)

    Paul

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    Re: The whole roaming/mandatory/default profile debate

    Quote Originally Posted by ajbritton
    The main reason for me starting this thread is that every time a user asks a question about profiles, everyone dives in with their own opinions about which is the best way to do it and how 'evil' roaming profiles are. I just want to try to formalise some kind of collective recommendations on what profiles are and the different ways of managing them. Do you want to help people or brainwash them into doing everything the same way?
    Quote Originally Posted by kingswood
    Yes. I was told that roaming profiles are "evil" when I asked a question about it on here, and it very nearly put me off the forum. However, behind the rhetoric and testosterone-driven "I do it better" responses there were some points to the arguments. The good thing is that each of us can fit what we need with how we can achieve it.
    Two good points which is why I've stickied it and also, fully agree that this sorta flaming on posts will be modified/removed if it happens anymore as it isn't very constructive for others [ooo feel like a teacher now lol]

    The same thing I've noticed with normal questions on how to do something being turned into how linux is better at doing it etc lol Lets stop that please

    Regards
    Nath

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    Re: The whole roaming/mandatory/default profile debate

    The same thing I've noticed with normal questions on how to do something being turned into how linux is better at doing it lol Lets stop that please
    If your talking about my posts there's a subtle difference. I explain why. For example

    Linux + Samba does profiles the NT4 way. So you get a choice between roaming, mandatory or local profiles. However rather than setting the profile path in each user account its set centrally in the smb.conf. You can use standard samba variable expansion to map the profile path to somewhere sane for each user or group of users. Further more you can use symlinks on the underlying system to point one or more profiles to a template profile without having to do wierd hacky things with paths. Very handy for mandatory profiles.

    Default user stuff in the netlogin share works too. This isn't the case with NT4.

    Finally, samba can tell the difference between NT based clients and Win9x based clients. You can use seperate profiles for each class of clients regardless of the user who's logged in.

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    Re: The whole roaming/mandatory/default profile debate

    hehe didnt mean any offense - I did mean generally - not you specifically lol

    It sounds very interesting and if i had the time to try it, I wouldnt mind giving it a try myself

    Its just that the topic in question was on about something else entiely.

    I'm not slating you or anyone or for digressing.. [hell - i definately do it myself to a degree lol] ...i just think we should try to not completely change the topic subject by digressing lol

    It does sound kinda cool what you mention above though
    Now can i revive my 486 and get out those real old floppy disc of a ~1999 slackware dist?

    Fun times when i couldnt afford any sort of decent pc lol

    Nath.

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    Re: The whole roaming/mandatory/default profile debate

    Its just that the topic in question was on about something else entiely.

    I'm not slating you or anyone or for digressing.. [hell - i definately do it myself to a degree lol] ...i just think we should try to not completely change the topic subject by digressing lol
    If the posters go off topic the forum mod should split the topic. That way both lines of discussion can be further explored. If the topic being discussed is completely off topic for the forum it should be moved entirely to a more relevant forum. Its the moderators job to keep the forum sane, ontopic and useful.

    It does sound kinda cool what you mention above though
    If someone wants to write up the various ways of doing profiles for windows on the wiki I'll quite gladly write up the Linux/Samba ways of doing the same.

    Now can i revive my 486 and get out those real old floppy disc of a ~1999 slackware dist?
    There's specialised distro's for legacy hardware such as 286/386/486's. Try Dam Small Linux.

    http://damnsmalllinux.org/486.html

    Fun times when i couldnt afford any sort of decent pc lol
    My current Linux desktop PC is a circa 1998 dual P3-600. Assembled mainly from second hand components from ebay. I've had it for about 3 years now. Total cost when I constructed it was around 125 GBP. I've since added more ram and a dvd rewriter which probably totalled another 100GBP, most of which was spent on the dvd rewriter. So that works out to about 20p a day so far if you spread the cost out. Hows that for budget computing?



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