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

  • From: "Timothy J. Parker" <timparker@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <gptalk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2008 10:18:20 -0400

Thanks for the info. I will check out the book. I can use all the help I can get.

Our environment is very small and should be "easy" to manage. We have two locations currently and only a handful of users that currently could or do work in both locations during a given week. The answer before was to create say an account "timparker" in the users main location of working and then a "timparker2" in the opposite location.

I started trying to work on making the profiles smaller with redirection and such as some were very large. The login times were in no way usuable. If they were trying to access the users profile directory on a DC in the remote/opposite location it was death. The two locations are connected by a VPN connection. I have lots of work to clean all this up I think.

Off to order a book!

Thanks again for the guidance. I will definately be back!


----- Original Message ----- From: "Darren Mar-Elia" <darren@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: <gptalk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, October 17, 2008 8:39 PM
Subject: [gptalk] Re: Do I need a custom adm, and/or where is the setting in the regsitry

I think we would be glad to provide guidance here. I think the use of roaming profiles is very environment specific. If you have an environment as large and complex as Jerry's then the use of roaming profiles will be a big pain. If you have a simple enviornment, where users only occasionally roam, don't have a ton of data or really large profiles, and network connectivity is generally good, you will have less problems. User Profiles have improved technically with each subsequent Windows release. For example, one big issue that has been around since early NT days is the leaking of profile resource handles, which was exacerbated by the use of roaming profiles. Vista has incorporated the user profile cleanup service into the OS now and it is configurable in policy such that this becomes less of an issue.

Bottom line is that if you can use folder redirection and offline files caching to get as much data out of the profile as possible, you will be in better shape if you have to roam. But even these technologies have their challenges. There is no easy answer here, unfortunately, but if you have specific scenarios you want to post to the list, please do.


-----Original message-----
From: "Timothy J. Parker" timparker@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2008 12:45:44 -0400
To: gptalk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [gptalk] Re: Do I need a custom adm, and/or where is the setting in the regsitry

Custom .adm Not WorkingDarren -- I am interested in learning more about your comment to avoid roaming > profiles, not sure if you can point me to some references, or if you are > willing we can take this off list if its been discussed too much before, > etc.

The reason I am interested is I had not really used them before my > current position and they have them implemented, but I am guessing its > not completely right. I have posted in the past looking for help on > different redirects, etc. I can give specifics of my environment and > agency "requirements" to hopefuly help me get everything flowing well.

Thanks again for an excellent resource!


----- Original Message ----- From: Darren Mar-Elia
  To: gptalk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  Sent: Friday, October 17, 2008 10:07 AM
Subject: [gptalk] Re: Do I need a custom adm, and/or where is the > setting in the regsitry

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

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 takeover?

  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 is.


· 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 profile.

· 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&f=policyreporter.sh> tml

· 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 Data\Roxio;Documents

· 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 it.


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 regsitry

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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