Win8: App: Modern: Application considerations for roaming profiles


This article describes an expected interaction between Microsoft Store Apps and Side Loaded Modern Apps with Roaming User Profiles (RUP). Enterprise Administrators will need to take these behaviors into account when deploying Windows 8  when using Roaming User Profiles are used. 



Windows Store Applications are installed under the c:\users\<userName>\AppData\Local directories. While this path is part of a user profile tree, it is not part of user profile data that roams. The use of this install path makes Windows Store applications (but not side loaded applications) user and device specific, meaning a Modern application will be available only in the user profile and device on which the application was installed.

Implication are as follows:

If a user profile is deleted, or fails to load, then Windows Store applications installed during previous logons will not appear on the start screen. This has implications for environments that enable the "Delete cached copies of roaming profiles" policy.

If a user with a roaming profile installs Windows Store applications on machine 1, then logs onto machine 2 using the same roaming profile, Microsoft store applications will not appear in the Start screen of machine 2. 

User profile size is reduced as Modern application data is not adding size to the users roaming profile, thereby reducing logon times and network utilization to load this data.


Issue 1 Windows Store Apps are not available if the Group Policy "Delete cached copies of roaming profiles" is enabled




A user logs on and notices that the only tiles that appear on the Start Screen are the Desktop, IE and Store. Using the Store application to install additional applications also fails.


Repro steps 

  1. A user configured with a roaming profile and subject to the "delete cached copies of roaming profiles" policy logs onto any Windows 8 computer.
  2. After logon, only 3 application tiles will appear on the Start Screen: Desktop, IE and Store
  3. The Store App can connect to and browse applications in the Store.
  4. Applications can be downloaded from the Store but will fail to install with the following on-screen error:

    Message text: This app couldn't be installed because of the Group Policy set by your system administrator. Please contact your system administrator for more information.





This behavior is by design. The default behavior of Windows 8 clients with Roaming User Profiles that have the Group Policy (GP)  "Delete cached copies of roaming profiles" applied to them is to only display the Desktop, IE and Store tiles on the start screen.  




Users with roaming profiles subject to the "delete cached copies of roaming profiles" policy can install modern applications if the "allow deployment operations in specified profiles" policy is enabled. This GP is located in Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\App Package Deployment".


When considering whether allowing the use of a Modern app in a scenario that uses RUP and "Delete cached copies of roaming profiles" it is important to differentiate between Windows Store app installed via the Windows Store and Modern apps that are sideloaded by an administrator. Windows Store Apps can only be purchased and installed via the Store and are maintained or patched via the Store. Sideloaded apps are installed by an administrator and are also maintained by an administrator. No contact with the Store is needed for sideloaded applications.

Note: While the explain text for "Allow deployment operations in special profiles" mentions that roaming profiles are not "Special Profiles", a user with a roaming user profile subject to the "delete cached copies of roaming profiles" is a special profile.

Implications for
Windows Store Apps when enabling "allow deployment operations in special profiles"


Microsoft does not recommend using Windows Store applications with RUP that also have the GP "Delete cached copies of roaming profiles" applied to them for the following reasons: 

  • New Windows Store apps that are installed by the user are deleted when the user logs off. The user will have to reinstall the app if they wish to use it at next logon
  • Windows Store apps cannot be serviced. Updates from the store can be installed, however they are lost at logoff and will be offered again to the user at next logon
  • The default Windows Store applications (Mail, Weather Finance etc...), if present in the image, will be deleted at each logoff and  reinstalled at each logon, potentially causing logon or logoff delays.
  • Windows Store applications are linked to the Microsoft account that was used to install them. Each Microsoft Account can have a maximum of 5 PC's linked to it. In a Terminal Server Farm scenario or scenarios where users do not have assigned PCs, this limit can be quickly exceeded, causing the user to have to frequently remove authorized devices from their Microsoft Account.   

If no Windows store applications are required for LOB requirements, then the default behavior when using RUP and having "Delete Cached copies of roaming profiles" set can be left in place. In addition, the Windows Store should also be blocked via GP to prevent users from attempting to install applications only to have the installation fail at the end. The GP for this is "Turn off access to the store" located in "Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\System\Internet Communication Management\Internet Communication settings"


Sideloaded Modern Apps


If your deployment includes side-loaded Modern applications, a customized image should be created that removes all Windows Store apps, customizes the Start Screen tiles and has the LOB application provisioned (i.e. preinstalled). In this situation the Administrator can then enable both the "Delete cached copy of roaming profiles".


For information regarding deploying images with customized Start Screens and sideloading Modern apps see the following links:


Provisioning LOB apps

How to customize the Start Screen

How to Customize the Default User Profile by Using CopyProfile



Issue 2   Modern Apps do not roam with Roaming User profiles.




  1. A user with a roaming profile  but not subject to the "delete cached copies of roaming profiles" policy logs onto machine 1 and installs one or more Windows Store applications.
  2. The user logs off
  3. The same user logs onto machine 2 and notices that Store applications installed in step 1 do not appear on the start screen. Further review shows that Modern app files are not present in the local file system.  



This behavior is by design. The user is either logging into a terminal server farm and is not logging into the same Terminal Server as the previous logon , or the user is logging into a different workstation than the workstation where the Windows Store app was installed.


Windows Store Applications are installed to the c:\users\<userName>\AppData\Local\* directories. The AppData\Local  directory, as the path implies, is not part of the of the users profile that roams.  


This behavior is consistent with RUP and standard Windows desktop applications. RUP makes no provision to roam applications. 



If users with roaming profiles are allowed to use and install apps, Store, side-loaded and desktop applications must be installed on each device the user may login to. 

An administrator will also need to consider the following points:

  • Apps need to be installed on each device and logon session (i.e. roaming user profile) where the will be used
  • Apps will need to updated on each device and user that logs on
  • Microsoft accounts are required to install and update Windows Store apps.
  • Microsoft Accounts can be linked to a maximum of 5 devices. If the user can login to more that 5 different devices they will be prompted to remove one of the previous devices they used before they can install Windows Store apps to the new device.

More Information

For more information on Windows Store Apps follow this link

Microsoft Internal Support Information

Citrix Profile Manager
User Profiles managed by Citrix Profile Manager will see the Start Screen tiles on the Start Screen but they will blank. As of 2012.12.17, the user must open the Desktop and or restart Explorer.exe for the tiles to display the appropriate image and text.

 http://bugcheck/bugs/WindowsSE/424459 for updates to the status


Steps to reproduce.

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Article ID: 2795607 - Last Review: Dec 10, 2015 - Revision: 1