In versions of Windows prior to Windows Server 2003 R2, when you create a new user account, you have to create the home directory in a separate step. This leaves room for error if the folder is not configured, meaning the user will have no access to the home directory.
Windows Server 2003 R2 creates a home directory in the location you specify when creating the user account; this saves time and makes the process easier. I'll walk you through the process of creating a user account that can handle a home directory. (In the example, I will access a user account via Active Directory Users And Computers. The process is the same for new or existing accounts.)
Follow these steps to assign a home directory to a user account:
- On the server, open Active Directory Users And Computers.
- Locate the user account for which you want to add a home directory, right-click the account, and choose Properties.
- In the Properties dialog box, click the Profile tab.
- Using the Home Folder section of the dialog page, specify if the user's home directory should be a local folder on their computer (this can be useful for laptop users), or you can connect a network drive and use it as the home directory.
- If you choose to connect a network drive, select the letter for the drive mapping and then enter the share path for the share that will hold the home directory. For example, you might select U: in the drop-down menu (for users) and then point to the users share on the file server by entering \\fileserver\usersshare. Click OK to save the user properties to the account.
- If you decide to use a local folder, enter the path on the local computer where the folder will reside. You can enter the path using the actual drive letter and path C:\documents and settings\username\my documents or using an environment variable and path %userprofile%\My Documents. (The environment variable %userprofile% saves you typing and points each user to their folder within C:\documents and settings\. This can save a lot of time if you have many accounts to configure.)
By configuring home directories during account configuration, it will save you time and make home directories a bit more uniform.
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Derek Schauland has been tinkering with Windows systems since 1997. He has supported Windows NT 4, worked phone support for an ISP, and is currently the IT Manager for a manufacturing company in Wisconsin.