Step by step solutions to IT problems

Initialize Roving Profiles

If you don't want new users to always be prompted whether they want to retain their settings every time they use a machine they've never logged onto before, then you need to initialise everyone's profiles on all your computers. Luckily it's easy to do, and doesn't require a complete copy of everyone's user profile directory.

All that's required is that every user has an entry in the profiles list of the local machines registry, and that the directory listed for that users profile actually exists. The directory can be completely empty, and the first time they log on, their logon will just be a little slower as their profile directory is populated.

Even easier is that whenever you build a new machine, you can initialize every users profile settings on the new machine in just two simple steps. Firstly you need to import a registry file user-profiles.reg which contains a list of every user



[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\johnsmith] "ProfileImagePath"="C:\\WINDOWS\\Profiles\\johnsmith"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\janedoe] "ProfileImagePath"="C:\\WINDOWS\\Profiles\\janedoe"

You can do this by just double-clicking on the registry file to import it.

Next just ensure that all of the users profile folders exist on the new computer. The easiest way, is to have a profiles folder on a server, which contains an empty user folder for every user on your system, then just copy the profiles folder into the windows folder of the new machine.

Now whenever a user logs into the new machine for the first time, they won't be prompted as to whether they want to retain their settings as windows will believe they have logged in before. Best of all, the registry settings and empty folders for even an office full of users takes up almost no disk space until the user actually logs in to the computer.

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