Disabling Profile Caching on NT4.x

Daniel Fonseca daniel at med.up.pt
Tue Apr 21 10:33:33 GMT 1998

On Tue, 21 Apr 1998, Wolfgang Ratzka wrote:

> In a way, Samba (PDC or not) is better at supporting quotas than any
> NT machine, as it will automatically use the quota support of the
> underlying OS.  Regarding NT: quotas are among the many things
> promised for "The Next Version To Come [TM]". Currently you have to
> rely on 3rd party software to support them.  

Just try to do that on an NT Server and watch the performance (from poor
to plain misery) go down.

> [Remembering that the first releases of Sun's Solaris 2 didn't support
> quotas either (it gave you nice mysterious crashes if you tried to use
> them) my suspicion is that quotas are mainly for the academic
> clientele and therefore generally not too high on the priority lists
> (Talking to support people who didn't know what quotas are or whether
> they work or not certainly added to this impression... ).]

To my knowledge, the way NT SysAdmins work with free-space problems, is
one of two:

1) Buy more disks;

2) Use NT's on-the-fly compression feature on the users homes until
*everybody* is compressed and then use Rule 1) and 2) again :-)

> So the only viable strategy is to relocate those parts of the user's
> environment that might possibly become large. This would be the
> desktop folder, the Personal folder ("Eigene Dateien" in German NT) 
> and possibly the AppData folder ("Anwendungsdaten" in German NT).
> To achive that, either directly modify the values in the key
> "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders"
> to point directly to locations in the user's home directory
> (or rather use the policy editor to do that.)

Ok. I've done this with success but would just like to post here something
that bugged me until a noticed a detail in the docs.

I had mapped h:\Profile\Desktop to be the local profile's desktop, thus
bypassing NT's locally (C:) stored user profile.

The problem that happened is that NT would erase everything I put on the
Desktop after logoff. The reason for this I discovered in a detail in the
docs. NT updates the profile by *deleting* the roaming part and copying
the local one. So being that these two were the same directory, NT would
erase it and copy an empty directory onto itself. (duh!)

My advise: Just keep the *custom* roaming directories off of the same
Roaming profile ones.

This is also a good thing to do be done since you could run out of disk
quota while updating the roaming desktop (no chance for a "user prompt"
on what to do), and in a scenario (mine) where you don't locally cache
profiles, we were in for data loss.

I'm preparing some extra-documentation on all these hacks I've done
(including making the Custom Start Menus (those beneath the user's) and
the Custom Desktop Icons (those the user can't delete) stored centrally in
the PDC instead of having to have them on each machine) but it won't be
ready until my work in here has cooled off. I think I'll call it:
"How to make NT's misfeatures (my name for it's bugs) work for you"
If any doubt, e-mail me.

Hope to help,

Daniel Fonseca
Sysadmin for Oporto's University Med School

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