The contributions of managing user profiles

User profile management tools play an important role in companies that use VDI, RDSH, or which many workers switch from one device to another, as well as those who want to accelerate their transition to Windows 10.

The user profile, which links all applications, data, and configuration settings, is an often overlooked part of the user experience. When deploying Windows, for example, problems with user profiles are common. The tools for managing these profiles make it possible to store the registry keys and file system entries associated with a profile in a centralized manner, and then to return them to the user, whenever necessary, and especially to the opening. session.

The user profile can exist on any computer device, up to the tablet or smartphone, but the management of user profiles is usually linked to Windows profiles.

Most computers in a business environment rely on Windows. Even devices that do not run Windows typically access Windows applications through virtualization, or a remote access mode.

To fully understand the importance of user profile management tools, it is essential to know the different types of profiles, as well as how customization and policy differ.

Types of user profiles

There are four types of traditional user profiles. Local profiles are stored on the user’s device. The profile can be as big as needed, can be loaded quickly and is available at any time.

This profile is specifically related to the device. Therefore, if the user connects to another device or service, their profile on that other device does not reflect the changes they have saved.

Roaming profiles were Microsoft’s first answer to the question of users working with multiple devices: the profile is stored on a network share. When the user logs off on a device, a copy of the profile is saved and any changes made are reflected on the terminal used later.

Administrators often combine roaming profiles with folder redirection to avoid problems with large profiles that extend logon and logoff times. Although viable, this approach requires network storage and is specific to particular versions of Windows. So far, there are six different versions of profiles that Microsoft uses in the iterations of the Windows operating system.

Roaming profiles can cause problems, disk space management (when profiles are oversized), and corruption (where multiple instances of a profile create inconsistencies). In addition, they can affect certain key performance indicators, such as logon times, and induce occasional application instabilities.

Mandatory profiles are a special type of roaming profile in which the user always loads a specific predefined version of their profile. Any changes to this profile are canceled at logoff.

Mandatory profiles are useful in organizations where it is essential that each user has the same experience and no profile changes persist. These profiles are common in the education, training, or on machines offered in kiosk mode.

There are also super-mandatory profiles, which prohibit a user from logging in without loading the mandatory profile.

Hybrid profiles are an attempt to combine the speed and availability of a local profile with the full roaming capability of a roaming profile. These profiles use profile management software to overcome the limitations of traditional roaming profiles and provide the user with an experience that can be found on multiple devices without compromising usability.

Policy against customization

A true hybrid profile platform provides users with consistent experience across multiple resources and devices, as well as responsive access and short login and logoff times. Depending on the complexity of the software used and the requirements it imposes, it is even possible to provide hybrid profiles on multiple versions of Windows.

The strategy refers to the application of particular parameters on the terminals. For example, administrators can push the same wallpaper on all of the company’s laptops. Conversely, the customization gives the user the freedom to choose and keep personal preferences for settings, such as wallpaper or economizer. These changes persist from session to session.

Many profile management tools also allow strategies around a set of basic tools. Its functional scope thus extended, the profile management software falls within the broader category of user environment management software or unified management of terminals.

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