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Making NT users See the Same Desktop

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip

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Posted: 9 Jun 1999

Want to make sure all your NT users see the same desktop? Desktop uniformity certainly makes it easier for you to troubleshoot when things go wrong. Well, it's a cinch using NT profiles. Basically, you just create an NT user policy that contains the profiles you want to enforce, and then associate all the users to it.

Profiles contain desktop settings and other information related to your user name. Settings saved in the user profile include taskbar, control panel settings, Explorer setting, and more.

Profiles can exist as local profiles, or roaming profiles. Local profiles are profiles that are maintained on a single NT workstation. They allow different users to log in to the local machine and receive their customized desktop setup. Roaming profiles are stored on a server and allow the user to move from one NT workstation to another and receive the same profile information.

Local Profiles are enabled by default and cannot be disabled. The profile information is stored by default on the local machine in the directory <drive>/winnt / profiles / <user name>.

Roaming Profiles can be set up either in NT or through NDS. They should not be set up on both.

Setting them up in NT 4.0

Roaming profiles are enabled by choosing Start / Programs / Administrative Tools / User Manager or User Manager for Domains/choose the user/Profile. Then just setup as desired.

Setting them up in ZEN

Roaming profiles are enabled by setting up an NT user policy package in NWAdmin. Once the policy package is set up, just choose NT Desktop Preferences / Roaming Profiles tab. Then just setup as desired.

If you want to make this profile mandatory (so they have to use it), choose Store Profile in a NetWare File System Directory.


Some people find roaming profiles to be a bad idea. One reader offers this advice:

"Make sure users don't add a briefcase to their roaming profile. I had one user who had a briefcase on her desktop which was 70+ Mb. She got a little frustrated every day when she logged in."

Another reader said:

"We've found roaming profiles to be a bad idea. Some users have multi-megabyte profiles (43Mb is the largest I have seen so far), and they become mighty unhappy when they login anywhere except their home location and have to wait while all those megabytes get sucked across the WAN. And if you've got a couple hundred users on a server, that's a lot of extra space being consumed on the server volume, which has to be backed up. For our present workstation build we have disabled roaming profiles."

More Info

For more information about roaming profiles, check out TID# 10023020, MS Roaming Profiles and ZEN DLU Summary.

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