Roaming user profiles in Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 are incompatible with roaming user profiles in earlier versions of Windows.
Profiles are compatible only between the following client and server operating system pairs:
Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2
Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008
Note When the client operating system is referenced in this article, the same issue applies to its corresponding server operating system.
For example, if you try to deploy Windows 8.1 in an environment that uses roaming, mandatory, super-mandatory, or domain default profiles in Windows 7, you experience the following:
After you use a user account that has an existing Windows 7 profile to log on to a Windows 8.1-based computer for the first time, the components from Windows 8.1 read and modify the profile state.
Certain Windows 8.1 features may not work as expected because the expected profile state is not present.
When you try to use the same user account to log on to a Windows 7-based computer, the user profile modification that was performed in Windows 8.1 may not work as expected in Windows 7.
The issues occur because the profile will contain values that are used differently between the versions of Windows. The user profile will be missing default profile configuration information that is expected by the operating system, and could contain unexpected values that are set by a different operating system version. Therefore, the operating system will not behave as expected. Additionally, the user profile may be corrupted.
Roaming, mandatory, super-mandatory, and domain default user profiles that were created in one version of Windows must be kept isolated from those that were created in another version of Windows.
For more information about this issue in Windows 8, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
2887239 Incompatibility between Windows 8 roaming user profiles and roaming profiles in other versions of Windows
To prevent this issue, before you deploy roaming, mandatory, super-mandatory, or domain default profiles in an environment where users will be using earlier versions of the operating system in addition to Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2, follow these steps:
Install update rollup 2887595. For more information about how to obtain this update rollup package, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
2887595 Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2 update rollup: November 2013
Create a new registry entry by following the steps that are described in the "Registry information" section.
Restart the computer.
Note If the roaming user profile is corrupted, you cannot use this update to resolve the issue. To recover from profile corruption, restore the roaming user profile from a backup.
Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
After you apply this update, you must create a registry key before you restart the computer.
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. Or, if you are using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.
In the search box, type regedit, and then tap or click regedit.
If you are prompted to enter an administrator password, type the password. If you are prompted to provide confirmation, provide confirmation.
Locate and then tap or click the following registry subkey:
On the Edit menu, point to New, and then tap or click DWORD Value.
Press and hold or right-click UseProfilePathExtensionVersion, and then tap or click Modify.
In the Value data box, type 1, and then tap or click OK.
Exit Registry Editor.
After you configure the UseProfilePathExtensionVersion registry entry, you have to restart the computer. Then, Windows 8.1 creates a user profile and appends the suffix ".v4" to the profile folder name to differentiate it from version 2 of the profile in Windows 7 and version 3 of the profile in Windows 8. Windows 8.1-based computers that have update rollup 2887595 installed and the UseProfilePathExtensionVersion registry entry configured use version 4 of the profile.
You can disable this feature by setting the value of the UseProfilePathExtensionVersion registry entry to 0. However, user profile corruption occurs if you continue to mix roaming user profiles from Windows 8.1-based computers with those from other operating systems.
You can use the Group Policy Preference (GPP) Computer Configuration Registry Preference item to populate the registry key on multiple computers. For more information about this, go to the following Microsoft website: