Roaming Profiles

Roaming profiles have advantages. With roaming profiles, the administrator doesn't need to worry about which machine a user logs on to. In addition, you can send files directly to any unique user on the network because the logon server stores users' profiles.

In Windows NT domains, logons are usually stored in the \%systemroot%\winnt\profiles\LogonNameOfUser folder. The desktop subfolder appears under this folder. On Windows 2000 computers, desktop settings are stored in the \systemroot%\Documents and Settings\LogonNameOfUser folder.

My tip assumes that the users have roaming profiles stored on the PDC and that the users have the necessary share and security permissions. Because an administrator must use User Manager for Domains to set the location of roaming profiles on Win2K and NT PDCs, the location might be different for different networks or domains.

A network administrator or user with Administrator rights can easily send a file directly to a user's desktop. On the PDC, find the folder that stores the user's profile and settings. The name of this folder is usually the user's logon name. Thus, if the user's logon name is samuel, the PDC will likely contain a folder named samuel (e.g., C:\winnt\profiles\samuel). Next, find the desktop subfolder. This folder contains the folder and file items that appear on the user's desktop when he logs on. Record the Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path that leads to the desktop subfolder. Use your roaming profile to log on to a machine in the same domain as the user. After you log on, create a new shortcut on your desktop. In the shortcut's location box, enter the UNC path you recorded earlier. Give the shortcut a descriptive name (e.g., Send file to Samuel). The shortcut you created on your desktop will point to the user's desktop folder, which is on the PDC and downloads each time the user logs on to a network machine. To send a file to the user, simply drag or paste the file into your shortcut. If the user is logged on, the file will immediately appear on his desktop. Otherwise, it will appear on his desktop when he next logs on. This method is more convenient than directing a user to a file on a network share, particularly if the network has several servers.

An improvisation of this technique is to create a shortcut to the user's desktop in the SendTo folder on your local machine. When you want to send a file, right-click the file and select the user's desktop on the SendTo menu. In NT 4.0, the SendTo folder is under the \%systemroot%\winnt\profiles\LogonNameOfUser folder. In Win2K, the SendTo folder is under the \%systemroot%\Documents and Settings\LogonNameOfUser folder.

If you often move between machines and you want the SendTo menu item available when you log on to any machine in the domain, locate your profile folder on the PDC and find the SendTo folder under your profile folder. (The SendTo folder is on the same level as the desktop folder.) Create a shortcut in the SendTo folder, as I explained for the desktop folder.

Regardless of which machine you're logged on to in the domain, you can have several shortcuts that point to different users' desktops. And no matter which machine in the domain a user logs on to, the user can receive the files you send.

I use this method to send files and other data directly to users on my corporate intranet. I use NT's Net Send command to send users a message telling them I've sent a file.

TAGS: Windows 8
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