Product Documentation

Managing Roaming User Profiles

Mar 08, 2017

A Roaming User Profile is a user profile that resides on a network share. It consists of files and folders containing the user’s personal settings and documents. When a user logs on to a target device system in the domain, Windows copies the respective profile from a network share to the target device’s disk. When the user logs off, Windows synchronizes the user profile on the target device’s hard disk with the user profile on the network share.

For a diskless target device, its disk is actually a vDisk residing in shared storage. Consequently, the profile returns back to the shared storage containing the vDisk. Since the persistent user data always resides on shared storage, Windows does not need to download the profile. This saves time, network bandwidth, and file cache. Since some of the files included in the profile can grow very large, the savings can be significant.

Using Roaming User Profiles with diskless systems involves configuring relevant policies and using Folder Redirection.

Although unrelated to Roaming User Profiles, the Offline Folders feature affects diskless systems similarly. Disabling this feature avoids the same effects.

On the domain controller, use the Microsoft Management Console with the Group Policy snap-in to configure the domain policies for the following objects.

Configuring Roaming User Profiles

Configuring Roaming User Profiles for diskless systems enables roaming without having to download potentially large files in the profile.

On the domain controller, use the Microsoft Management Console with the Group Policy snap-in to configure the domain policies for the following objects.

To prevent the accumulation of Roaming User Profiles on a vDisk:

Object Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Logon
Policy Delete cached copies of roaming profiles.
Setting Enabled

To exclude directories with potentially large files from download:

Object User Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Logon/Logoff
Policy Exclude directories in roaming profile
Setting Enabled
Properties Prevent the following directories from roaming with the profile: Application Data; Desktop; My Documents; Start Menu.

Configuring Folder Redirection with Roaming User Profiles

Using Folder Redirection with Roaming User Profiles and diskless systems retains the availability of user documents.

On the domain controller, use the Microsoft Management Console with the Group Policy snap-in to configure the domain policies for the objects that follow.

To configure folder redirection:
  1. Create a network share (\\ServerName\ShareName) to contain the redirected user folders.
  2. Give Full Control permission to everyone for the network share.
  3. Enable Folder Redirection.
    Object

    Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Group Policy

    Policy Folder Redirection policy processing
    Setting Enabled
  4. Redirect the Application Data folder.
    Object

    User Configuration\Windows Settings\Folder Redirection\Application Data

    Properties

    Basic or Advanced

    Target folder location:

    \\ServerName\ShareName\%username%\Application Data

  5. Redirect the Desktop folder.
    Object

    User Configuration\Windows Settings\Folder Redirection\Desktop

    Properties

    Basic or Advanced

    Target folder location:

    \\ServerName\ShareName\%username%\Desktop

  6. Redirect the My Documents folder.
    Object

    User Configuration\Windows Settings\Folder Redirection\My Documents

    Properties

    Basic or Advanced

    Target folder location:

    \\ServerName\ShareName\%username%\My Documents

  7. Redirect the Start Menu folder.
    Object

    User Configuration\Windows Settings\Folder Redirection\Start Menu

    Properties

    Basic or Advanced

    Target folder location:

    \\ServerName\ShareName\%username%\Start Menu

Disabling Offline Folders

Disabling Offline Folders avoids the unnecessary caching of files on diskless systems with network shares.

On the domain controller, use the Microsoft Management Console with the Group Policy snap-in to configure the domain policies for the object that follows.

To disable offline folders:

Object

User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Network\Offline Files

Policy

Setting

Disable user configuration of Offline Files.

Enabled

Policy

Setting

Synchronize all Offline Files before logging off.

Disabled

Policy

Setting

Prevent user of Offline Files folder.

Enabled