Server 2003 Tutorials

This tutorial explains how to configure Local, Roaming and Mandatory user profiles in Windows Server step by step with examples.

Profile is the user setting. A profile is associated with a user account and contains information such as customized desktop settings, network and printer connections, and mail settings. Whenever user first time login in any window computer, widow provide them default user setting and create a folder of user name in Document and setting folder on windows partitions. Any change made by user will save in this folder. Next time when user login on same computer, window load this profile.

A local user profile is stored on a local computer's hard disk, and created automatically when user login first time , if that user account does not already have a roaming profile in place. Roaming profiles are stored on a network server in a location that is specified for a particular user account. When you logon to the network for the first time with a particular user account that has roaming enabled, a roaming profile is automatically created.

In short There are three types of profile.

Local profile :- Created and managed on local system. User is allowed to customize the profile. All change will save locally.

Roaming Profile:- Created and managed on Server system in a shared folder. User is allowed to customize the profile. All change will save on servers hard disk.

Mandatory profile : - Created and managed on Server system in a shared folder. User is not allowed to customize the profile. If user made some change in any login session they will not save on exit and he will get same default profile on his next login.

Pre quest of this tutorial

  • A Server 2003 system with ADS and DNS Configured [ Check our previous articles for how to configure ADS and DNS ]
  • Two clients systems for testing of roaming profile [Check previous articles for how to make client ]
  • A user created in Active Directory User and Computers

We have configured all these steps in our previous article. If you have skipped previous article then review it before going with this tutorial.

How to configure Roaming profile Server side configuration

Login from administrator account on server and create a folder named profile on any partition . And Share it with Full Permission for Everyone
permission tab

To avoid further error do also setting in offline tab. All data of profile folder is going to be save on server so simple stop the offline availability of folder.

Click on Offline setting and select Files or program from the share will not be available offline
offline setting for romaing profile

Now open this folder and create a folder named wallpaper in it.
folder wallpaper

Copy some bitmap images in this folder.

folder wall paper

Now In Active directory user and computer

In properties click on profile tab and set profile path to \\ Server name \ Shared folder \ User name.
In our example server name is , shared folder is profile, and user is Vinita. Replace these with your server name , shared folder name , and user name.
user properites profile tab
If DNS server is not configured on server then use the IP address of server instead the name of server like this. \\\profile\Vintia

When you click on apply and ok in profile tab of user properties. Server creates a folder for user in shared folder.

Go again in shared folder which you recently created and check it weather is created or not.
profile folder

It's all settings which you need to do on server.

Client side setting for remaining profile

Login from user on client1
user vinita login

Create folder and file on desktop for testing purpose. Change desktop background. To change desktop background Right click on desktop and select properties. In properties select desktop and click on Browse tab and select any background form the folder on Server where you have copied .bmp image. [ Remember image should be saved on server in share folder and its format must be in .bmp folder]

deskop properties

Okey we have created one file and folder on desktop and also changed the desktop background.
changed desktop  for romaing profile

Now logoff from user and go on other system and login form same account
user vinita login

You will found same profile as you configured on client1. Whatever change you will make in this profile would save on server and will be available on any computer where this user login.
changed desktop  for romaing profile

How to make this profile to mandatory profile

To make this profile mandatory for Vinita user, login to Server and open profile folder. In profile folder open Vinita folder and rename ntuser.dat file to
ntuser.dat chaned in
If you don't see file extension then click on Tools ==> Folder options ==> view and remove the tick mark form the options Hide extensions for known file types.

Once roaming profile is converted in mandatory profile . User is no longer allowed to save the change he made in profile. To test it login in any client system with user Vinita.

Now make any change in profile and logoff form computer. Go on other computer and you will not find your previous setting.