Why are user
profiles on multiple platforms such a challenge?
It is common for
users to access multiple computing devices. The challenge with any type of
roaming profile results from the differences between systems on these devices.
For example, if I create a shortcut on my desktop to a local file that does not
exist when I move to a different device, I have a broken shortcut on my
A similar issue
exists when roaming between a desktop operating system (OS) and a server OS.
Some settings may not be applicable on the server (such as power settings or
video settings). Furthermore, if applications are not installed similarly on
each device, when I roam other issues may emerge.
personalization settings (such as My Documents, Favorites, and other files that
function independently of OS or application version) are much easier to manage
than others. But even these settings may be difficult to roam when a document
type is only supported on one system. For example, a user has Microsoft Project
installed on one system, but on another device that file type is not
recognized. This situation is exacerbated if the same application is present on
two systems but on one different add-ons are installed and expected by a
changing the way an application is installed cause issues?
platforms are identically installed, if an application is configured
differently on each, errors may occur when the application starts. For example,
a macro or add-on might activate in Excel on one platform but not another.
The Start menu
contains links (LNK and LNK2 files). The user-specific part of the menu is
stored in the profile and can often be modified by users. Adding custom links
(to executables or documents) is not uncommon. In addition, links that are
language-specific result in multiple Start menu entries for the same
application. Furthermore, links pointing to documents might be invalid on other
computers because the path to the document is relative to another system, or it
is a network path that is inaccessible.
By default, the
content of the Start menu folder is not saved by Profile management because
links pointing to executables are often computer-dependent. However, in
situations where the systems are very similar, including the Start menu in your
Profile management configuration improves the consistency when users roam from
desktop to desktop. Alternatively, you can process the Start menu with folder
side effects can often result from what appears to be the most innocuous of
changes. For example, see the article
Profile Manager (UPM) and the Broken Rootdrive
on the Sepago blog.
Always test and
verify the behavior of the Start menu across platforms.
The Quick Launch
toolbar contains links and is configurable by users. By default, the Quick
Launch toolbar is saved by Profile management. In some environments this might
not be desirable because the links may be computer-dependent.
To exclude the
toolbar from profiles, add the following entry to the folder exclusion list:
AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch.
What types of
profiles should I create?
Because of the
difference in their structure, Citrix recommends creating separate Version 1
and Version 2 profiles for each user in any environment that contains multiple
platforms. Differences between the Windows Vista and Windows 7 profile
namespace make it difficult to share profiles across these platforms, and
failures can also occur between Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. For more
information on Version 1 and Version 2 profiles, see
The definition of
multiple platforms here includes not just multiple operating systems (including
ones of different bitness) but also multiple application versions running on
the same operating system. The following examples illustrate the reasons for
- 32-bit systems
may contain registry keys that instruct the operating system to start
applications in locations specific to 32-bit operating systems. If the keys are
used by a Citrix user profile on a 64-bit system, the location might not exist
on that system and the application will fail to start.
- Microsoft Office
2003, Office 2007, and Office 2010 store some Word settings in different
registry keys; even if these applications run on the same operating system, you
should create separate profiles for the three different versions of the Word
using Microsoft folder redirection with Citrix user profiles to help ensure
profile interoperability, but within an environment where Windows Vista or
Windows 7 must co-exist with Windows XP, it is even more important.
Tip: Depending on your organization’s data management policy, it is
good practice to delete profiles from the user store and the cross-platform
settings store for user accounts that have been removed from Active Directory.