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Chapter 5: Managing User Profiles and Home Folder

Chapter 5: Managing User Profiles and Home Folder

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Published by: Muhammad Iqrash Awan on Dec 26, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Chapter 5: Managing User Profiles and Home Folder 
User profiles maintain consistency for users in their desktop environments by providing each user withthe same desktop environment as the last time that he or she logged on to the computer. This chapteintroduces user profiles and explains the differences between local user profiles, roaming user profiles,mandatory user profiles, and temporary user profiles. It also discusses the use of home folders.
Understanding User Profiles
A user profile is a collection of folders and data that stores the user's current desktop environment,application settings, and personal data. A user profile also contains all of the network connections thatare established when a user logs on to a computer, such as Start menu items and mapped drives tonetwork servers. On computers running Windows Server 2003, user profiles automatically create andmaintain the desktop settings for each user's work environment on the local computer.
Settings Saved in a User Profile
A user profile contains configuration preferences and options for each user - a snapshot of a user'sdesktop environment. Following are a few settings contained in a user profile:
All user-definable settings for Windows Explorer (Windows Explorer).
User-stored documents (My Documents).
User-stored picture items (My Pictures).
Shortcuts to favorite locations on the Internet (Favorites).
Any user-created mapped network drives (Mapped network drive).
Links to other computers on the network (My Network Places)
Items stored on the Desktop and shortcut elements (Desktop contents)
All user-definable computer screen colors and display text settings (Screen colors and fonts).
Application data and user-defined configuration settings (Application data and registry hive)
 Network printer connections (Printer settings).
All user-defined settings made in Control Panel (Control Panel).
All user-specific program settings affecting the user's Windows environment, includingCalculator, Clock, Notepad, and Paint (Accessories).
Per-user program settings for programs written specifically for Windows Server 2003 anddesigned to track program settings (Windows Server 2003 family-based programs).
Any bookmarks placed in the Windows Server 2003 family Help system (Online user education bookmarks).
Contents of a User Profile Folder
Unless you have upgraded to Windows Server 2003 from Windows NT 4, local user profiles are storedin the C:\Documents and Settings folder, where C is the name of your system drive. If you haveupgraded to Windows Server 2003 from Windows NT 4, local user profiles are stored in the%Systemroot%\Profiles folder. Roaming user profiles are stored in a shared folder on the server.
Following is a sample of the folders contained in a user profile folder:Table 5-1: Sample Folders Contained in a User Profile Folder 
Application data folder [*]Program-specific datafor example, a customdictionary. Program vendors decide what data tostore in the user profile folder.Cookies folderUser information and preferences.Desktop folder Desktop items, including files, shortcuts, andfolders.Favorites folderShortcuts to favorite locations on the Internet.Local Settings folder [*]Application data, History, and Temporary files.My Documents folderUser documents and subfolders.My Recent Documents folder [*]Shortcuts to the most recently used documentsand accessed folders. NetHood folder [*]Shortcuts to My Network Places items.PrintHood folder [*]Shortcuts to printer folder items.SendTo folder [*]Shortcuts to document-handling utilities.Start Menu folderShortcuts to program items.Templates folder [*]User template items.
Item is hiddenUsing the My Documents folder centralizes all user settings and personal documents into a singlefolder that is part of the user profile. Windows Server 2003 automatically sets up the My Documentsfolder, and it is the default location for storing users' data for Microsoft applications. Home folders,covered later in this lesson, can also contain files and programs for a user.
User Profiles
There are four types of user profiles:
Local User Profile
Roaming User Profile
Mandatory User Profile
Temporary User Profile
Local User Profiles
A local user profile is based at the local computer and is available at only the local computer. When auser logs on to the client computer running Windows Server 2003, he or she always receives his or her individual desktop settings and connections, regardless of how many users share the same clientcomputer. Windows Server 2003 automatically creates a local user profile the first time that a user logson to a workstation or server computer. The local user profile is stored in the
C:\Documents andSettings\User_logon_name
folder on the computer, where
is the name of your system drive and
is the name the user types when logging on to the system.A user changes his or her local user profile by changing desktop settings. For example, a user mightmake a new network connection or add a file to My Documents. Then, when a user logs off, WindowsServer 2003 incorporates the changes into the user profile stored on the computer. The next time theuser logs on to the local computer, the new network connection and the file are present.
Roaming User Profiles
To support users who work at multiple computers, you can set up roaming user profiles. A roaming user  profile is based at the server and is downloaded to the local computer every time a user logs on. Incontrast to a local user profile, which resides on only one client computer, a roaming user profile isavailable at any workstation or server computer on the network. Changes made to a user's roaming user  profile are updated locally and on the server when the user logs off. This profile is created by a systemadministrator and is stored in a shared folder on a server.The first time that a user logs on at a computer, Windows Server 2003 copies all documents to the localcomputer. Thereafter, when the user logs on to the computer, Windows Server 2003 compares thelocally stored user profile files and the roaming user profile files. It copies only the files that havechanged since the last time the user logged on at the computer, which makes the logon process shorter.
Mandatory User Profiles
To specify a profile for individuals or an entire group of users, you can set up mandatory user profiles.A mandatory user profile is a read-only roaming profile, based at the server and downloaded to thelocal computer every time a user logs on. It is available at any workstation or server computer on thenetwork. Users can modify the desktop settings of the computer while they are logged on, but none of these changes are saved when they log off. The next time that the user logs on, the profile is the sameas the last time that he or she logged on. Only system administrators can make changes to mandatoryuser profiles. You can assign one mandatory profile to multiple users who require the same desktopsettings. If you need to change the desktop environment for this set of users, you can do so by changingonly one profile.

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