General discussion

  • Creator
  • #2185032

    Laptop Roaming profiles


    by mg_roberts ·

    All the users in our domain have roaming profiles. When a laptop user makes changes to their profile at home, then come in and log on to the domain, it reverts the files on the laptop back to the last time they were on the domain.

    Some of our users are gone from the office for weeks at a time, so sometimes they lose weeks of data.

    I really need help on this, its a huge issue at our company.

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3104859

      File synchroniztion?

      by ni70 ·

      In reply to Laptop Roaming profiles

      From typing in file sync in help.

      To set up your computer to use offline files
      Open My Computer.
      On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
      On the Offline Files tab, make sure that the Enable Offline Files check box is selected.
      Select Synchronize all offline files before logging off to get a full synchronization. Leave it unselected for a quick synchronization.

      To open My Computer, double-click the My Computer icon on the desktop.
      A full synchronization ensures that you have the most current version of every shared network file that you work with offline. A quick synchronization ensures that you have complete versions of your offline files, although they may not be the most current versions. You might select a quick synchronization if you are the only person working on a file or if you do not need the most current version of a file.
      If you want to control which offline files are synchronized, when they are synchronized, and whether Windows prompts you before synchronizing your files, you can use Synchronization Manager. For more information, click Related Topics.
      After you set up your computer to use offline files, you need to make shared network files available to you offline. For more information, click Related Topics.
      Related Topics

    • #3104816


      by ericl_w199 ·

      In reply to Laptop Roaming profiles

      let me give you a piece of advice about roaming profiles.turn them off forget they exsist.they do not work and are more trouble then they are worth.

      • #3103963

        yea but….

        by mg_roberts ·

        In reply to sucks

        without roaming profiles you are leaving it up to the end user to maintain backups of their files, which won’t happen.

        • #3287388

          Using roaming profiles to backup files??

          by rasilon ·

          In reply to yea but….

          It’s a **BAD** idea to use roaming profiles as a backup strategy. The most common problem with roaming profiles is users having huge profiles (most commonly because of “My Documents”). Roaming profiles need to be as small as possible. Large profiles cause delays in down/uploading the profiles (and thus increased logon /logoff times) as wellas increase the probability of a corrupted profile. By using folder redirection, you can reduce the size of the profiles and, also, store the files on a server that is backed up regularly….

          Hank Arnold

        • #3104370

          how to access files then?

          by mg_roberts ·

          In reply to Using roaming profiles to backup files??

          So, stop using roaming profiles? then what if they need to use a different PC? if i use a roaming profile to save only desktop settings, how do you keep it from saving the files as well?

          the situation is, my users need their files backed up without their intervention, they need to be able to access them from anywhere (laptop and pcs).

        • #3104311

          see my other reply

          by t.a.wiser ·

          In reply to how to access files then?

          Use folder redirection and XP’s Offline Files system.

        • #3104170

          Mapped drives and syncback

          by aknell ·

          In reply to how to access files then?

          What I use here is a mapped drive for each user to store their info on. This is mapped through each of the users profiles, when the profile and login is created. When testing the new login, I usually set the target of the “my documents” folder to their mapped drive (usually m:).
          After this you can use offline folders option, which has been explained. It still does slow down the network considerably when the user logs back on.
          As far as backing up I use syncback, a great little program that easily backs up any server directory, mapped drive. I also have an older server that creates a backup of the backup server (using syncback). I know this sounds a little convoluted, but i’ve found its a very cheap and easy way to achieve redundancy.
          I know theres probably a 100 other ways and probably easier but I hope this helps you in some way.

        • #3151234

          Who said stop using Roaming Profiles?

          by rasilon ·

          In reply to how to access files then?

          Where did I say to stop using Roaming Profiles??? They are a critical part of an environment like yours. They are also vital where you have (like my network) where users log onto one of multiple load balanced TS/Cirix servers.

          What I was saying was that it was a bad idea to use them as a process for backing up user files.

          Hank Arnold

        • #3287341

          Use folder redirection in stead of Roaming profile

          by randall.cohen ·

          In reply to yea but….

          Create a GPO for Folder Redirection. Folder Redirection is a better option for “backing up” user data. Instruct/insist that users store their files in the “My documents” folder and then redirect the folder to the users home drive. Roaming Profiles should only be used to retain user’s customized settings like signature block and network mappings that aren’t part of the logon script.

      • #3287391

        Oh, please……….

        by rasilon ·

        In reply to sucks

        That is just about the most useless and wrong statement I’ve heard in a very long time. They most certainly work and they work well. In many situations they are essential. When they don’t “work” or cause problems, it’s almost always either an implementation problem or the user has huge profiles. Occasionally, a roaming profile can get corrupted, but fixing it is usually a simple matter.

        • #3287352

          How do you fix a broken profile?

          by corporatelackie ·

          In reply to Oh, please……….


          How do you fix a broken roaming profile / repair corruption?

          We use them where I work and when they blow up (which is rare, BTW) our only solution is to have user log off, erase the server-side copy and then log on again …


        • #3151232

          That’s the only way I know of

          by rasilon ·

          In reply to How do you fix a broken profile?

          That’s what we do. Of course, if it’s the local profile that is corrupted, you need to delete that profile.

          Hank Arnold

      • #3104449

        I beg your pardon!

        by jwgronner ·

        In reply to sucks

        We use Roaming Profiles in our office and have absolutely no problem with them. Our emoployees on occasion need to sit at different workstations and to have the ability to have their own desktop follow them makes them MUCH more productive. The same goes for Folder Redirection

      • #3104313

        Absolute nonsense

        by t.a.wiser ·

        In reply to sucks


        Roaming profiles are fantastic when they’re set up properly. They save time, effort and support calls, plus present a more friendly face to your network than local profiles which are a pain to support and maintain.

    • #3287345

      Use GPO

      by randall.cohen ·

      In reply to Laptop Roaming profiles

      You can create a GPO that turns off roaming profiles.
      The GPO can use two techniques besides turning off the roaming profile. The first uses loop-back processing with merge mode. It is found under Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / System/Group Policy / “User Group Policy loopback processing mode”. The second uses WMI filtering to only apply the policy if the computer is a laptop.

    • #3104360

      folder redirection??

      by mg_roberts ·

      In reply to Laptop Roaming profiles

      from my understanding if i were to use folder redirection, my laptop users would not be able to access their files when they weren’t in the office.

      forgive my lack of knowledge in this area, i’m obviously in a position where i’m in over my head.

      • #3104317

        Folder redirection

        by t.a.wiser ·

        In reply to folder redirection??

        By default, redirected folders are synchronised by XP when users log off. If you store your files inside redirected folders (ie: point your My Documents folder to a network share) then those files will be available when the laptop is away from the network.

        Roaming profiles aren’t really intended for storing vast amounts of documents inside. They’re more for the actual profile – the look & feel of the desktop.

        • #3104301

          redirected location

          by mg_roberts ·

          In reply to Folder redirection

          i was reading about folder redirection, and it says that you can have all the mydocument located in one centralized location, or sepereated by groups. i don’t really understand how this works. if they files are stored collectively, are everyone’s documents loaded into everyones local my documents? i know this can’t be the way it works but maybe you can understand my confusion.

        • #3104236

          Folder Redirect w/ GPO

          by jwgronner ·

          In reply to redirected location

          You need to be familiar with group policy mmc console since wyo need to set this up in the GPO. go to GPO Editor and under User Configuration and then Sindows Settings then Folder Redirection, right click and in Settings use the default(Basic-Redirect everyone’s folder to the same location). then in the Target folder location use “Create a folder for each user under the root path. Then in Root Path choose a directory wher you want all the users “My Documents to be located, ie: \\server\Users\redirectedLocation\ this will put each user in a separate folder in the redirectedLocation directory.

        • #3104163

          Setting up user directories

          by aknell ·

          In reply to redirected location

          I thnk the easiest way (not the quickest) would be to create seperate user directories, and then manually set-up the permissions on the shared properties for that user and adminisrtator. YES this is a long process but its simple. When i setup a share i put an $ at the end of the share, this makes it so its hidden from remote viewers.
          When setting up the user through console, under the properties, profile, home folder, point it to the shared folder, that you created \\server\usershare$. Assign it a driver letter h: for home or whatever. And when that user logs in there will be a mapped drive there. Right click on my documents set the target to the mapped drive (H:) As stated above if the os being used used is Xp then offine folders will automaticly be set.

        • #3285267

          Hibernation issues

          by the ref ·

          In reply to Folder redirection

          When a notebook is just closed it hibernates and does not replicate. Notebook users need to logoff to cause the replication.

        • #3285073


          by mg_roberts ·

          In reply to Hibernation issues

          and it doesn’t matter whether its replicating a folder redirection or a roaming profile correct?

    • #3104155

      Remote Desktop/Remote Access

      by aakash shah ·

      In reply to Laptop Roaming profiles

      How about approaching your problem a little differently by having the laptop users either use Remote Desktop or some other remote connection tool to remotely access their work computers. This way, when they do work, they are working off their work computers and so there is no sync problem. However, this assumes that the users always have a reliable connection available.

    • #3271242


      by samthedon ·

      In reply to Laptop Roaming profiles

      tell me some things,
      2)Security patches,
      3)firewall settings,
      4)OS settings,

      some OS revert to the last old saved settings due to the OS which is out of date for the security settings,

      let me know

      • #3148694


        by mg_roberts ·

        In reply to solution

        they all run xp, fully patched, with no settings out of the ordinary

    • #3150097

      Try ScriptLogic

      by shirtbird ·

      In reply to Laptop Roaming profiles

      Pretty much a fancy program that creates a giant batch file. Each time a user logins to the network, admin specified directories are backed up to a network location – for example, we back up the desktop and my documents. When user A logs in to the network, any new files that have been created since the last log in are uploaded to the server. This allows for easy backup and easy access to files.

    • #3151202

      VPN connection

      by papus ·

      In reply to Laptop Roaming profiles

      Try a VPN connection , so that your users can access the domain remotely.

    • #3150963

      RDP/Citrix Option

      by ahlbrandj ·

      In reply to Laptop Roaming profiles

      We use a CITRIX ICA plug in to allow us to access our personal desktops via the web. Internally, the apps sit on a MS Server 2003 system. In this server-based environment, I run programs faster than I can locally and my desktop is available from ANY computer anywhere regardless of age/op-sys. It is also very secure.

    • #3150851

      Can you change the sync direction?

      by amnezia ·

      In reply to Laptop Roaming profiles

      This may be a silly question, but it seems your network is synchronising to the laptop. Can the laptop be set to synchronise to the network instead?

      • #3150716

        i dont know

        by mg_roberts ·

        In reply to Can you change the sync direction?

        possibly. but wouldn’t that create a problem when the user logs into another pc?

        • #3149726

          How is the profile set up?

          by amnezia ·

          In reply to i dont know

          I’ll have to look at the way I set ours two years ago – we have a limited number of laptops, and I copy a template folder to the laptop when I set up a new user – rare. But I would have thought if the profile redirects the user’s local my documents folder to the server, (client or laptop), and synchronisation/offline folders is set up correctly from the laptop while logged in as the user, then the server-based home-folder “should” be updated from any pc or laptop the user logs into. Unless I’ve missed something, (and that’s possible, it’s very early in the morning).

        • #3149723

          Ooops! I misread your question.

          by amnezia ·

          In reply to How is the profile set up?

          Sorry about the above post. Why do laptop users need to change the profile at home? Can their not be built to show them their usual workstation desktop on the laptop so there’s no need to alter the profile when they’re away from the office – even for months at a time? As long as the laptop has the same software available as on the workstation it shouldn’t be a problem, and then the user syncs when they’re reconnected to the network. Perhaps it’s NOT sync per se, but rather a profile issue?

        • #3149289

          let me restate

          by mg_roberts ·

          In reply to Ooops! I misread your question.

          i’ve recieved a lot of good advice from this thread. but i don’t think i explained my situation well enough.
          our laptop users only use the laptop they were given. so when they are in the office they are using the laptop no problem. when they go home, or are on the road, they take their laptops with them.

          ok, say its january 1st, they are working in the office, they log off and everything is up to date. now say they are on the road, they create a couple new word documents, and delete a power point file. they also re-organize their desktop to make it easier to navigate through their mess of files. its januray 4th and they log into the office. their current profile is reverted back to the profile they saved on april 1st, the last time they were in the office.

          now, to make things even more complicated, this doesn’t happen every time.

    • #3148359

      Drop Roaming Profiles

      by ldsibert ·

      In reply to Laptop Roaming profiles

      I have been through this myself. Here we go. Drop the roaming profile. They will become corrupt…on either server or client side. Then you have to delete them both. Another thing, Dude gets a virus or trojan, comes back and infects his profile on the Server, then possibly infects the Network. Roaming profiles are nice…when they work. They also get huge, and you have to manage it. Too much administration. Offline file sync has it’s on problems also, like free space on the local hard drive, or a folder was deleted or moved on the server. Let them save locally and then copy whatever they need to save over to the Server. I do this now, and it has saved me hours of administration. Hope this helps.

      • #3148357

        In Addition…

        by ldsibert ·

        In reply to Drop Roaming Profiles

        I was at a Microsoft seminar, and Microsoft even admitted that roaming profiles could be a pain in the butt. I do agree also that there are instances when you have to do it. I also understand that this problem was addressed in Windows 2003 and it’s supposed to be better. But, roaming has not been good to me. Slow boots and I was constantly fixing their profiles on the local machine. Also, if they are on two or more boxes,made changes to theses boxes and have not shut those down, there is no write back to the server. Hence, it’s not foloowing them on their “normal” machine. Just my opinion.

        • #3161849

          rp’s have their uses

          by bpe ·

          In reply to In Addition…

          I find roaming profiles work exceptionally well if the IT people concerned understand them properly and educate the end user correctly. It is far easier if you are trying to deal with something else and a user is having problems with their machine to rediect them to another workstation temporarily and not have to do anything to setup that station. offline file/folder sync is something I find very prone to problems and most of my users have had to have their cache “hard reset” often causing loss of the last few days offline work which they chose not to backup because they always assume, no matter how many times they are told, that IT just works. I will admit that RP’s can grow to huge sizes, try a user with a 40GB Ipod storing his music in My docs\my music or someone downloading installation files for software and leaving them on his desktop. I find that a regular watch on server hdd capacity which we should all do anyway is the cure. Either that or wait until the user says his machine is taking a long time to logon and then reiterate the importance of storing this shit elsewhere. What is itunes doing on a corporate machine anyway, eh!!!!

    • #3289110

      Say no to roaming profiles

      by jameshsh ·

      In reply to Laptop Roaming profiles

      I agree with the other opinions that roaming profiles are useless in this case. We’ve organized almost the same task using folder redirection with our desktop management tool, Desktop Authority. My documents, desktop folder, ie favourites, cookies are redirected to a central location – home directory and users can access this stuff from any pc. I’t something like settings that follows the users.

      Have a look at this this tool:

    • #2533654

      Roaming Profiles and Mobile users

      by chris ·

      In reply to Laptop Roaming profiles

      I buy into the value of roaming profiles. On a local LAN/Network they work (fore the most part) well except for the mobile users. On occasion users loose recognition of their profile HIVE files either from the local copy or the server and a download of a second or third profile is made as the user has never logged in before. Its easy to tell as they will in affect have document and settings\username, username_domain , username _domain001. This scenario creates a real issue and I have never really been able to get around or a fix to address it. it woul dbe great if there was some logic that over wrote the local (or vice versa) HIVE after invalid unsuccessful login.

      • #2650482

        Single out the laptops…

        by steve.allison ·

        In reply to Roaming Profiles and Mobile users

        We put the laptops computers in their own group and create a GPO specifically for them which disables roaming profiles. My Documents is shared using Folder Redirection and this and their Home drive is cached with Offline Files.

        The problem with mobile users is I think the server sees the laptop as an old version if the user logs into a local workstation before bringing the laptop back to the office.

    • #2939831


      by matthewhadley16 ·

      In reply to Laptop Roaming profiles

      Why not use all 3?

      Use roaming profiles. That way whenever a user logs on they have their desktop just how they like it, WITH their favorites folder and Application Data.

      In conjunction with this, you could also use folder redirection. This means that people with large ‘My Documents’ folders don’t have to spend ages waiting to log in while his/her ‘My Documents’ are being copied to the client computer. (the client computer now just accesses the ‘My Documents’ folder on-demand, from the server)

      Now, the best thing to do is have all the users folders (My Documents, roaming profile etc.) on their own individual share on your server. (e.g. \\Server\Users\%Username%\%roaming profile + documents etc.%)

      This would work absolutely fine on a LAN with no laptops at the moment, everyone has their desktop layout wherever they log in (due to roaming profiles), and their bigger folders are accessed on-demand from the server (folder redirection).

      The problem you then encounter is that you’ve got laptops. People take their laptops home, and are pretty unlikely to be connected to your server from home. This means they can’t access their roaming profile, nor can they access their ‘My Documents’. BINGO! Offline files. Set up offline files to sync with their individual share on the server. This means that their roaming profile, documents, desktop, app data etc. is synched between their laptop and the server. When they go back to your LAN changes they’ve made to their documents and roaming profile are updated!

      Hope this helps, if you need some clearer explanations don’t hesitate to ask 😀


      • #2895803

        For Matt

        by jlau ·

        In reply to Simple.

        Do you have all the steps that you can send me so that I can minimize the login/logout time thanks.

Viewing 13 reply threads