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8/21/2015

HowtoconfigureRoamingProfilesandFolderRedirection

HowtoconfigureRoamingProfilesand
FolderRedirection
Postedby
on
AlanBurchill

18August2010,7:00pm

ReadMeFirst:IfyouareusingFolderRedirectionwithWindows7inyourorganisationthenIwould
definitelyrecommendthatyoucheckmyotherblogpostaboutaprettynastyFolderredirectionbug
andhowtofixitatDisappearingFolderRedirectionIssueswithWindows7
Update:IhavenewblogpostthatdescribesthenewPrimaryComputerfeatureinWindows8
forfolderredirectionatHowtoconfigureaPrimaryComputer(a.k.a.msDSPrimaryComputer
property)inWindows8IalsotalkaboutthisfeatureinaTechNetEdgevideoatEdgeShow55
RoamingProfilesandFolderredirectioniswhatallowsausertologonontoanycomputerinan
organisationsandhavealltheirpersonalfilesandsettingapplytothatcomputerasitwasthelast
timetheyusedacomputer.ThisisreallyaWin/WinforUsersandITProsasforauserthisisabig
timesaverastheynolongerneedtowastetimesettinguptheirdrives,printersandotherpersonal
settingswhentheyhavetouseanothercomputers.ITProsalsobenefitwhenthereisanun
expectedfailureorlossofacomputerthentheydonthavetogothroughwhatcouldbealengthily,
costlyandifnotimpossible,processofrecoveringtheusersdata.
NowtheoreticallyUserStateVirtualizationcanbetotallydonewithjustaRoamingProfile,however
thisquicklybecomesimpracticalasusersoftenstoreaLOTofdatawhichcanmakeusersprofile
impossiblylarge.TogetaroundthisMicrosoftusersfolderredirectiontoessentiallyredirectpartsofa
usersprofiletoafileshareonaserverwhereitiscentrallyaccesswhenevertheylogontoa
computer.
IncaseyoustillwonderingwhatUserStateVirtualizationisthencheckouttheoverviewvideofrom
Microsoftbelow:

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Reference:ManagingRoamingUserDataDeploymentGuide

FolderRedirectionprovidesawayforadministratorstodivideuserdatafromprofiledata.This
divisionofuserdatadecreasesuserlogontimes,andWindowsdownloadslessdata.
Windowsredirectsthelocalfoldertoacentrallocation,givingtheuserimmediateaccessto
theirdatawhentheysaveit,regardlessofthecomputertheyareusing.Thisimmediate
accessremovestheneedtoupdatetheuserprofile.

Byredirectingthesefolderstoaservertheyareonlyaccesswhenneededandthereforeverylarge
filesdonotslowdowntheprofileupdateprocess.Theobviousdisadvantageofdoingthisisthat
whenausercannotaccesstheredirectedfolders(e.g.disconnectedlaptopusers)theyloseaccess
tothesefiles.Howeverthisrestrictionisalsomitigatedbyensuringthattheuserhasacachedcopy
oftheseredirectedfolders.
BelowIamgoingtogothroughanumberoftipsandtrickstomakesureyougetthemostoutofa
UserStateVirtualizationsetupinyourenvironmentandtoensurethatyoudontfallintosome
configurationtraps.
BeforeyoubeginIwouldalsorecommendthatyoureadthefollowingarticlesfromMicrosoftabout
UserStateVirtualization.
ChoosinganAppropriateUserStateVirtualizationSolution
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UnderstandingUserStateVirtualizationImprovementsInWindows7
Note:IamgoingtomainlyfocusonWindowsVista/7setupshowevermostofthesetting/principalsI
domentionbelowwillstillapplytoWindowsXP.
Update:HereisareallygoodvideofromDarrenMarElia(FellowGroupPolicyMVP)fromTechEd
NorthAmerica2011.ThissessionisentitledOptimizingGroupPolicyinVirtualDesktop(VDI)
EnvironmentshowevermuchofitcoversUserStateVirtualization.

0:00

SettingupFolderRedirectionsusingGroupPolicy
BelowIwillshowyouhowtosetupfolderredirectionforyouusersprofiles.Itisveryimportantthat
yourealisetheimpactthatredirectionsomeofthesefoldercanhaveasifusershavemanyGBsof
musicofvideosontheirlocalcomputersyoucouldquicklyfindyourselfrunningoutofdiskspaceon
theserver.
ForanothergoodoverviewofRedirectedFoldertakealookatthevideobelow:

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SettingupfileservershareforUserStateVirtualization
Whensettingupthefileserveryouneedtobesurethatthepermissiononthefolderaresetupsothat
ausercancreateanewfolderhoweveryoualsoneedtoensurethattheycanonlyseetheirownfiles
iftheystarttosnoopabout.
BelowIwillgothoughthesetupofafoldertobeusedforfolderredirectionandtheroamingprofiles.
Combiningausersredirectedfoldersandroamingprofilepathtotheonespotonthenetworkisfar
easiertomanageasitconsolidatesalltheusersinformationinonelocations.
Note:ThisconsolidatedstorageofusersinformationcanonlyappliestoWindowsVista/7systems.
Otherwiseyouwillneedtocreateaseparateshareforroamingprofileswithofflinecachingdisabled
forWindowsXPsystems.
Step1.Createafoldertobeusedasarootfolderforalltheusersinformation(e.g.Users)
Step2.OpenthepropertiesofthefolderandthengototheSecuritytabandthenclickonthe
Advancedbutton.

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Step3.NowclickontheChangePermissionsbutton

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Step4.UntickIncludeinheritablepermissionformthisobjectsparent.

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Step5.ClicktheAddbutton

Explanation:Wehavenowsetupafolderwithnoinheritablefilepermissionsfromtheparent.Wedo
thissowecanremovetheReadpermissionfromUsersforallsubfoldersandfilesinalaterstep.
Youshouldnowseesomethinglikethisbelow.

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Step6.SelecttheUsersSpecialACLandthenclicktheEditButton.

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Step7.ChangetheApplyto:permissiontoThisfolderonlyandpressOK

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Step8.SelecttheUsersRead&executeACLandthenclicktheEditbutton.

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Step9.AgainselecttheThisfolderonlyoptionfromtheApplyto:sectionandthenpressOK

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NoticehowthetwoThisfolderonlypermissionsforUsershavenowcombinedintooneACL.
Step10.ThenpressOKandOKtogetyoubacktotheUsersPropertiesscreen.

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Nowweneedtosharethefolder
Step11.ClickontheSharingTabontheUsersPropertiesscreenandthenclickontheAdvanced
Sharingbutton.

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Step12.TickSharethisfolderandgivethetypeinasharenameendingwitha$(e.g.Users$)then
clickonthePermissionsButton.
Note:The$symbolattheendofthesharenamemakesithiddentoauserssotheycannotbrowser
tothefolder.Thisisnotnecessarybutitisgoodpracticetohelpstopnoseyusers.
Reference:http://blogs.technet.com/b/askds/archive/2008/06/30/automaticcreationofuserfolders
forhomeroamingprofileandredirectedfolders.aspx

youshouldalwayshidetheprofileshareusingadollarsign($).

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Step13.TickAllowfortheFullControlpermissions(changeshouldthengetautomaticallyticked)
andthenpressOKthenOKthenClose.

(Optional)SettingupRoamingProfileFolder
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IfyouarestillusingWindowsXPthenIwouldrecommendconfiguringtheroamingprofilefolderisthe
sameastheUsersfolderfortheredirectedfoldersexceptthatyouneedtodisablefilecaching.
SimplerepeatthestepsaboveforSettingupfileservershareforUserStateVirtualizationinstead
usethefoldernamecalledProfilesandasharenamecalledProfiles$.
Afteryouconfigurethesharepermissions(seestep13above)alsoclickontheCachingbuttonand
selecttheNoFilesorprogramsfromthesharefolderareavailableofflineoptionsthenpressOK
thenOKthenClose.
Reference:http://blogs.technet.com/b/askds/archive/2008/06/30/automaticcreationofuserfolders
forhomeroamingprofileandredirectedfolders.aspx

YoushoulddisableOfflineFiles

EnablingAccessBasedEnumeration
NowwearegoingtoenableAccessBasedEnumerationfortheUsers$sharesothatanyusersthat
manuallygoesto\\server04.contoso.local\users$willonlyseetheirownfolder.Thisisoptional
howeverasitsimplestopsyoursnoopingusersfromseeingwhoelseisintheorganisation.
Reference:http://blogs.technet.com/b/askds/archive/2008/06/30/automaticcreationofuserfolders
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forhomeroamingprofileandredirectedfolders.aspx

ThislastpartisfortheformerNovellAdminsoutthere.Yes,youcoulduseAccessBased
Enumeration(ABE)onthesenewshareshoweverifthereisgoingtoalotofuserfolderson
anyoneofthesesharesyoucouldexperiencedegradationofperformance.EnablingABEon
asharedoescomeatapriceofperformance.

Step1.OpenServerManagerandexpandRoles>FileServices>ShareandStorageManagement
andthenhighlighttheUsers$share

Step2.FromthemenuclickonActionandthenPropertiesandthenclicktheAdvancedbutton

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Step3:TickEnableaccessbasedenumerationandthenclickOK

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Step4.ClickOK

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Thefolderonyourserverisnowreadyforyourusersroamingprofiles(WindowsVista/7)andfolder
redirections.
Tip:YoucanalsoalsoenableaFileScreenusingtheFileServerResourceManagertopreventyour
usersfromsavingfilestypeofacertainextension(e.g.MP3,AVIorMP4)totheirredirectedfolders.
AnotheroptionthisgivesyouistheabilitytoapplyanAutoApplyQuotatotheusersfoldersandhave
thengetwarningemailmessageswhenevertheyconsumeralotofdiskspace.

HowtoconfiguredRoamingProfilesforauserusingGroup
Policy
Beforewebegin,takethetimetowatchpart2videothatshowsanexampleofhowRoamingProfiles
canbeusedtogiveyourusersabetterexperience.Thisvideoalsodemonstratessomeofthepitfalls
withjustimplementingaroamingprofileforauserwithoutFolderRedirectionenabled.

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PERUSERROAMINGPROFILE
YouhavealwaysbeenabletoconfiguredausersroamingprofilepatchbyconfiguringtheProfile
Pathontheusersaccount(seeimagebelow).Thismethodallowsyoutogranularlyconfigureausers
roamingprofilepathlocationhoweveritisalotmorelaboriousprocesstoensurethattheyare
consistentwiththefolderredirectionpolicythatisalsoappliedtotheusers.

WINDOWS8.1V3ROAMINGPROFILES
Windows8and8.1nowhasanotherversionofroamingprofileswhichareincompatiblewiththe
WindowsVista/7versions(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2887239).AsoftheNovember2013
Windows8.1updatethereisnowaregistrykeyyoucansettospawna.v3profiletoavoidconflicts
witholderversionsoftheprofile.ThisregistrykeyisaDWORDValuecalled
UseProfilePathExtensionVersionwithavalueof1andneedstobecreated
underHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlset\Services\ProfSvc\Parameterskey.This
canbethenbedeployedusingtheGroupPolicyPreferencesRegistryExtensionthatistargetedto
theWindows8.1Computers.

ROAMINGPROFILEEXAMPLES
Belowistheviewofausersroamingprofileconfigured
to\\server04.contoso.local\users$\%username%\profile.IfyouareaWindowsXPuserthiswill
translateto\\server04.contoso.local\users$\sam\profileandifyouareaWindowsVista/7usersthis
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willtranslateto\\server04.contoso.local\users$\sam\profile.v2andifyouareaWindows8.1withthe
UseProfilePathExtensionVersionregistreykeyenableditwill
be\\server04.contoso.local\users$\sam\profile.v3
Explanation:Ihaveadded\profileontotheendofwhatwouldnormallybetheprofilepathsothat
whentheprofileiscreateditisplacedatthesamelevelasalltheotherredirectedfolders.Youwill
seehowthisworkslateroninthispost.
Reference:http://blogs.technet.com/b/askds/archive/2008/06/30/automaticcreationofuserfolders
forhomeroamingprofileandredirectedfolders.aspx

YouconfiguretheprofilelocationontheProfileorTerminalServicesProfiletabwithin
ActiveDirectoryUsersandComputers.

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IfyousetuptheoptionalProfiles$shareforWindowsXPthenyouwillneedtomakesuretheshare
youuseisprofiles$(notusers$)andthereisnoneedfortheadditional\Profilesfoldertobespecified.

OncefeaturethatwasintroducedinnewversionofActiveDirectoryUsersandComputerinWindows
Server2003wastheabilitytoupdateuserattributeswithmultipleusersinoneaction(seeimage
below).Thismadethewholeprocessofconfiguringtheusersprofilepatchmucheasierespecially
whendealingwithmanyusersaccounts.

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PERCOMPUTERROAMINGPROFILE
BeforeWindowsVistatheonlywayyoucouldconfiguretheroamingprofilespathforauserswasby
configuringitontheusersaccountviaActiveDirectoryUsersandComputers.Whileconfiguringthe
roamingprofilepathontheusersaccountisnowfareasierwiththemultipleuserattributeupdate
featurethisstillleftthesettingconfiguredforeachindividualusersandunlessyoudoanauditofall
theuseraccountitispossiblethatsomepathscouldbesetupincorrectly.
HoweverineversinceWindowsVistathereisnowagrouppolicysettingyoucanapplytocomputers
thatconfiguredtheroamingprofilepathforanyonewhologsontothatcomputercalledSetroaming
profilepathforallusersloggingontothiscomputer.
Warning:ThebiggestproblemwiththePerComputerroamingprofileconfigurationisthatthereisno
waytoexcludeyouadministratoraccountsfromalsogettingthispolicyasitisapercomputerpolicy.
Thismeansifanyadministratorlogsontoaworkstationwiththispolicyappliedtheywillbe
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configuredtousearoamingprofile.
Step1.EditaGroupPolicyobjectthatistargetedtoyourworkstations
Step2.NavigatetoComputerConfiguration>Policies>AdministrativeTemplates>System>User
ProfilesandenabletheSetroamingprofilepathforallusersloggingontothiscomputerand
configurethepathto\\PROFILESERVERNAME\Users$\%username%\profile.
Explanation:Ihaveadded\profileontotheendofwhatwouldnormallybetheprofilepathsothat
whentheprofileiscreateditisplacedatthesamelevelasalltheotherredirectedfolders.Youwill
seehowthisworkslateroninthispost.

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IfyouarestillrunningWindowsXPthispolicyworksverywellifyouhaveusedageographicalOU
structure(seeBestPractice:ActiveDirectoryStructureGuidelinesPart1)foryourworkstationsas
youwillbeabletosendtheusersroamingprofilepathforeachusertoalocalfileserver.Thiswould
allowyoutopointusersinthelocalsitetotheclosest/quickestroamingprofileservertoreducethe
timeittakestologonandlogoff.HoweverasWindowsVistaandWindows7nowuploadstheprofile
asynchronouslyloadingtheprofileviaahigherlatencylowerbandwidthlinkisnotsonoticeable
unlesstheusershasneverloggedontothatcomputerbefore.

WHICHDOIRECOMMEND?
AmazinglyIamnotgoingtorecommendthepercomputerGroupPolicymethodasthereisnoway
youcangetaroundnothavingaroamingprofileifyoulogonasanadministrator.Thisisarealshow
stopperasIthinkitisreallybadforadministratoraccountsshouldnotbeencumberedwithcrudin
theirprofilewhenloggingontoacomputer.
ThereforeIrecommendtheperuserroamingprofileconfigurationmethod,whichismademuch
easiertodowiththemultipleuserattributeupdateoptionyougetwiththenewerversionofActive
DirectoryUsersandComputers.

OtherRoamingProfileGroupPolicysettings
InthissectionIwillgothrough(innoparticularorder)theGroupPolicysettingsIrecommendyou
configureforsettinguproamingprofiles.
ComputerConfiguration>Policies>AdministrativeTemplates>System
Verbosevsnormalstatusmessages
Reference:ManagingRoamingUserDataDeploymentGuide

WindowsVistaprovideslittleinformationaboutthestatusofloadingorunloadingroaming
profilesduringuserlogonandlogoff.Thislackofinformationismisleadingandmaygivea
usertheimpressionWindowsVistaisunresponsive.

ComputerConfiguration>Policies>AdministrativeTemplates>Systems>UserProfiles
AddtheAdministratorsecuritygrouptoroamingusersprofiles(HIGHLYRECOMMEND)
Backgrounduploadofaroaminguserprofilesregistryfilewhileuserisloggedon
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Deleteuseprofilesolderthanaspecifiednumberofdaysonsystemrestart
UsersConfiguration>Policies>AdministrativeTemplates>Systems>UserProfiles
DonotcheckforusersownershipofRoamingProfileFolders
Usefullyifyouaredoingacrossdomain/forestmigrationofuseraccounts.Alsoreduceslogonissues
causedbyincorrectlysetpermissionsonthefolders.
Limitprofilesize(NOTRECOMMENDED)
Reference:ManagingRoamingUserDataDeploymentGuide

Vistastillrespectsthispolicysettinghowever,nolongerpreventstheuserfromloggingoff
thecomputer.Windowsdoesnotsynchronizetheusersprofiletotheprofileserverwhenit
exceedsthepolicyenabledlimit.

Excludedirectoriesinroamingprofile
HandytoexcludeapplicationsthatincorrectlywriteverylargecachesfromtheusersApplicationData
folderifyoudonothavefolderredirectionenabled.
TrustedSites
AsyouareredirectingtheDesktopandStartMenutoanetworklocationyouwillneedto
addthefileserverintothetrustedsiteslistotherwiseWindowswillwarnyouaretryingtorun
aprogramformanuntrustedlocation(seebelow).
Tip:Toavoidhavingtoenterinthenameofeveryfileserverinyourorganisationsimpleaddedthe
DomainnameportionoftheservernamesothatallserverswillbeIntranetZone
(e.g.file://*.contoso.local).SeemyotherblogpostHowtouseGroupPolicytoconfigureInternet
Explorersecurityzonesitesonhowtodothis
ErrorMessageyouwillgetifyoudonotaddyoufileserversintotheIntranetZone.

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Updates:RoamingProfileImprovementinWindows7
BACKGROUNDSYNCHRONISATION
ThemostsignificantimprovementtoRoamingProfileswithWindows7istheintroductionofanew
featurecalledBackgrounduploadofaroaminguserprofilesregistryfilewhileuserisloggedonthis
enablestheITadministratortoscheduleabackgrounduploadoftheusersNTUSER.datfileifthey
dontlogofftheircomputer.Evenifyourusersareinthehabitofloggingoffattheendofthedaythis
isasettingyoushouldconsiderturningontoensurethattheuserssettingsarealwaysbeingbacked
upasfailurescanhappenatanytime.

HowtoconfigureFolderRedirectionviaGroupPolicy
Nowletstakealookathowtosetupfolderredirectionforausersothatthefilesstoredintheir
personalfolders(e.g.Documents,Music&Videos)arestoredonthefileserverandnotonthelocal
computer.Bydefaultallfoldersthatareredirectedareautomaticallymadeavailableofflinewhichis
donesothatuserscanstillaccesstheirpersonalfilesiftheyaredisconnectedfromthefileserver.On
aWindowsXPsystemthiscanaddsubstantialtimetothelogon/logoffprocessastheuserhasto
waitforthefilestobesyncedhoweverinWindowsVista/7thisisdoneinthebackgroundthereforeit
isamuchmoreseamlessprocess.
Step1.EditaGroupPolicyObjectthatistargetedtoyourusersandnavigatetoUserConfiguration>
Policies>WindowsSettings>FolderRedirection>Documents
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NowwearegoingtosetupfolderredirectionsfortheDocuments(a.k.a.MyDocuments)folderas
thisisthemostcommonlyredirectedfolderhoweveryouwillneedtorepeatthesameinstructionsfor
eachoftheotherfolders(ifrequired).
Step2.FromthemenuclickonActionandthenProperties
Step3.SelecttheBasicRedirecteveryonesfoldertothesamelocationoption

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ForthepurposeofthisdemoIamonlygoingtoshowyouhowtosetupaBasicredirection.
Howeverifyouwanttospreadouttheusersamongstmultiplelocationsyoucanusetheadvanced
optionsandapplyadifferentfolderredirectionbasedontheuserssecuritygroupmembership(see
imagebelow).Thisoptionisusefulifyouwanttodistributetheloadacrossmultipleserverbutitcan
starttogetcomplicatedastheusersroamingprofilemaythenbestoredinadifferentlocationsto
theirredirectedfolders.Alsobecarefulwiththeorderyouapplytheseadvancedsettingsasifthe
usersisamemberofmultiplegroupsitwillpickupthetopentryinthelistandthereisnowayto
reorderthelistaftertheentriesarecreated.ForthesereasonsunlessyouREALLYwanttoyou
shouldtrytoavoidusingtheAdvancedoption.
Advancedredirection(justforyourFYI)

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Step4.SelecttheCreateafolderforeachuserundertherootpathoptionundertheTargetfolder
locationandthentypethefullUNCpathintherootpaththatwecreatedbefore(e.g.
\\server04.contoso.local\users$)thenclickontheSettingsTab.

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Step5.

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