Product Documentation

Frequently asked questions about profiles on multiple platforms and Profile management migration

May 08, 2015

This section contains questions and answers about using profiles in environments with multiple Windows operating systems, or multiple versions or bitnesses of a single operating system.

For answers to frequently asked questions about upgrades, see Frequently asked questions about upgrading Profile management.

How can I be certain of avoiding compatibility issues with my profiles?

This requires balancing the need to support heterogeneous environments with the need for personalization settings to track users and their devices. Typically, the balance between these two needs can only be determined by administrators and IT departments. This means managing the different systems by adjusting the user profiles as follows. When profiles roam, any issues should be handled properly or, if really necessary, settings should be completely ignored and not tracked at all. This is the basis of many third-party software solutions.

To minimize troubleshooting, try and roam profiles across exactly the same device setup (installed applications, OS version, and so on). In many scenarios in the modern world however, that is not easily achieved, which makes for an imperfect user experience. For example, a user should not need to replicate their Favorites or My Documents just because they use multiple operating systems. Administrators can enhance the user experience in this case by using Folder Redirection. The use of this Microsoft feature is also encouraged in other scenarios.

Can I share profiles across different systems?

Citrix recommends having one base profile for each platform. This is not necessarily the same as one profile per operating system. For more information on this recommendation, see Plan for multiple platforms This minimizes the number of settings that may not work well together or that do not apply to any given OS. For example, desktop power settings are not applicable in a server scenario or one involving Remote Desktop Services (formerly Terminal Services).

As you try to simplify and reduce the number of profiles and they are used on more than one OS, there is greater risk of conflicting settings. This is further compounded when the systems are not the same. For example, Microsoft Office add-ins may not exist on every device. Fortunately, settings such as this one that are not applicable on a given device are often ignored. Support issues arise when they are not ignored. Microsoft Excel fails to start if an add-in is not present.

How does Profile management enable settings across multiple versions or platforms?

Citrix provides the ability to roam common settings across multiple base profiles. Citrix enables roaming of settings such as Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, and wallpaper. The ability to support these types of scenarios is limited by the degree to which applications support the roaming of settings between platforms. The links in the next question cover Microsoft's position and best practices.

How does Microsoft support roaming profiles across platforms and versions?

For best practices for roaming profiles, see

For recommended strategies to roam Outlook, see

For Office installation recommendations, see

For Office 2007 toolbar settings, see

Where the standard Microsoft Windows profile solutions do not fully address technical, custom, or business requirements, Profile management represents a viable solution.

Is sharing a profile between x86 and x64 platforms possible?

Sharing one profile between Windows x86 and x64 might generally work, but some issues are possible.

There are several reasons for this. For example, one reason is that per-use file associations are stored in HKCU\Software\Classes. If a non-administrator sets Firefox as their default browser, the following is stored on a 32-bit system:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\FirefoxHTML\shell\open\command -> "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -requestPending -osint -url "%1"

If a profile containing this path is used on Windows x64, the OS looks for a 64-bit version of Firefox, but this does not exist. Instead, a 32-bit version is probably installed at C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox. This results in the browser not starting.

The reverse is also true; a path is set on an x64 platform but is used on an x86 one.

I want to test how one profile behaves across multiple platforms. Where do I start?

Testing and validating are key to experimenting with the use of one profile on more than one platform. The recommended approach is to have one profile per platform, but if you want to explore how a single profile behaves across multiple platforms, the following information may be helpful.

Start by identifying what might cause issues by answering the next question, and use the remaining questions in this topic for ideas for tackling and tracking the issues.

Items that will work across platforms:

  • My Documents and Favorites
  • Applications that store their configuration information (with defaults) completely within the profile
Items that might not work:
  • Applications that store hard-coded data, path data, and so on
  • Settings specific to x64 or x86 platforms
  • Installations of applications that are not identical, such as Excel Add-ins that are not present on all systems. These might cause all types of error conditions that vary by application

Can I assign profiles based on the computer a user logs on to?

Yes. Profile management can apply a profile based on the local desktop, XenApp, or XenDesktop, or any combination of these.

With the correct Profile management setting enabled, a Remote Desktop Services (formerly Terminal Services) profile is used only when a user has a Terminal Server or XenApp session. This setting overrides any existing profile (except for a Citrix user profile) when the user logs on through a Remote Desktop Services session.

On Windows 7, you can use a GPO computer setting to assign a profile based on the computer a user logs on to. Again, because this is based on GP, the profile assignment depends on the OU to which the GPO is applied.

Why are profile assignments based on computer desirable?

It is very useful to assign a profile to the computer a user logs on to if a distinct user experience is desired. For example, administrators may decide that profiles used with Remote Desktop Services (formerly Terminal Server) sessions are kept separate from profiles used with desktops.

Does Profile management migrate Windows user profiles to Citrix user profiles?

You can configure Profile management to automatically migrate existing roaming and local profiles when users log on. You can also use a template profile or the default Windows profile as the basis for new Citrix user profiles.

For information about planning and setting up your Profile management migration, see Migrate profiles? New profiles?. For details of how the software migrates Windows user profiles to Citrix user profiles, see Logon diagram.

Which profiles can be migrated to Citrix user profiles?

Profile management can migrate Windows local profiles and Windows roaming profiles. Mandatory profiles (.man files) are ignored by Profile management but they can be used as templates for Citrix user profiles. To ensure Profile management works correctly, deactivate the assignment of mandatory profiles to all users.

To use your existing Windows mandatory profile as a template, see To specify a template or mandatory profile.

How do I use a template profile?

Profile management allows you to specify a template profile that is used as the basis for the creation of new Citrix user profiles. Typically, a user who is assigned a profile for the first time receives the default user profile of the Windows device they log on to. This may be acceptable, but it means any variation in different devices’ default user profiles results in differences in the base profile created for the user. Therefore, you can regard the template profile feature as a global default user profile.

If you want to prevent users making any changes to their profile data, you can also identify a template profile as a Citrix mandatory profile.

For more information, see To specify a template or mandatory profile.