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Microsoft Virtualization Secrets by John Savill

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Using Roaming Profiles for Virtualization

Roaming profiles provides one option for making the primarily registry-based configurations available on the many operating system instances a user may use. By making the user’s profile available across operating system instances, it can be thought of as being abstracted from the operating system, and in its own way virtualized.

How Roaming Profiles Work and When They Don’t

Many people have heard of roaming profiles, but they don’t necessarily understand what they are. The Roaming Profiles feature works in a similar fashion to Folder Redirection, basically taking the user’s profile and storing it on a network server. When the user logs on, the profile is pulled down from the server and cached; and when the user logs off, the (changed) files in the profile are copied back to the server, overwriting the older profile.

This sounds like a neat solution, but in practice, if you suggested that an IT organization use Roaming Profiles, they would likely feel you don’t have their best interests at heart, and with good reason. Many users have noted frequent problems with roaming profiles becoming corrupted and behaving very erratically when a user tried to log on or off different machines at the same time.

The main problem is that Roaming Profiles works by replicating an entire file whenever there is a change, rather than just recording the change itself. Roaming Profiles was not really designed to handle huge amounts of data, but many organizations ...

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