Enabling Roaming User Profiles

Roaming User Profiles provide a way to give users a familiar and easy-to-use working environment. Unlike a local profile, which is stored on a single computer running Windows 2000 Professional, a roaming profile is stored on a network share, which means it can be accessed from any Windows 2000–based computer on the network.

Whether a user profile is local or roaming, it contains a number of folders, including, but not limited to, Application Data, Desktop, Favorites, My Documents, and Start Menu.

In general, the implementation of Roaming User Profiles in Windows 2000 is similar to the Windows NT 4.0 implementation. For more information about the similarities and differences, see "Introduction to Desktop Management" in the Microsoft   Windows   2000 Server Resource Kit Distributed Systems Guide.

To set up a roaming user profile

  1. Set up the network share to store user profiles on a server.

  2. Configure the folder as a shared folder.

  3. Open the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in and navigate to the specific node where the user's properties exist.

  4. Right-click the user's name and click Properties on the shortcut menu.

  5. Click the Profile tab.

  6. For the profile path, type in the path to the network share where the user profiles are to be stored. For example, for a user whose network name is MaryK, the following path, \\NetworkShare\Profiles\%MaryK%, would create a directory called MaryK in the Profiles share on the server used to store user profiles.

Only items stored on the network will roam. This means that other items, such as screen savers and wallpaper, will not be available unless copies of those items are stored on each computer from which the user logs on.

Guidelines for Setting Up Roaming User Profiles

Roaming User Profiles can have advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that both personal settings and documents can follow the user from computer to computer. The potential disadvantage involves the amount of network traffic that it can create. You will need to test detailed usage scenarios to determine the appropriate level of roaming support for your organization. The use of Roaming User Profiles is not recommended for remote access users who access the network over slow links such as telephone lines.