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

John H Terpstra jht at samba.org
Thu Jul 21 18:35:38 MDT 2011

On 07/21/2011 10:07 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.

The increasing logon and logoff times are most frequently caused by 
people storing files on their desktops (a VERY bad practice in corporate 
environments) - the entire desktop is written to the server when the 
user logs off from a machine.  This is particularly problematic when 
people log onto multiple machines at the same time.

Additionally, the files that are stored under "My Documents" are also 
copied from the profile server to the workstation at logon and are 
written back to the profile server at logoff.

PS: I came across one site where users had up to 120GB files in their 
"My Documents" and up to 20GB on their desktop.  Needless to say, they 
could not afford the long logon and logoff 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?

Should work OK so long as you can educate your users NOT to use the 
desktop and traditional "My Documents" to store large volumes of files. 
  Both the "Desktop" and "My Documents" folders can be redirected to a 
network share in the users' home directory - that will help resolve some 
of the problems.  Make sure that you disable the copying of these 
folders as part of the profile.  Refer to the Microsoft knowledge-base 
for info on how to do that.

> 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.

I have no intention to update the Official Samba HOWTO and Reference 
Guide - it was enough work the first time and when I wrote the update 
for Samba 3.0.20.  If you wish to do that please be my guest!

Please check out the "Samba3 by Example" book I wrote - it has some 
now-aging info that can still be useful on setting up folder redirection.

Additionally, it might be worth your while to check the Samba Wiki for 
updated info that users have contributed.

John T.

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