Cincinnerdi Tech Stuff

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The fine points of Roaming Profiles and Folder Redirection

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Books on this subject have been somewhat sketchy, so I was happy to find some great resources on Microsoft’s site (a rare occurence) about these topics, especially a white paper titled “User Data and Settings Management“. I printed and filed this. I want this to lead to a “How to setup all details of a domain workstation computer and user” which will include:

  • XP computer disks setup including drive letter mappings
  • XP installation settings for unattended operation
  • Remove local Administrator from being able to deactivate Windows Update (see web article)
  • Establishment of Default User profile (domain and local)
  • All Group Policy Administrative Templates
  • Configuration Roaming Profiles and Folder Redirection (this is the start of this)

This is a working list and can / will be modified.

Off we go. I installed the GPMC.msi (Group Policy Management Console) and established a policy for Fam Users called Fam Users GP (catchy, huh?) I turned off the fast logon enhancement at this OU/User level(at Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Logon.)

I created a folder “C:\User profiles” and shared it following the less secure Step-by-Step Guide to User Data and User Settings giving Everyone full control and adding the “write” NTFS permission to Users. Another article suggests far more strict controls, but I just want to get this working.

I edited the Scott… account and in the Profile tab entered a profile path \\red-srv1\Users profiles\%username% and noticed that when brought back up again the variable had changed to the literal “scott”.

The book says to try it out, but I’m going full tilt with folder redirection. I created a folder “C:\User data” and shared it as User data$ (so it would be hidden.) I clicked the Caching button (renamed from Offline Settings) and chose “All files and programs that users open from the share will be automatically available offline” and “Optimized for performance”. Again I gave Everyone full control and added the “write” NTFS permission to Users. In that same Fam Users OU, I opened the GP for User Configuration / Windows Settings / Folder Redirection.

I found that I had named the folder Users data and shared it as Users data$, but had setup the GPO or the singular User. The workstation Event Viewer gave a handy note that it couln’t find a share. I changed this and it worked! A couple of strange things though:

  • Even though I had turned off Fast Logon, when I logged in yeslek it did the Profile thingy (in fact the Roaming Profile ran without a hitch from the word go) but did not setup the folder redirection. The Event Viewer basically showed a message that said, “Yeah, that folder redirection thing will work on the next logon because we wanted the user logon to be fast and spiffy.” Okay, that paraphrasing, but indeed a logout & login.
  • The yeslek background “Ducky” evapaporated. When I put another one on, it stayed but only for THAT computer and did not roam.
  • Scott’s background color scheme was changed to green and DID roam.
  • On the Vista RC1 PC, it seemed to work okay, what with “syncronized” icons on the desktop and such. The User data$ folder was certainly not hidden in Vista. Seems like that’s just blown that facility off.
  • Also in Vista, when I edited a file on yeslek, saved it to My Documents, then pulled the network patch cable. It seemed to freeze for a bit. On an XP machine, a notification area icon popped up saying I was disconnected from the network and that I could continue to work. When I replugged it, it said I was back on line and could resync.
  • But the BIG MISTAKE I made was when I decided to get rid of that $ and the end of the share “Users data$.” I totally screwed up the workstation which complained that the necessary offline file folder was unavailable so it DISCONNECTED the PC from the network repeatedly. So HOW DO YOU modifiy an established offline files / folder redirection thingy????
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Written by scottledyard

2006, December 16th at 8:38 pm

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