[Samba] Slow logoff with roaming profiles (Answers!)

Jonathan Johnson jon at sutinen.com
Tue Feb 24 17:09:24 GMT 2004

I've found that with roaming profiles enabled, some users experience
extremely slow logoffs when using NT/XP/2000. I've discovered that
this is usually due to very large email folders in the user's profile.


As Outlook saves ALL messages in a single .pst file, any activity in
Outlook will result in the .pst file being changed and therefore
needing to be synchronized with the profile stored on the server at the
next logoff. If the file is very large, this can take a horribly long

A few solutions are available:
	* Use a Microsoft Exchange server or equivalent
	* Move the user's .pst file to another location outside of the
	  profile, either on the local hard disk or a network share
	  (Note: don't put it in the "My Documents" folder)
	* Use IMAP instead of POP3.
	* Force your users to delete old messages -- and empty their

Except for the last, these solutions move the message store outside the
user's profile, so it doesn't need to be sync'd to the server with the
profile. Realize that placing it elsewhere on the local drive will
prevent it from being backed up with the server.


Outlook Express operates similarly, except that it creates files for
each folder. Any activity in Outlook Express will likely change
multiple folders (typically, Sent Items, Outbox, Inbox, and Deleted
Items) which must then be synchronized at the next logoff.

Unfortunately, Outlook Express does not permit you to move the message
store to a network share. Your only choice here is to move it elsewhere
on the local drive. If you wish to back it up, you'll need some kind of
script or remote agent to sync it to the server perhaps once a day or
so when the user is away. (Think rsync and sync2nas.) Alternately, you
could use IMAP.


I haven't investigated other clients, but I'm assuming most of them
will let you specify the location of the message store. That is left as
an exercise for the reader. :-)


As for IMAP clients, I've found that Mozilla is tops, followed closely
by Netscape. Outlook Express works OK but is a pain to configure it to
run smoothly, and Outlook just plain sucks as an IMAP client.

Some of you may have external POP3 servers that won't permit you to use
IMAP. Since you are presumeably running Samba on a *nix machine, you
could install an IMAP daemon on that server and use a program such as
fetchmail to periodically retrieve email, then have the users' IMAP
clients communicate with your Samba server.

Note that there may be other issues that cause slow logoffs, but this
it one that I've found to be a major culprit.

--Jon Johnson
Sutinen Consulting, Inc.

ADDITIONAL KEYWORDS: log off logon path

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