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Roaming Profiles

Roaming Profiles is an option that can be set up in Active Directory. It allows a user’s settings to “migrate” from one computer to another. In a large corporation, it means that a user can login from any office and have the exact same settings regardless of which computer is used. In a smaller offices, it means that when a user transitions from one computer to another, the computer administrator does not have to spend hours manually transferring each of these settings.

User profiles are stored in the C:\Documents and Settings folder on Windows XP and C:\Users on Windows Vista and newer versions of Windows. Whenever a user logs onto a new computer, it checks this folder to see if a profile exists. If there is no profile, then Windows automatically creates a default profile. With Roaming Profiles, Windows will download the user’s profile from the computer and apply the settings to the computer. This means that the first time the user logs in, it could take up to 10 minutes for all of the data to download and be applied to the computer. When the user logs off, all profile changes are synchronized back to the server via Offline Files.

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