Roaming Profiles

Q: What is the advantage of roaming profiles, and are NT 4.0 roaming profiles different from NT 3.51 roaming profiles?

Just as in previous versions of Windows NT, NT 4.0 loads a user profile each time a user logs on. Many companies set up roaming user profiles because such a profile lets users have the same profile configuration on any NT 4.0 machine that can access the network.

An NT 3.x user profile is an individual file. This file is a Registry hive. When the user logs on, this file becomes the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive.

The new Windows interface allows for greater flexibility. The profile is a collection of folders and files. The profile path now points to a folder rather than the single file. The profile folder contains folders and files that make up the Desktop, Start Menu, Network Neighborhood, and the like.

The ntuser.dat file also resides in the profile folder and represents the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive for the currently logged on user. NT 3.x stores the user profile in the \%SystemRoot%\System32\Config folder. NT 4.0 stores the user profile in a folder within \%SystemRoot%\Profiles.

When you use roaming profiles, in either NT 3.x or NT 4.0, the system copies the user profile from the centrally stored location to the location specified as part of the logon process. When the user logs off, the system copies the user profile from the location specified, back to the central location.

Q: Are user profiles the same for Windows 95 and NT 4.0? Do Win95 and NT 4.0 store user profiles in the same directory path?

Because Win95 and NT 4.0 have a similar user interface (UI), the user profiles are also similar, but they are not the same. For example, in Win95, the file that the system copies to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive of the Registry is user.dat. When you configure Win95 for roaming profiles, the central profile is automatically stored in the home directory path.

Don't configure NT 4.0 to use the home directory path as the central location for the profile, because at logon, the system caches the entire contents of the profile path locally. If a user has a lot of data in the home directory, this configuration will be inefficient.

When Win95 copies the locally cached profile to the central location, it copies only shortcuts (*.lnk) files. NT 4.0 copies all files. This approach allows for a more flexible roaming profile. However, future versions of NT will have an option to copy only shortcuts for roaming profiles.

Q: How can I create a roaming profile?

To create a roaming profile, follow these steps:

1. Create a folder called profiles on the network and share it with all users who will store their profiles there. These users must have at least Change permission access for the profile folder.

2. In User Manager, select the users who will store their profiles on the network, and press Enter to bring up the user properties. Select Profile and enter

\\<ServerName\profiles\%username%

in the User Profile Path.

3. If you want to test this procedure immediately, don't forget to synchronize any Backup Domain Controllers (BDCs) with the Primary Domain Controller (PDC).

When these users log on, the system will load their user profiles. When they log off, the system will copy this local profile to the network location specified in the User Profile Path. The system will create a folder with the name of the user if this folder does not already exist.

A Word About Security

Q: I'm worried about the vulnerability of individual user profiles. Can one user change or copy another user's centrally stored profile

If you are concerned about a user's ability to change or copy another user's centrally stored profile, you can do a couple things. Rather than calling the share to the profile path profiles, you can call it profile$. This approach hides the share.

Hiding the share is not a problem because users have no reason to know the central location of their profile. You don't change the permissions on the share with this approach, but the share won't show up in the browse list.

You can put the profile path on an NTFS partition and set permissions to the user folders accordingly. Remember each user needs at least Change permission access to the profile folder.

You can put the profile path on a server that is already secure to the user. For example, suppose the accounting department has a server that has permissions already set to let only accounting users access it. This server might make a good location for those users' centrally stored profiles.

Note that because roaming profiles are stored on a server and cached locally, you have some redundancy in case you delete or change either copy of the profile. For up-to-the-minute information on user profile issues, check Microsoft's Knowledge Base on the Web. Go to http://www.microsoft.com and select Support; then select Search the Knowledge Base. Search for user profiles.

Setup, Upgrade, and Installation

Q: I can't select the option to upgrade my current NT 3.x installation. Why?

To do a clean upgrade to a new directory, you must have a retail release of the NT 3.x CD-ROM. NT 4.0 looks for a valid path to the software hive and loads the software hive for version number and product ID. The ARC path in the boot.ini must be correct and point to the current installation of NT 3.x. You must have a valid system and system32 subdirectory, and the ntoskrnl.exe and ntdll.dll files must be present.

Your inability to upgrade can be the result of one of the following:

1. If an application or the user has altered the software hive version or Product ID, NT will not find a valid upgrade path.

2. If the software or system hives are corrupt, NT will not find a valid installation and require a clean installation.

3. If NT does not find a valid install, make certain the boot drive is using the same disk controller as the system drive. A retired driver or a controller driver that is not detected might control one drive. If so, press F6 during the hardware detection phase of setup and select the correct controller driver from the list.

4. Upgrade to a clean directory will not work with floppy disk installation sets. You must have an NT 3.x CD-ROM.

5. NT 4.0 will not upgrade NT 3.51 that is running the Shell update.

6. NT will not upgrade Server to Workstation. Make certain the system you're upgrading is not a member server.

7. NT has no back door to fool Setup for upgrade purposes.

If an upgrade fails during the GUI portion of setup because of lack of disk space or misconfiguration of hardware, exit Setup and reboot. The GUI portion of setup will automatically restart.

Q: What conditions cause the error messages for 0x0000007b and 0x4, 0,0,0?

The 0x4, 0,0,0 message is usually a virus because that message is the result of a mismatch of the boot record through an initial int13 query and the mapping through the ARC path. If the setupldr and bootldr cannot rectify a sector comparison, the result is a 0x0000007b error message. This error can result from an incorrectly configured controller, a failing controller or drive, a retired driver controlling the boot drive, or a virus on a second drive that causes the ARC path search engine to fail.

You usually see the 0x0000007b message only on systems with two drives. If you have only one drive, the error is probably a configuration problem.

Q: When I reboot from character-based to GUI-based setup, the screen shows that NTOSKRNL is loading. Then, before or at the version screen, I get one of two stop codes: 0x0000000A or 0x0000001E. Why?

This problem can signify the presence of a third-party driver at the system level that is incompatible with the version of NT you are upgrading to. Or perhaps you have a corrupted driver that did not copy correctly during the text-mode portion of setup.

Try installing NT into a clean directory. If it installs correctly, try to access the first tree and replace the corrupted file or remove the files associated with any suspect third-party drivers.

If you are unable to install NT into a separate tree, check all essential hardware, including adapter cards and drive controllers. If you have nonessential adapter cards in the system, remove them and try the installation again. Also verify that the essential hardware in use is NT certified and has up-to-date firmware.

Printing

Q: I'm looking for a driver for my printer. What's the best way to get updated printer drivers?

Microsoft has had several print driver releases for NT 3.51 and NT 4.0. The best information about these drivers is in Knowledge Base articles, Q142643, "Windows NT 4.0 Driver Library"; and Q100654, "Windows NT 3.51 Driver Library."

Point your Web browser to http://
www.microsoft.com. Click Support, click Search the Knowledge Base, and select the product. Enter the applicable ID number, and click Retrieve Article.

Q: How do I set up TCP/IP printing services for NT?

NT uses the Line Print Daemon (LPD) server service and the Line Print Remote (LPR) client application for TCP/IP print services. Configuring these services can be challenging because they often interact with third-party print providers and UNIX hosts. The best source for Installation instructions is the NT 4.0 Server CD-ROM at \Support\Books\ Book_cp.hlp, Chapter 5, "Setting Up Print Servers," or NT 3.51 Server CD-ROM at \Support\Books\ Concepts.hlp, Chapter 6, "Sharing Printers." If problems continue, consult Microsoft's Knowledge Base. Table 1 lists relevant Knowledge Base articles.

Q: How do I configure print sharing with NT 4.0?

You can share a printer you've just installed with the Sharing tab in the Printer Properties dialog box. Click Printers in the Settings group on the Start menu to add printers, share printers, install printer drivers, configure printer ports, set printer properties, and set permissions.

For information about setting up and sharing printers, and printer permissions, see Chapter 5, "Setting Up Print Servers," on the NT 4.0 Server CD-ROM at \Support\Books\ Book_cp.hlp. For information about managing printer sharing, see "To set up a new printer," "To share your printer with other people," "To use a shared network printer," and "To stop sharing your printer" in Windows NT Help. Also, consult Microsoft's Knowledge Base if problems occur. Table 2 lists relevant articles from Microsoft's Knowledge Base.