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  1. Introduction
  2. Capabilities
  3. Structure
  4. The Registry
  5. System and Configuration Files
  6. Security
  7. Application Support
  8. Requirements
  9. Installation
  10. Unattended Installation
  11. Booting
  12. Filesystems
  13. Programs
  14. Control Panel
  15. Tool
  16. Commands
  17. Customization
  18. Environment Variables
  19. Printing
  20. Performance
  21. System Services
  22. Permissions
  23. Groups
  24. User Rights and Auditing
  25. User Profiles
  26. Policies
  27. Network Model
  28. Resource Access
  29. Network Browsing
  30. Protocol Support
  31. RAS
  32. Networking
  33. Backups
  34. Events
  35. Error Handling
  36. Diagnostic Tools
  37. Items to Memorize
  38. Terms
  39. Credits

Windows NT User Profiles

The user's profile allows the user's environment to be configured. The User Manager administration tool allows user profiles to be modified when "user properties", then "profile" are selected. The user profile contains:

  • Desktop settings - screen colors, wallpaper
  • Persistent network and printer connections
  • Mouse settings and cursor settings
  • Recently edited documents.
  • Start-up programs, shortcuts, and personal groups

The user profile settings are saved in part of the registry and on disk. They are loaded when the user logs on. There are two profile types:

  • Local profile - Stored in the WINNT40\PROFILES\USERNAME directory or WINNT40\SYSTEM32\CONFIG of using WinNT 3.5.1. The profiles file is NTUSER.DAT in the directory called by the user's name. A mandatory profile which discards any changes the user makes to their profile at logoff time, can be implemented by modifying the name of the user profile file from NTUSER.DAT to NTUSER.MAN.
  • Roaming - Stored on an NT server and downloaded to the computer that the user logs onto. This way the same user's profile can be available on any machine.

The User Environment Profile box may be accessed by selecting user properties in the User Manager, then selecting Profile. The user profiles in the User Environment Profile dialog box can be configured so the user profile path is on a specific server by specifying the server name as part of a UNC (Universal Naming convention) file name such as \\servername\userprofiles\username. The specified login script file is stored in the scripts subdirectory on the server that validates the user. Logon scripts stored on a domain controller are distributed to all domain controllers using directory replication. The user home directory can be set to be on the local machine or on a server.

Profile directory structure:

  • Application - Refers to data used by application programs that the user may modify when they change a setting in the application.
  • Desktop - Refers to desktop and briefcase shortcuts.
  • Favorites - Refers to favorite programs and internet locations.
  • NetHood - Refers to shared folders in Network Neighborhood.
  • Personal - Refer to personal group program shortcuts.
  • PrintHood - Refers to print folder item shortcuts.
  • Recent - The most recent items the user accessed.
  • SendTo - Refers to the most recent items that documents were copied to.
  • Start Menu - Refer to items in the Start menu.
  • Templates - Refer to template shortcuts.

The default user settings are used to create a new user's profile when the new user logs on the first time.

Roaming Profiles

Roaming and local profiles may be mandatory which will not allow the user to modify them. Roaming profiles are profiles that have been placed on a central server. When the user logs onto the domain, the roaming profile is copied to the local computer the user logged on from. If the user makes changes to the profile, they are saved to the local computer and the central server. When the user log on from another computer the most recent of the local or server stored profile is used. If a user's profile is a mandatory profile and that profile is not available when the user attempts to log on, the logon attempt will fail.

If a user is deleted, the user profile should first be deleted by using the "User Profile" tab of the User Manager.

On Windows NT servers, the System Policy Editor is used to control user profile settings. The user policy file is saved in the WINNT40\SYSTEM32\REPL\IMPORT\SCRIPTS\NTCONFIG.POL.

Roaming profiles can be configured between workstations by setting up a user profile in a shared directory that is accessible to all workstations the user will log on from. Then on each workstation, the user will log in from, the UNC path to the profile file must be set. This is done from the User Manager, "select "User Properties" for the user, then "Profile", then enter in the UNC path in the "User Profile Path" text box.