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We currently have around 35 workstations on our network each connected to our Server which is running as a domain controller, DNS server and file server.

We are an animal hospital which means there are a lot of staff who all move from one computer to another on a regular basis (two or three times an hour). At the moment they all have their own login account for the DC with their own profiles. Once the user is logged in they can access their home drive and also a few other network shares.

As the users are logging in and out so regularly I think they are losing a lot of time waiting for the computers to login and out. Although I have got the login times to less than about 30 seconds - when a client or animal is waiting for something it's a long time.

I was wondering if there is a way of making some workstations auto login to a user account that only has public share access. So the team can access anything that is not personal to them and if they need their own file then they login as themselves? So basically half of the workstations in the hospital would not require a login on startup - but would still have the limitations in place from the group policy.

Is this possible? Am I missing something that would be better in our environment?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You probably don't need roaming profiles for your users - Just setup a logon script or Group Policy preference to map the users drives to the appropriate remote shares. Once you disable roaming profiles you should find that logon drops to a few seconds.

If it doesn't, verify that your group policies are as simple as they can be (as too many can extend logon wait times) and check that logon scripts/policies are set to run asynchronously. If you're determined to keep roaming profiles, ensure that users home folders are set to a separate share (and not being synchronised as part of the profile), that temporary files/IE history are always cleared at logoff (to prevent them being synced), and offline files is disabled.

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I realise that it's a daft requirement, but most users want to have their own wallpaper. That's only possible with roaming profiles isn't it? Also, any shortcuts on their desktop are lost if we disable roaming profiles aren't they? – dannymcc Apr 9 '11 at 11:11
You could do both those things with a logon script that runs in the background. But it sounds like it might be worth writing a log-off script that cleans up users profiles before syncing them back to the server (clears out temp files, cache and history). Take a look at some profiles and see if you can find out why logons are taking an extended period of time. – Chris Thorpe Apr 9 '11 at 11:41
You could also designate some PCs that are to be used for quick logons, where you'll sacrifice user profile loading for a faster logon. To do this, move those computer objects to their own OU, and apply a loopback policy (replace mode) on that OU as you would for terminal servers. That'll block the usual user policy being applied, but users can still logon to the machine. – Chris Thorpe Apr 9 '11 at 11:43

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