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I am soon going to be setting up a network in a new site, and must confess to being a bit new at network admin (no-one else here to do it though!).

We will be using Windows Server 2008 on our domain controllers and I'm trying to plan a good centralised backup solution.

We don't have any dedicated backup hardware (tape drive etc) so will need to back up to a protected share / NAS. This also likely means we don't really have the disk space to back up fill images of the drives, just the user data.

Ideally I'd like this to be centrally managed, if possible.

I was looking at using roaming profiles to back up to a network share per user and then backing the shares up off-site- is this a bad idea?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

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Roaming user profiles are a great way to centralize user environment state information for backup and to enable users to move between computers with a more seamless experience.

The major problem with roaming user profiles is that the profile "synchronizes" to a local copy on the client computer during each logon. Starting with Windows XP that synchronization only copies changed files from the server to the PC (and the converse), so it's a bit faster, but it can still be very slow.

I'd recommend strongly you read up on Group Policy Folder Redirection. You're going to want to get the "Documents" folder pulled out of the roaming profiles and redirected to a location on a server computer such that all the contents of the "Documents" directory are no longer subject to synchronization.

Here are a couple of articles from Microsoft that describe how Folder Redirection works:

Getting user data centralized onto server computers via Roaming User Profiles and Folder Redirection is a great way to start down the road of making PCs "stateless" (and thus allowing for repair / replacement with minimal expense) and getting all your user data backed-up.

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thanks for the help, that folder redirection sounds like a plan! –  TLBH Aug 27 '09 at 9:49

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