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Create a roaming user profile

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

To create a roaming user profile

  1. Create a folder on the server where user profiles will be stored. This will be the top-level folder that contains all the individual user profiles.

  2. Configure the folder as a shared folder and give all users Full Control permissions.

  3. Open Active Directory Users and Computers and navigate to the individual's User object.

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

  5. Click the Profile tab. For the Profile Path, type the path to the shared folder where the user profile is to be stored. For example, for a user whose network name is pwest, the following path, \\NetworkShare\Profiles\%username%, would create a directory called pwest in the Profiles folder on the server used to store user profiles.


  • To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Account Operators group, Domain Admins group, or the Enterprise Admins group in Active Directory, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. As a security best practice, consider using Run as to perform this procedure. For more information, see Default local groups, Default groups, and Using Run as.

  • To open Active Directory Users and Computers, click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Active Directory Users and Computers.

  • Use a full path in each user account:


  • The user profile path location can be on any server. It does not have to be a domain controller. When the user logs on, Windows checks the user's account to see if a user profile path exits. If it does, the user profile is located by the system and copied to the local computer.

  • To provide better security, user profiles and home folders should be created on an NTFS volume.

  • The user account can be created in any organizational unit or container within the domain. The default location for the user account is the Users folder.

  • The Windows Server 2003 family does not support the use of encrypted files within the roaming user profile.

  • Roaming user profiles that are used with Terminal Services clients are not replicated to the server until the interactive user logs off and the interactive session is closed.

Information about functional differences

  • Your server might function differently based on the version and edition of the operating system that is installed, your account permissions, and your menu settings. For more information, see Viewing Help on the Web.

See Also


Using roaming user profiles
Working with MMC console files
Add a home folder to a profile