By default, Windows NT uses local profiles.
When a user logs on to a specific
computer for the first time, Windows NT makes a copy of the Default
User folder
and creates a separate profile for the user. NT saves
every change a user makes in his or her profile, and every computer
a user logs on to creates its own copy of the profile.

Of course, this can create a problem if users
tend to move around a lot, leaving several newly created profiles
in their wake. Roaming profiles help mitigate this issue. The
profile and settings can travel with the user from one computer to
another. Any change a user makes on one computer is applicable when
the user logs on to another computer on the network.

A central server is necessary when implementing
roaming profiles; it keeps a “master” copy of the profile for each
user. When a user logs on to a computer, that computer contacts the
server and downloads the profile. When the user logs off, the local
machine copies the profile back to the central server.

To take advantage of roaming profiles, you must
set up a central server and create a shared folder on that server.
The central server doesn’t have to be an especially powerful
machine dedicated only to storing and managing profiles. It can be
any machine with enough space that’s accessible from all other

To assign a roaming profile to a user, open the
Properties dialog box for the account in User Manager.
(Double-click the user account, and click Profile.) In the User
Profile Path box, enter the path to the shared folder on the

For example, enter \\server\share\%username% in
the box, where server is the name of the server storing the
profiles, and share is the name of the shared folder. You can leave
%username%; Windows NT will automatically replace it with the
correct account name.

You don’t have to manually create a folder for
each user on the central server. Just create and share one folder,
and Windows NT will create a subfolder for each user the first time
he or she logs on.