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Differences in the User Profiles in Windows
Article ID: 269378 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q269378
Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP contain and support user profiles, and in many respects, they behave the same. However, there are some differences. These differences may prevent a Windows 95 or Windows 98 user profile from being used or transferred to a Windows NT 4.x or Windows 2000 user profile with the exception of Windows 95 and Windows 98 clients that have been upgraded to Windows 2000 Professional. In this case, their user profile are converted.
The following are the key differences in behavior of user profiles for each operating system group.
Windows 95 and 98When you log on to a Windows 95 or Windows 98 computer, the user profile is copied from the user's home directory to the local machine. When you log off, the user profile is then copied back to the user's home directory. The home directory is set in the user's account on either a Windows NT 4.x Server or Windows 2000 Server, Advanced Server or Data Center. This path must be in the Universal Naming Convention (UNC) and must be created prior to the implementation. Other differences include:
Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XPUser profiles in Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP, for the most part, function the same. These operating systems support local, roaming and mandatory profiles. However, there are some differences.
Roaming Profiles and Expected Logoff Merge Behavior for Windows 2000 and Windows XPThe default behavior for Roaming profiles Merge Behavior at user logoff is timestamp based, so any file or object in the client machines' cached copy of the profile that has a different timestamp from the corresponding file on the server; will be copied back to the target profile server location.
At a minimum, the registry (ntuser.dat) and the ntuser.ini file will be copied back since the act of logon/logoff does modify the time/date stamp of ntuser.dat as newer than the cached copy on the Profile Server. If Group Policies are also active, then the ntuser.pol file will be copied back also.
Article ID: 269378 - Last Review: January 27, 2007 - Revision: 2.6