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Troubleshooting Roaming Profiles on Windows NT/2000 and the Novell Client

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature

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Posted: 16 Nov 2001

Current Version: ZENworks for Desktops 3.2

Microsoft Windows NT allows users to customize their desktop and to have that custom configuration follow them throughout the network. This is called a roaming profile. The IntranetWare Client for Windows NT 4.11a and the Novell Client for Windows NT 4.30 extend the capability of roaming profiles so that they can be stored on a NetWare file server. Here is some information on configuring roaming profiles, known issues, and troubleshooting using the Novell clients.

For more information, see TID 10052201.

Configuring Roaming Profiles

  1. If the 4.11a client is installed, roaming profiles stored on NetWare servers can be enabled via the client control panel on the Advanced Login tab. Simply select Enable IntranetWare storage of roaming profiles and then choose the location to store the profile. In most cases, "Relative to Home Directory" should be used. However, in the event that a mandatory profiles is desired then the option for "Relative to Home Directory" should be unmarked and a UNC path should entered into the field for IntranetWare File System.
  2. If the 4.30 client is installed, roaming profiles can only be enabled by creating a ZENworks NT User Policy Package, enabling NT Desktop Preferences policy, and selecting the "Roaming Profiles" tab. This page is the same as was previously in the client control panel. At this point, set the appropriate storage location for the roaming profile.
  3. If the 4.30 client is installed, the workstation manager service must also be installed in order to read the ZENworks policies to enable roaming profiles.
  4. If the Novell 4.8 Client is installed with ZENworks for Desktops 3, the use of roaming profiles can be enabled by use of a User policy package. Profiles can be made to store in the user's set home directory, or a specific UNC path. The package is created in ConsoleOne and roaming profiles are configured within the enabled NT Desktop Preferences policy.

Known Issues

  • If a user runs out of disk space on the network storage point, the profile will not be written to the network. In most cases this results in the roaming profile being corrupted. This issue occurs in both the 4.11a client as well as the 4.30.
  • With the 4.11a client there appears to have been a problem with the NTUSER.DAT not always being closed on logout. This would result in the NTUSER.DAT not being able to be read on subsequent warm logins. The result is the creation of a local profile named user.00x. This issue appears to have been corrected in the Novell Client for Windows NT 4.30.
  • In the 4.11a client there was a problem where the local profile could not be read by the client. This would result in an Access Denied message when viewed with a debugger and would create a default user profile for the user. This was corrected in the NT411P1.EXE patch for the 4.11a client. This fix was rolled into the 4.30 client prior to its release.
  • Microsoft policies can cause the loss of profiles through the setting of Custom Folders in an NT User or Group Policy. This is also true of the corresponding ZENworks policies.
  • On Windows 2000, roaming profile update at logout as described in Microsoft support document Q253820. This issue can be identified by a message indicating "the local profile is newer than the roaming profile" at each login. An entry will also be made in the event viewer at logout. See the Microsoft document for details.


  1. Verify that roaming profiles have been correctly enabled either in the client with 4.11a or by correctly associating the user with a ZENworks NT User Policy Package.
  2. Verify that the user has sufficient space on the network storage point to store the profile.
  3. Ensure that OS/2 namespace (3.1x, 4.10) or LONG namespace (4.11) has been loaded for the network volume. When storing a roaming profile, it will create the "Windows NT 4.0 Workstation Profile" directory to store it in. If the NetWare file server does not support LFN (Long FileName) Directories, then it will not be able to save the profile to the NetWare server.
  4. Ensure that the DeleteRoamingCache setting in the registry at HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/Winlogon key is set to the appropriate setting for your environment.

    Note: DeleteRoamingCache will delete the user's local copy of the roaming profile during logout. This can be a problem if there is a problem writing the profile to the network and there will be no local profile to fall back on, in this case the profile would have to be re-created. Furthermore, if at a later time the roaming profiles were turned off for the user the result would be a lost profile.

  5. Verify that you are not encountering the issue described in TID 2939925. This document described a problem with losing the profile if using Workstation Manager 1.0 to upgrade from the 4.11a to the 4.3 client.
  6. Disable virus scanning software and other service which may be locking the registry.
  7. Try troubleshooting the Microsoft's environment as described in MS Technical Documents: Q174520, QQ177662, and Q154120.
  8. Check the Microsoft information for Q273473. The attributes of the files on the server does not matter. The problem is with the copy from the workstation to the server. A temporary fix, or test to confirm the issue, is to manually remove, (or run a batch file on logout) that removes the RO attrib from the profile.
  9. Most builds of Microsoft Windows 2000 have the ability to write profile and policy activity to a log file which can very helpful in troubleshooting. To enable this debug feature, consult Microsoft support document Q221833. The same logging can be used with Windows NT, but requires the use of a checked USERENV.DLL file. See document Q185588 for details.
  10. Also check to make sure that you do not have any naming problems in your tree. This means that if you have an OU or an O named the same as your tree, or a server named the same as your tree or OU, then the resolution of the path to where your profile will be saved will not resolve correctly.
  11. Apply Windows 2000 Support Pack 2.
  12. Verify that the user is a roaming user based on the following registry key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\S - Number (SID number is unique for every user)\CentralProfile. If the CentralProfile value is a UNC path to the server where the Roaming Profile is stored, the user will be considered a "roaming" type user as seen in My Computer properties, User Profiles tab. If this value is blank, the user will be considerd a "local" type user.

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