I have had a roaming user on my network that occasionally experiences crippling log on times, upwards of 40 minutes sometimes. After fighting with it for a month and learning what I can of this problem, this is caused by the NTUSER.DAT file being replicated over and over into prfXX.tmp files (The x's are random numbers.) According to the Microsoft information I read, when a roaming user logs off, a temporary file copies the current roaming profile information, then overwrites the stored version on the server, deleting itself when completed. Should something interrupt the process, or not let go of the roaming profile, the temporary file never writes over the server copy, and just saves itself to the user's profile. This article is seen here... http://support2.microsoft.com/?kbid=328607

I am creating this post to see if anyone else has had this problem. If so, what could be causing the hangup? My first guess was the user getting frustrated and shutting off the computer rather than waiting for the log in or log off process. However, I know there has to be more than just this one person doing that, and I haven't seen the problem for anyone else. Are there any known programs that refuse to "let go" of the roaming profile? I have recreated the profile and replaced the computer, with no change.

Any input would be appreciated. For technical information, we have a mixed environment of XP, 7, and a small handful of 8.1 computers. The user has only been using XP as far as I am aware. Our current domain controller is running on Windows Server 2012. Our previous domain controller was running server 2003, and currently serves as the backup controller.

  • What's the size of the problematic roaming profile vs another one? You wrote that it happens "occasionally" - how often? at what times? any patterns? anything interesting in the local computer event log? – EliadTech Oct 17 '14 at 2:57
  • XP is out of extended support AS of mid-2014, you really should have a short-time migration plan to a supported OS Version. – the-wabbit Mar 19 '15 at 6:07

For our 2003 terminal servers we solved the issue you are describing by implementing UPHClean. I didn't read through the post completely but I think this may be a good start point for mitigating the locked up profiles so they unload properly.


  • XP and Server 2003 do share code in regards to the profile handling and habe the same shortcomings in regard to profile unloading with still-open reg handles. As of Vista the function UPHClean performs has been integrated into the OS. – the-wabbit Mar 19 '15 at 6:12

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