I understand the concepts of both roaming profiles and folder redirection and have used both separately before. I am about to set up a network from scratch and would ideally like to use both for the following reasons primarily

  • Roaming profiles allow users to log on to any machine and have their profile
  • Redirected profiles allow users to have their My Documents and Desktop etc backed up without the need to log off at the end of the day. The servers can run their backups overnight and there are no missing files due to the user not logging off.
  • Redirected profiles largely alleviate the slow log in times caused by large profiles.

My question is if some of the folders are redirected and therefore not part of the roaming profile what happens on machines which truly roam (i.e. laptops)?

If there's offline files or a cache does this mean that the problem whereby a user has to log off comes back?

By having them both enabled, is there any duplication i.e. if I have a users$ share and a profiles$ share would I have Desktop twice for example?

1 Answer 1


I've stayed away from using redirected folders and roaming profiles. From my experience they've caused more headaches than they have solved, especially when you add laptops into the mix.

Large profiles tend to cause a lot of extra network traffic, especially if you ever have remote sites with VPNs setup - pulling people's profiles over the VPN is painful. I've also run into problems with some programs which store settings in the user's profile that are machine or location specific, though I can't remember exactly which programs at the moment.

My solution, which may solve some of your concerns is:

  • Everyone gets a network drive P:, which is configured in their AD profile to go to one of our file servers. Since it's configured in their profile, it will follow them around to other computers.

  • Laptops have offline files enabled for the network drive so they can use them remotely. In windows 7 this works very nicely and files are synced back to the file server as soon as they reconnect. No need to logoff or anything.

  • Users are required to save all important company documents to the X: drive. Since our file servers are backed up every night, our documents are safe.

  • Personal documents, temporary files and internet downloads are saved on the local hard drive - this saves us a LOT of storage space on the server. I've seen quite a few users store lots of photos/music/whatever in My Documents, not realizing it's actually taking up space on our fileserver. With this setup it's clearer to users what is stored locally and what is stored on the fileserver.

  • Backups work just fine even if people don't logout, since the only files in use will be documents people are actively working on (and a good backup program should be able to backup most in use files anyways).

The only downside is that users need to be trained to save things to their network drive. I haven't found this to be much of an issue with most users.

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