Win95 / NT Profiles (was: RE: A question about NT Domains)

Bruce Cook BC3-AU at
Sun Apr 12 04:04:28 GMT 1998

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton writes:
 > ok, just received a couple of references regarding profiles.  it would
 > help enormously if someone could absorp and digest these into text
 > readable form. 
 > i've also been told that the (new) doc is incomplete: Win95 checks the
 > time/date stamps on the various user.dat files, and uses the latest one.
 > this, he suggests, is a good reason to use mandatory profiles.

Ah yes I knew there was something I forgot.
here it is for completeness.

When a user logs into a specific machine for the first time, they will be
told that they've never logged into the machine, and would they like to
store the user setting for future use.

If the user answers NO, they will be nagged about this every time they
log into the machine until they say YES. (How about it MS, could we
possible do something about this feature?)

When the user answers YES, thereafter upon logging out of the machine,
a copy of the user's profile is also written onto the machines local disk
for later use.

When a user logs into a machine where his/her profile has previously been
saved, a comparison is made between the date of the profile copy kept on
the machine, and the date of the profile stored on the server.  In theory
the server date should be later or the same.

If the local machine date is later than the server date, the client
machine will tell you the the settings on the local machine are more
recent than those of the server, and would you like to user them instead.

This occurs for a couple of reasons:
	1. Server not available when the user logs out
	2. Date mismatch between the server and the client
	   (I always use NET TIME \\server /SET /YES in my logon scripts)

Logging in with NO server available.

In some cases a client will want to log into a network with no server
available. (Portables away from the office, or a dead server)

This can only happen if the administrator has NOT set the machine to
give access only upon password verification from the server.
(If the admin has done this, it can be circumvented by restarting
 the machine in safe mode, and running poledit, or regedit and
 disabling that feature)

If you are able to log in while the server is unavailable, you have
two choices
	1. Log in as a user that previously stored a profile
	   (The password won't have to match unless the machine
	    is set up to store passwords)

	2. log in as the default user (bit the cancel button or escape key)

If you choose to use your profile stored on the local machine, there are
several things you should be wary of:
	1. the profile stored on the machine will be a copy of the last
	   profile used when you logged into THAT machine.  You may get
	   quite an old profile.
	2. When you log out, that local profile is garunteed to be later
	   than the one on the server, and if the server is available, or
	   you later log into that machine when the server is available
	   you could overwrite the good server profile with a bogus profile.

Technique note:
	I set portable computers up so that they don't use roaming profiles,
	rather they have a single profile kept on the machine.  This means
	that a user has the same desktop look an feel regardless of where
	they are.   This follows the philosophy that laptops tend to be used
	by only one person.	

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