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Roaming Profiles, 2 Computers, 3 Users

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I have two networked WinXP machines. I have 3 users. At this moment I have two users working on one machine and the third on the second. What I would like to do is create "roaming profile" users for all three such that all three users can sit down to either computer, log in, and get the same environmnet they left the last time they worked without consideration for which machine they were on last.

I realize that I will have to keep both machines loaded with mostly the same software but I just want each user to see their favorites, links, desktop, etc. I have already created a third user on the first machine and put the path \\pcname\username in their profile path. I shared c:\doc and settings\username as \\pcname\username on the second computer. However, when I log into the first it says it can't access the profile and is going to use a temporary one. Everything I find on Roaming Profiles and Folder Redirection indicates Server 2003 and something call Active Directory. Is there any way to set up two networked WinXP Pro desktops the way I describe. If I can get the profiles to roam I can think I can set there home directories to networked locations so that the My thisandthat directories don't have to be copied.
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you cannot do it...active directory is required because your pc loads the profile after the PC logs into the domain (in a domain, the pc logs in and you log in)

The PC must be logged in so it can get the directory information from Active directory so it knows where the profile is located on the network

to achieve what you want, maybe you could work some kind of timed back up profiles that replicate across both machines....I dunno, thinking off the top of my head here.

Saw this this morning and almost forgot about it, but I was mulling it around in the back of my head during the day....what exactly do they need?

Files? Or just settings....hmmmm
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I think I have it working although a few days of letting the family burn it in well

tell for sure. I will try to detail all of the procedures to get this to work but

since some things I tried worked and some failed and some thing may not have mattered

at all, no gurantees with the following. Also, I am sure many will argue that some of

the things I did are not recommended so try this at your own risk.

I did all of the following while logged in as Administrator:

Turn off simple file sharing
My Computer->Tools->Folder Options->View->Use Simple File Sharing

Turn on View hidden files
My Computer->Tools->Folder Options->View->Show hidden files and folders

Apply to all Folders

Created a folder for the Roaming Profiles on PC1

Shared it as \\pc1\profiles

Owned by Administrators, Full control permissions to Everyone (be sure to do this

during the share, I didn't and this held me up awhile)

Copied c:\Documents and Settings\user1 to \\pc1\profiles\user1
Copied c:\Documents and Settings\user2 to \\pc1\profiles\user2

I believe I could have copied user3 from PC2 to here as well but just to spread the

joy and the disk usage I repeated the above on PC2 for user3.

Created a folder for each users Documents and Mail so that this doesn't roam but can

still be accessed.

Shared it as \\pc1\documents

Owned by Administrators, Full control permissions to Everyone (again during the share)

Copied c:\Documents and Settings\user1\My Documents to \\pc1\documents\user1\My

Copied c:\Documents and Settings\user2\My Documents to \\pc1\documents\user2\My

Copied C:\Documents and Settings\user1\Local Settings\Application

Data\Identities\{CLSID}\Microsoft\Outlook Express to \\pc1\documents\user1\Outlook

Copied C:\Documents and Settings\user2\Local Settings\Application

Data\Identities\{CLSID}\Microsoft\Outlook Express to \\pc1\documents\user2\Outlook


And the same for user3 on \\pc2

Turned the users on PC1 into Roamers:
Right click My Computer, pick manage, Local Users and Groups, Users, pick the user,

right click properties, go to profile path and enter \\pc1\profiles\user1
Repeat for user2
Add new user3 and give the the profile path \\pc2\profiles\user3

Turn the users on PC2 into Roamers:
add user1 and user2 and set their profile path to \\pc1\profiles\userN
set user3 to \\pc2\profiles\user3

On both computers run->gpedit.msc (I couldn't find this anywhere in the windows gui

Administrative Templates->System->User Profiles and change "Exclude directories in

roaming profile" to enabled and set it to "My Documents"

I then deleted c:\Documents and Settings\userN on both computers. (This is one of

those things that maybe wasn't necessary but it proved to me the thing was almost

working at one point and may have been necessary to establish synchronization between

the profile stores and the local stores)

Log in as user1 (the first time takes a while but after the first login the

synchronization at login and logout goes faster)

regedit (you can't do this with the OE6 GUI) and navigate to

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\{CLSID}\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0, set the

key "Store Root" to \\pc1\documents\Outlook Express

and nagivate to

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

Change Personal to \\pc1\documents\user1\My Documents
Change My Music to \\pc1\documents\user1\My Documents\My Music
Change My Picturs to \\pc1\documents\user1\My Documents\My Pictures

Log out and log in as user2, then user 3 and repeat the regedit for their email and

documents. If you watch the profile stores at \\pcN\profiles\userN you can see the

NTuser.dat file change modification time at logout. This is where the registry for

that user is stored as well as the rest of their profile.

Well I think that is all I ended up doing to get this to work and time will tell if it

works well.
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well, that's neat...I wonder if all is migrating, though? I think the true trick here that you came up with is the redirection of the MY DOCUMENTS folder and contents....which drastically cuts down on the network traffic.

Since the true roaming profile idea actually has a ton of content flying back and forth from the server, your solution is much smarter for people with a large amount of data (I have a 30gb folder of installation software I use on my desktop making roaming profile a tedious and undesireable affair in my case)

Good job on the workaround! Let us know how it works,
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The kids have been using the setup for a couple of days and so far everything is working great. Everything seems to migrate except of course the stuff stored in Local Settings. That is why I redirected their OE6 files which has worked just fine. One thing we discovered that is stored in the Local Settings is the WallPaper. Apparently MS copies and if necessary converts the image you select for wallpaper and stores it in Local Settings. It looks like this too can be redirected in the registry like the OE6 store but the kids like to change their wallpaper and think it is cool to have different wallpaper on each machine so I haven't bothered. At least once they have had a problem where they got an error when they tried to login and it said their local profile could not be found so MS was starting them on a temporary profile. I found out that the local profile had a residual lock on the ntuser.dat file. I reset the lock by rebooting and they were able to login no problem. I am not sure why the file had the residual lock and if it ever happens again I found a shareware called unlocker that I may try instead of rebooting.
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