What is the correct configuration of Roaming Profiles on a Windows NT Server?

Evan Spangler May 11, 2013
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I am trying to set up roaming profiles with a Windows NT 4.0 Server and a Windows XP Pro computer. I have created the account via the “User Manager for Domains” tool, created a share called “Profiles” in the root of the C:/ drive, and joined the XP computer to the domain.

When I try to log on, it tells me that either the Admin group or the current user must have ownership of the folder, and that it “cannot find the local profile.” I have granted “Full Control” to all groups, including Administrators. I am able to log on with the account, but changes are not saved when I log off. It has created a folder with the username in the share I have set up, yet the error persists even when I delete the folder and start from scratch.

The server is named as “EVANSERVER” and has a local IP of The XP computer is named “EVANSERVERWKSTN” and has an IP of Here is the current setup for the user folder and home directory (PLEASE SUBSTITUTE ALL FORWARD SLASHES FOR BACKSLASHES):

USER: evan2 (evan2)

_USER PROFILES_________________________________
|User Profile Path: //EVANSERVER/Profiles/evan2 |
|Logon Script Name: |

_HOME DIRECTORY___________________________________
|( ) Local Path: |
|(*) Connect [Z:] To: //EVANSERVER/Profiles/evan2 |

*NOTE: The parenthesis indicate radio buttons, with the asterisk meaning selected.

This is my first time experimenting with domains and active directory, so forgive me if I am asking any stupid questions. Thanks a million!

  1. Bruce Epper
    May 11, 2013 at 3:59 am

    The Profiles directory on the server must have, at a minimum, Add and Read permissions. If they don't they will not be able to add their profile directory if it does not already exist or read it if it does. If you (the admin) are creating a user's profile directory, this can be changed to only Read access.

    The ProfilesAll Users and ProfilesDefault User directories require all users to have Read access.

    Each individual user should have Full Control of their own profile directory (user evan2 has full control of Profilesevan2).

    If the user's profile directory does not exist the first time they log into the domain, the appropriate user profile directory will be automatically created and the contents of the Default User profile will be used as the basis of the user's newly created profile.

    Ideally, a user's profile directory and home directory should not be the same location. When you consider that a user's home directory is the default location where files will be saved, if it is included as part of their profile directory, the more stuff they store there, the longer it will take to log in and out of the machine as the profile is synced between the server and workstation at both events since all of the files are automatically becoming part of their profile.

    As a former Windows network admin, I always set up a separate Profile directory to handle the profiles and the user's home directory was located on a separate fileserver. In this manner, all of their documents were stored on a machine that was backed up every night, no files were stored on their local machine, and the documents were kept out of their profiles so they consistently had fast logon/off times. You may not have a separate fileserver, but you may be better off either not setting a home directory or creating another share to be used for that purpose on the system (C:Home%username%).

    Another option for small networks is to have a user's profile stored in a subdirectory under thier home directory (Home \serverusersbob and Profile \serverusersbobprofile). In this case, only the bobprofile directory is synced, not the entire home directory.

    As a final note, as this is NT 4.0, you are not experimenting with Active Directory. It didn't come into the picture until Windows 2000 Server and NT 4.0 has no support for it at all. You are merely playing around with Windows NT Domains. Trust me, Active Directory is far more complex.

  2. Rajaa Chowdhury
    May 11, 2013 at 1:51 am

    Read these resources :

    Guide to Windows NT 4.0 Profiles and Policies -> http://support.microsoft.com/kb/161334

    How to configure a user account to use a roaming user profile in Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000 Server, or Windows NT 4.0 -> http://support.microsoft.com/kb/316353

    Windows NT 4.0 Roaming Profiles May Not Be Saved to the Server -> http://support.microsoft.com/kb/325086