Roaming profiles are mostly used in a managed desktop environment. With roaming profiles, all personalization changes that users make during a Windows session are stored in the central roaming profile when users log out. When a user logs in to a Windows session, the roaming profile is copied again from the central location. With User Environment Manager, you can manage the size of roaming profiles, reduce login times, and achieve greater flexibility in managing application and Windows settings for roaming profiles.

You should avoid using roaming profiles with User Environment Manager for a longer period of time. Typically, User Environment Manager only runs with roaming profiles when you start migrating from the roaming profile to either local or mandatory profiles being managed by User Environment Manager. The User Environment Manager best practice is to use either local or mandatory profiles.

Advantages

  • No specific administration necessary besides enabling the roaming profiles.

  • Personalized settings roam with the user across different machines that are running the same operating system.

Disadvantages

  • Limited control over the settings that the users can change. Everything is saved by default.

  • Large roaming profiles might get corrupted and cause the individual roaming profile to reset completely. As a result, users might spend a lot of time getting all personalized settings back.

  • Troubleshooting an application defect might cause the individual roaming profile to reset completely because all application and Windows settings are stored in a single container.

  • Roaming profiles do not roam across different operating systems. This results in multiple roaming profiles per user in a mixed environment, like desktops and Terminal Services.

  • Potential for unnecessary growth of roaming profile, causing long login times.

  • Application shortcuts and file type associations get retained in roaming profiles and often cause confusion when users roam to devices where the applications might not be installed.

You can address many of the disadvantages of roaming profiles by using User Environment Manager.

  • You can use the Profile Cleanup feature to clean up unimportant or obsolete parts of each user profile at logout.

  • Create a mandatory set of settings for business-critical applications by using the Predefined Settings feature. You can also use Predefined Settings to disallow personalized settings for certain applications.

  • Decouple and segment personalized application and Windows settings from the roaming profile by using the Import / Export and the Profile Cleanup features.

  • Compress all settings that User Environment Manager manages including files and folders to provide shorter login times.

  • Save all settings for roaming profiles in a central place that makes the settings available after a total reset.

  • Reset certain application or Windows settings without performing a complete reset of the roaming user profile.

  • Provide roaming for personalized application and Windows settings across different operating systems for a consistent user experience.

  • Provide different application and Windows settings depending on a user's business case by using Condition Sets.