[gptalk] Re: Do I need a custom adm, and/or where is the setting in the regsitry

  • From: "Darren Mar-Elia" <darren@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <gptalk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2008 07:07:36 -0700

Having worked with roaming profiles since NT 3.50, I think I would put it
more succinctly.avoid them like the plague J


Seriously though, in a previous position we actually wrote code that
essentially did the same thing that roaming profiles did without using them,
because they were so problematic. Whenever you are trying to synchronize
lots of data across the network under a variety of circumstances, it will be
fraught with peril. If you can avoid them, or avoid having your users store
anything other than settings in them (via Folder Redirection) the better off
you are.




From: gptalk-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:gptalk-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of Nelson, Jamie
Sent: Friday, October 17, 2008 6:42 AM
To: gptalk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [gptalk] Re: Do I need a custom adm, and/or where is the setting in
the regsitry


Eh, that was only a bit longer than usual. J Good post though. I'll remember
to reference this one for future "Roaming Profile" questions.


Jamie Nelson | Operations Consultant | BI&T Infrastructure-Intel | Devon
Energy Corporation | Work: 405.552.8054 | Mobile: 405.200.8088 |
http://www.dvn.com <http://www.dvn.com/> 


From: gptalk-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:gptalk-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of Cruz, Jerome L
Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 9:29 PM
To: gptalk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [gptalk] Re: Do I need a custom adm, and/or where is the setting in
the regsitry


Hi Booker,


My answer is going to be a bit (okay, maybe a LOT) longer than the usual.
Hopefully others will see the things you can run into with roaming profiles
and not just assume the technology and it's support system are a breeze to
implement. Folks, "Roaming Profiles" are one of those 'sounds easy' to do
technologies that starts to eat all your time unless you are ready for it.


Yes, you can update it by manually changing the ADM template (see MS KB
article # 290324). Funny that the article "applies to Vista" but doesn't
describe how to update the matching ADMX template (hmmm.. I'll have to try
that some time.or see if it's still an issue at all). Anyway, you do need to
understand some of the behaviors you might run into. As noted in the "More
Info" section of the article.



"If you increase the maximum profile size to greater that 30 MB, it may take
users longer to log on while the profile is loaded from the network."


That 'can' be true for a user that 'really' roams from box to box on a daily
basis. In practice, we found that our End Users tended to use the "same
device" from day-to-day. So in our case, the most pressing issues began to
be issues logging off at the end of their shift.


Okay, we did have some issues with users logging onto devices in local
Conference rooms.and experiencing long delays in getting to their Desktop
while their 'large profile' downloaded. And try traveling to an office in a
different city, logging onto your laptop in a Conf Room (using your
company's LAN). There are all the meeting attendees looking at you and
waiting for your presentation.for 20 minutes (or longer!).talk about ouch!
The solution was to train users to switch their profile to Local Mode
'before' leaving. We even gave them a desktop utility to easily switch.of
course, then they'd conveniently 'forget' to switch back to roaming mode
when they returned. Yeah.. right..


We expected that most users would have a profile way less than 20 MB and set
out initial limits that way (just so you know, we based this on a scan of
quite a few user profiles and 'most' were well within the limits before we
updated their systems from Windows 2000 to Windows XP.things grow huh?).
Additionally, we excluded a bunch of folders including the user's My
Documents  folder. We slowly discovered all the applications that cause
larger and larger profiles and had to exclude more and more of them.


Example We had to talk to Google about their Google Earth application (love
that app by the way). They were loading their cache file (and yes, it was
just a single file) in the C:\Docs&Settings\Users_Profile\Application
Data\Google\Google Earth\... folder and they didn't need to be placing it
there. Their default cache file size was 100 MB and a user can get there by
just running their demo tour a couple of times. All the user had to do was
launch GE and the cache file was updated. SO there's a 100 MB file to sync
at logoff. More recent versions of GE more correctly placed the cache file
in the C:\Docs&Settings\Users_Profile\Temporary Files\Application
Data\Google. folder tree. In the meantime, we were out of space (260 char
limit at the time) in the GPO to Exclude folders, so instead we wrote a
custom ADM template to reset the Google Earth's cache to the minimum value
of 16 MB. and as you can see, there went our 20 MB limit right out the door.


Don't even get me started on why Roaming Profiles 'sometimes' go into a
stupid state and only allow a user to access a temporary copy of a profile.
And WATCH OUT for your Help Center. Sometimes they are too helpful (AND
untrained). Consider this one. [EU - End User  HC - Help Center]


EU: I need help.all my desktop shortcuts and documents are missing.

HC: Okay, do you have a Roaming Profile?  [Side note, we built a web tool
for our Help Center analysts to use to look this up and also trained them in
the Profile support scripts we developed. Watch as they ignore all this.
Also note that all End Users were given two full weeks to start using a Data
Backup tool for their system devices. Multiple e-mails reminding them of
this were sent out of this requirement. Sadly, not all used it as you're
about to find out.] I see you have a laptop. [Oh, so the HC Tech finally
start using their tools.]

EU: I think so. is that what caused this problem?

HC: Probably. You know that since you have a laptop, you really don't need a
roaming profile don't you? [Oh yeah, thanks for that HC Tech. You haven't
even looked at anything, have already diagnosed the problem, and have just
'dissed' the IT department.] Can I have your permission to do a remote

EU: Yes, please, I need my stuff for a meeting in twenty minutes.

HC: [Logs on...and wanders around the user's system.] Hmm, yes you do have a
roaming profile. I think the system threw you into a temporary profile, but
I can fix this for you. I did this kind of support at my previous job. All I
have to do is copy your files over into this profile [into a "temporary"
profile.what?... it's 'temporary.!!!!  What about using our support
scripts?] and then I'll just switch a few registry entries around so the
system thinks that this is your real profile. Then you just need to reboot..
[WHAT. HC Techs Are NOT allowed to access and change End User registry
entries. NOT PROCESS! NOT PROCESS! The HC tech "moves, not copies, the
user's files, makes registry changes, and then cleans up the "old" profile
by deleting the old one. Then goes to the profile server and 'deletes' the
copy up there so the EU can 'start cleanly'. I hope every IT person reading
this is screaming "No, No, No" by now.]  Okay, you can reboot now.

EU: Okay, well, it seems to be doing something. Okay I have my desktop back.
wait, all my shortcuts and documents are missing again. My meeting is in 5
minutes. [So the user logged off and the system 'deleted' the temporary
profile with all the files that the HC tech had moved there. Since the HC
Tech had "moved" the files, there was no backup of them left on the device.
Since we never roamed the Desktop in the first place, those files weren't up
on the profile server in the first place, so not part of a server side data
restoration from tape would help. Now it gets better.or worse L.]

HC: Well, we can get the files back from the XXXXX tool [XXXXX = The tool
the user's were supplied with to backup their device data.]

EU: Is that that the tool those e-mails were talking about? Well, I haven't
had time to load and run it. Don't you know how busy some of us are?

HC: You haven't backed up your data? Ummm, well, I'm not sure we'll be able
to get it back for you then. I think I'm going to have to escalate this to
the IT Tech group.

EU: Now you wait just a minute.WHERE's MY STUFF? Don't you know that I keep
all my work data on my Desktop? That's two years worth of work and I NEED IT
BACK RIGHT NOW! I have a meeting with some of the Company's directors. [Have
we had enough now? Let's just say that you've GOT to have the HC staff
trained to follow process and in whatever they do. "First Do No Harm"... And
sadly, no, I didn't make this up. BY the time we were called to assist, a
bunch of folks had tried all sorts of things..we immediately attempted to
utilize some undelete utilities, but the damage was done and we were not
able to recover anything significant for the End User.sigh. You can expect
many IT managers heard an earful on this one.  And just in case you don't
know. ~ 95% of these kinds of issues are resolved by a simple reboot-which
by the way was fully documented in the HC support scripts we provided.]


Moving on, how about profile server storage and access issues? We had
40,000+ roaming users. In a population like that, quite a few had VERY large
(100+ MB) profiles whose logoffs were taking 30-40 minutes at the end of the
day. Most users profiles were taking 2-7 minutes to perform a logoff and
profile sync until we were able to optimize the traffic and hardware
resources. The IT department was NOT very popular for awhile. Imagine each
server having to handling the logoff profile sync for 4,000 - 6,000 users
within a ten minute timeframe.and we had multiple "dedicated" roaming
profile servers.and of course they were all on the same company network LAN.
That'd be a Time/Date stamp lookup of approximately 5,000 users times of an
average 3,500 files = an access of 17.5 million files all within about 10
minutes, for each profile server. And then copying up the files that needed
to be updated. Wow! Disk Queing Perf counters were easily in the 5 - 10
range (though at one point we actually recorded some in the mid-thirties..
WAY BIG Ouch. Most Server Admins will go into PANIC mode if they see Disk
Queues higher than '2' (yes..only two)! We eventually tuned it back down to
below that in general.


For each server setup, we used servers with 2 GB RAM in 2 node clusters,
Fibre-channel Controllers each with hardware buffers of 256 MB all set to
100% Write mode (obviously caching Reads is worthless with each user having
their own files), RAID 5 on the hard disk drives (20 drives with 460 GB
available on each-the amount of disk space was almost never an issue), and
Gigabit network connectivity. Needless to say, these were some significantly
powerful boxes. And don't forget the possible impact of taking one cluster
down for maintenance. That can easily cause any accessing user account to
switch to a temporary profile on their local device and the Help Centers
calls start pouring in.


Very few folks have to support implementations of such scale, but there it



.         To support any deployments, go 'slowly' and be ready to help your
"Help Center" analysts so that they can in turn help the End Users.

.         And by the way, laptop users need their data backed up even more
than a desktop user. Laptop users will say that they already roam because
they have a laptop. That isn't the point. Most any hardware maintenance
group will tell you that laptops have higher maintenance costs.

.         As you ramp up profiles on a server, watch your Perf Counters VERY
closely. We found out that once you start to hit the limits of the hardware,
the bad perf numbers increase exponentially, not linearly.

.         Monitor your Performance metrics.

.         Deploy Microsoft's UPHClean to all Win2K and WinXP devices (it's
built into Vista.yea!).

.         If possible for 'any' Roaming Profile deployment, spread the load
to multiple servers. In case of a power outage in the middle of the day,
just watch every single user try to log back on at the same time off a
single server. If that load isn't spread across multiple servers.ouch!

.         Deploy Anti-virus to the desktops and seriously consider turning
it 'off' for the profile server share folders (hey, it's the same data that
was just on the PC and just got scanned there). That helps with server
performance tuning. [Besides, we were starting weekly scans on Friday night
and they were still running in the middle of the day on Monday.whew.)

.         Watch out especially for Java application folders...usually the
applications that use them are coded by Java developers who are less
familiar with Windows profiles and boy do they tend to 'load up' the

.         User Profile data is NOT like other server storage data. It's
typically a few big files and then literally thousands of 1KB - 2 KB files.
(Remember about that 17.5 million file number? See above.). Most Server
Admins have 'no experience' tuning servers to support this kind of data and
will use the same process thinking to support a design for it. Your
deployment team needs throw out all preconception and make sure everyone
starts from scratch. 

.         Test out your server data restoration processes and repeat testing
them on a regular basis.

.         Monitor your Performance metrics.

.         Did I mention "Monitor your Performance metrics"? Pilot testing
cannot be used as 'the' expectation. We had  400 pilot users on a single
server whose logoff time increased by about 30 seconds. When we ramped up
for production and got to about 1,000 users on the server.wham!

.         Go get and read Darren and Derek's (Melber) GPO book as well as
Jeremy Moskowitz'es books on GPO's/Managed Desktops and read all you can
about the various Roaming Profile scenarios.


GPOs? We'll there's actually not too many.

.         Use the 'Add the Administrators security group to roaming user
profiles' setting

.         We set the "Timeout for dialog boxes" setting to 1 second (the
minimum you can set it too. BTW: If you set it to '0', the messages stay
visible until the user explicitly clicks it off.so '1's the ticket to set).
This minimizes calls to the Help Center for stuff the User would click OK on
anyway. And if the user "has" a problem, the data is logged in the App Event
log for the Help Center to find anyway.

.         We turned on Verbose UserEnv logging for all clients for debugging
purposes, used tools to gather them from time to time, and wrote some
parsers to extract certain types of data. The folks at SysProsoft have a
'free' and handy utility to look at individual UserEnv log files called:
Policy Log Reporter http://www.sysprosoft.com/index.php?ref=activedir

.         Control the "Exclude directories in roaming profile setting" to
exclude necessary folders. Here were some (not all) of ours:

Desktop;My Documents;Recent;Application Data\Adobe;Application
Data\AutoDesk;Application Data\Macromedia;Application
Data\Microsoft\MSDAIPP;Application Data\Microsoft\Clip Organizer;Application

.         If you limit the size of profiles, then consider updating the text
of the popup message with the "Limit Profile Size" setting and also redirect
the users to local resources (like your Help Center).

.         Consider controlling the "Prohibit User from manually redirecting
Profile Folders" setting.


So, can you successfully deploy Roaming Profiles to either small, medium, or
large numbers of End Users? Sure, but be prepared to (1) go slowly, (2)
spend some significant time supporting it (in terms of both hardware and
personal time).and more the larger numbers you go for, and (3) have some
fun, it's a learning experience. It's a great feeling when you see the light
come on for an End User who has almost everything back after logging onto a
repaired system (after a system crash and reload). It 'can' and 'is' worth




From: gptalk-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:gptalk-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of Booker.Washington@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 3:07 PM
To: gptalk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [gptalk] Do I need a custom adm, and/or where is the setting in the


For my labs, I have set the limit profile size to its maximum of  30000kb.
I want to raise it, but it gives me the error message that 30000kb is the
max.  Can I override the max with a custom adm, and/or where is that limit
found in the registry.  If I make the change t osomething higher than
30000kb will it even be recognized by policy?





Booker T. Washington III

Systems Support Specialist



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