Some Issues to Consider If Windows XP Users Have Roaming Profiles

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This article describes some issues that administrators must plan for if users have roaming user profiles and can log on interchangeably to Windows-based computers.

Hard-Coded Paths for User Profiles

If the Windows XP installation is an upgrade, the existing profile location is the %SystemRoot%\Profiles folder, and this folder continues to be used. If the Windows XP installation is a new installation, a Documents and Settings folder is created on the same volume as the Windows XP installation, to hold locally cached versions of user profiles.

Some programs use hard-coded paths to specify where a local or roaming user's cached profile is stored on the local computer. If a user roams between Windows-based computers, unexpected behavior can occur if a program is hard-coded to look for the user's locally cached profile in the %SystemRoot%\Profiles folder.

For example, if you log on to a new Windows XP installation, a program might not find a user's profile if the program looks for the profile in the same place that it previously looked. If a program has problems with users who roam between operating systems, the program may be using hard-coded paths.

To identify the path to a user's locally cached profile, type set at a command prompt, and then press ENTER.

System and Group Policies Applied to the User

Windows XP policy settings are located in a different area of the registry. Windows XP components look for those settings in that different location, and the components use those settings to configure the user's environment. If the user roams to a Windows XP-based computer, Group Policy places the settings from any group policy objects (GPOs) that apply to the user in the following registry location:
In itself, this arrangement does not present a problem. However, the size of the user's profile is increased by the extra registry values that are mandated by having both types of policy. The administrator who sets policies in Windows operating systems must be aware of this behavior.

Article ID: 314886 - Last Review: 12/07/2015 08:26:44 - Revision: 1.4

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition

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