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Our users are setup with roaming profiles in Active Directory.

The trouble is that when they install some application on, say, machine A and it creates a start menu shortcut in C:\Users\userid\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\, then these start menu shortcuts will roam to other machines, even though the applications aren't installed on these other machines, thus creating broken links.

Surely this can't be right?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Since nobody else has really clarified, let me expand on the other replies.

The Start Menu that a user sees when they log on to a system is actually an amalgamation of the 'All Users' Start Menu which lives in %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu on Vista or later, or %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Start Menu on 2000/XP/2003 systems, and the per-user Start Menu which lives in the user's profile.

Programs that install on the system (i.e. not in the users profile) should put their shortcuts in the All Users Start Menu so that anyone who logs onto the system can see the shortcuts. Lots of (usually older) installers don't do this and they end up putting their shortcuts in the profile of the user that installed the program, even though the program's executable is available to all users in the Program Files folder. It's bad practise but it happens, and I suspect that this is what you're seeing in your roaming profiles.

Other programs can install themselves on a per-user basis - the executable lives inside the user's profile and therefore the shortcut should only appear on that user's Start Menu. Google Chrome is a good example of this and it's the right thing to do in this case.

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Sure it's right. The Start Menu is part of the user profile (except in the case where you redirect the Start Menu) so anything written to the start menu is going to roam with the user profile. It doesn't matter whether or not the program is acatually installed on that computer/server.

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Yes it can - Look in the users profile folder and you will notice a Start Menu folder that will show up when the user logs in.

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