17 January 2012

How to: Disable Roaming Profiles

I have previously used Roaming Profiles, mostly for re-creating a user’s profile when their computer dies. They do have their advantages but they also don’t fail gracefully. There are also some fundamental problems such as:
  • Software may not be installed on the machine: the profile may have links to software installed on the original machine but when they log in to another computer it may not be installed there (or appropriate to install it) so they will not be able to use that software on that machine. This can lead to confusion both with the user and OS.
  • Not always appropriate to drag profile from one machine to another e.g. a desktop profile with background picture of your kids etc. is not suitable to log in to a server with.
Even MS’s own “Recommendations for Roaming User Profiles” include suggestions such as “Make sure that the applications are installed using the same path and drive on all client computers.” which isn’t always possible.

How To Disable Roaming Profiles
This can be done on a per-user (Users; [User]; User properties; Profile tab; Profile path) or per-machine basis or in the Active Directory GPO. Here are the instructions for the computer policy which I prefer to use as to me in my scenario it is more appropriate to implement via a GPO/per-machine basis:
  1. Open Group Policy Management
  2. Navigate to: Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\User Profiles.
  3. Enable “Only allow local user profiles” and “Prevent Roaming Profile Changes from propagating to the server” to disable roaming profiles on this machine or GPO.

1 comment:

  1. Any advice on the best way to set up Windows workstations with user accounts similar to Linux?

    At work, it takes forever to log in to the Windows machines but we need it for Photoshop and 3dsmax. My guess it is the Roaming Profile issue that you have mentioned above.

    We have tried Windows Virtualization but those programs do not run well. Our users prefer Windows, our sysadmin prefers Linux.