On the network where I work, it appears at various times people have had roaming profiles, user profiles, redirected folders, and home folders.

What are the purposes and differences between these?

Note: I come from a Linux background, this is the first time I've really had to deal with windows management of any sort.

  • Lets also not forget about Work Folders as well – Jason Jul 23 '14 at 17:11
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    I think this might be a great opportunity for a Canonical/Wiki question if someone were to sufficiently tackle it. – Ryan Ries Jul 23 '14 at 17:12
  • What's a Work Folder? – leeand00 Jul 23 '14 at 17:31
  • Here's one item for you leeand00: Any user that has logged onto a Windows system has a user profile, whether it's a roaming profile or a local profile (ignoring the vagaries of a roaming profile being local while a user is logged on). So a local profile and a roaming profile are both user profiles. A user has a profile of one type or the other, but they always have at least one. Your question makes it sound as if you think there's a distinction between a roaming profile and a user profile. A roaming profile is a type of user profile, just as a local profile is. – joeqwerty Jul 23 '14 at 20:41

A user profile exists whenever a user is logged into Windows. On recent versions of Windows it is the files under C:\Users\%USERNAME%, on older versions of Windows it was C:\Documents and Settings\%USERNAME%. It has the documents and settings associated with a user.

A home directory is typically a network location that is automatically mapped that is setup for a single person to access.

Redirect folders is a method to have part of a person's profile like the Desktop, or Documents folder redirected to being stored on a server, or another location.

Roaming profiles is a method where a user profile is synced to a server, or some location so that a user can have the same profile for many computers.

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