[Samba] Samba 3.4, Windows 7, Roaming profiles and Folder redirection

Marc Cain mcain at sccd.ctc.edu
Thu Jul 21 17:22:13 MDT 2011

Here are the key steps that need to be applied for Windows 7 and WinXp folder redirection in Samba 3.x environments.  Feel free to email me off list if you need any more detail:

-- For Windows 7 be sure to create a proper default user profile on the workstation using sysprep.  It's crucial to the initial profile creation.

The first time a user logs onto the domain have a logon script (vbscript works great for this) do the following:

-- Copy the applicable folder(s) from the users local profile to locations on the server that are outside the user's remote profile path; for instance to a folder in their home directory. 

-- Alter the paths in "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders" to point to these new locations.  The most critical folders, and maybe the only ones you really need to redirect, are Application Data(AppData) and Desktop,  though you can redirect anything that's list in User Shell Folders including Downloads.

-- Make sure the workstation's local GroupPolicy is set to not roam the folders you've redirected. Windows will continue to copy them up and down from the server's profile folder if you don't set this: User Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\User Profiles	\Exclude directories in roaming profile

- You will want to look at a couple of other settings in the Local GroupPolicy and tweak to your preferences
	Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\User Profiles
	User Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\User Profiles	

Here's the path structure we use:



The first logon can be long depending on network performance and the number of installed apps, up to a couple of minutes due to the copying of data from local to remote drives.  Subsequent logons should only take 5 to 10 seconds (again depending on network performance) since the system is only copying a few megabytes worth of data to and from the profile folder.

There are a couple of critical timeout issues that may need to be addressed if you experience long Welcome screens after the initial logon:

When the following local GPO is left in its default setting Samba domain logons are delayed for 30 seconds: "Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\User Profiles\Set maximum wait time for the network if the user has a roaming user profile or remote home directory."  Enable this and set the value to 0 to work around this timeout.

A 30 second timeout can occur if you set the local GPO to "Run logon scripts synchronously".  The fix was to apply an old Vista reg setting.  Can be Googled as "Vista Run logon scripts synchronously".


On Jul 21, 2011, at 8:07 AM, Tanuki uk wrote:

> Hello,
> I'm quite new to Samba administration and I've inherited a working samba
> setup with roaming profiles however the login and logout times for users has
> been growing and I'm starting to think it's time do something about it. I'm
> thinking redirect some folders to a samba share on the network will speed up
> the login and logout times.
> Our setup has 25 Windows 7 workstations and about 10 laptop users(also on
> windows 7) all connecting to one Samba server. The laptops are often not on
> the main office network so i was planning to use offline file sync for the
> network drive i would be redirecing to, is this a bad idea for some reason?
> I've had a look around at various documentation and details seem
> quite scarce. However all the documentation I've found is targeted at
> Windows XP or suggests using domain wide Group Policy Objects (GPO's). My
> understanding is that GPO's can only be used if you have a Windows AD server
> or Samba 4 however I don't have a Windows server and Samba 4 is abit too
> bleeding edge for a production deployment(?).
> If anyone can point me to some good documentation it would be really useful,
> I would love to see an updated "The Official Samba HOWTO and Reference
> Guide" or similar. Thought's comments or insights are also more then
> welcome.
> Thanks,
> Tanuki
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