We have a lot of computers running Windows XP and all users have identical mandatory user profiles when they log in. It was accomplished by setting the Profile path to \\server\profiles\winxp.man

Now we have some new Windows 7 computers and we'd like all users to have different mandatory users profiles (located at \\server\profiles\win7.man) when they log in to a computer running Windows 7. But I can only set one profile path in the Profile path field in the properties of a user in the Active Directory.

Is it possible to assign one mandatory user profile to all users when they log in to a WinXP machine and a different profile for Win7 computers?


If you have roaming profiles enabled then WinXP and Win7 already save their profiles in separate folders by default, even though you've only got one folder specified in Active Directory. Windows 7 will quietly append a .V2 to the end of the folder name used by WinXP, and then use the .V2 version of the folder ignoring the other one, so for example:

Directory specified in Active Directory:


Directory actually used by XP:


Directory actually used by Windows 7:


Have you creating the mandatory profile folder with .V2 in it to see if 7 will use that?

Disclaimer we don't use mandatory profiles, so this is a suggestion, rather than something I've tried.

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According to the KB article 973289, the correct procedure to do this is the following:

  • Create a mandatory profile share/structure. In your case, \Profiles\mandatory and \Profiles\mandatory.v2
  • Copy the default userprofile from a Windows XP client to the "mandatory" folder, and from a Windows 7 client to the "mandatory.v2" folder
  • Prepare your user accounts with the UNC to the mandatory profile. NB! Do -not- append .v2, Windows Vista/7 redirects to the correct folder automatically.
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  • Thanks, but GAThrawn was first. – mak Oct 20 '10 at 20:00

On a related note, you might want to consider using group policies to set the per-machine roaming profile path instead of setting it per-user. This is supported for Vista and above.

Policy          Set roaming profile path for all users logging onto this computer
Category Path   Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\User profiles\
Supported On    At least Microsoft Windows VistaRegistry
Key             HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System
Value           Machineprofilepath
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  • This is actually better. Is there something like this for Windows XP as well? – mak Oct 20 '10 at 20:01
  • No, you cannot assign the user profile via policy in XP. – Helge Klein Jan 14 '11 at 9:33

I'm trying to find a way that you'd be able to insert an OS version variable into the profile filename (the same way home directory can be set to \server\home\%username%) but I'm not having any luck so far trackin down an %osversion% variable. Or locating a list of available variables.

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  • This is not an answer. Was it intended to be a comment? – mak Oct 20 '10 at 20:02
  • It's half an answer, I was hoping someone would come along with the variable name. I suppose it may not exist, which seems crazy. – Kara Marfia Oct 21 '10 at 12:53

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