HOW TO: Switch Between a Local and Roaming User Profile on a Mobile Windows XP-Based Computer

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Article ID: 312138 - View products that this article applies to.
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This step-by-step article describes how to switch between a local and roaming user profile on a mobile Windows XP-based computer. A locally-stored user profile is one that is only accessible from the local computer. A roaming profile is stored on a network server and is accessible from any computer to which a user logs on.


  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional

Configure a User Account in the Active Directory to Use a Roaming Profile

A profile is associated with a user account and contains information such as customized desktop settings, network and printer connections, and mail settings. A local user profile is stored on a local computer's hard disk, and is created automatically the first time that someone logs on to a computer, if that user account does not already have a roaming profile in place. Roaming profiles are stored on a network server in a location that is specified for a particular user account.

To configure a user account in the Active Directory to use a roaming profile:
  1. Start the Active Directory Users and Computers tool on any computer that has access to the Active Directory.
  2. Open the Properties dialog box for a user account by right-clicking the account, and then clicking Properties.
  3. Click the Profile tab.
  4. Specify a path for the saved profile.

Switch Between a Local and Roaming User Profile

When you logon to the network for the first time with a particular user account that has roaming enabled, a roaming profile is automatically created. If a user has already logged on to the network and has a locally stored profile, that user must switch from a local to a roaming profile.

To switch from a local profile to a roaming user profile:
  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. If Control Panel is in Classic view, double-click the System icon.

    If Control Panel is in Category view, click the Performance and Maintenance link, and then click the System icon.
  3. On the System Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab.
  4. On the Advanced tab, click Settings under User Profiles.
  5. In the Profiles stored on this computer box, click the profile that you want to change.
  6. Click Change Type to opens the Change Profile Type dialog box.
  7. Click Roaming Profile or Local Profile to change to a different type.
  8. Click OK three times to return to Windows.
If the Roaming Profile option is not available, you are trying to configure a local user profile. You can only configure roaming profiles for user accounts that are located in the Active Directory, and the accounts must be set up to allow for roaming users.


Article ID: 312138 - Last Review: October 26, 2002 - Revision: 1.1
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
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