Ideas on forcing a profile onto all Users on a network.

By leem
Feb 8, 2005
  1. Do you know how you can force a profile onto all users on a network? We are on NT Server 4.0 with XP Pro Machines (NTSF format), and I was asked to make everyone who logs in have the same background, screen saver, icons, et cetera.

    I know I can paste shortcuts under "all folders" and everyone will have them, however, I want to share settings too.

    I have set up a dummy account and copied all folders from that User Id's document and settings. I pasted them over the Default Users documents and All Users documents, but only the shortcuts are forced onto the other user ids.

    How can I force the screen saver, background, and even show my computer and show internet (not the shortcuts but the actual link) on the desktop?

    thank you [Smile]
  2. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    I'm not sure how much NT 4 differs from 2000 Server, but a mandatory profile would probably work. I assume you're talking about a local profile that's stored on the PC, not like a roaming profile stored on your NT server.

    Take your "template" profile and then copy that to each machine. Then hook each user's local profile to that one and make it mandatory. This way, each time they log in, it looks the same. They can change stuff, but it won't be saved when they log out. The bad part is that a mandatory profile means they can't save ANYTHING. So each user will not only have the same background, screensaver, favorites etc; they can't save new files to My Documents or what have you. They'll have to store files outside the profile folder (i.e. Documents and Settings\%user%)

    Secondly, the "Default Users" profile is only used when a user creates a new account for the first time. That folder is used as the new profile. The "All Users" profile is shared across all users. So a shortcut in the desktop of All Users will appear on each user of the system.

    So basically, create your template profile and get it ready to copy. Log in to a machine with an admin account (not the account you want to change). Copy the template over the user folder (this will erase all their My Documents and Favorites). Then inside your template folder there is a hidden file called "ntuser.dat". Rename that file to "". Then log out and back on with that user. It should come up using your template if done correctly.
    Now try changing some settings, log off and back on, the settings should not have been saved.

    Getting My Computer and IE to show on the desktop may be a little more involved. I don't know where that info is stored. I'm guessing you could copy your template to a user (before making it mandatory). Log in to that user. Right click the desktop, choose properties, Desktop tab, Customize Desktop, then select the proper check boxes.
    Okay, after turning those icons on, log off so that it is saved. Then log on to make sure they appear. Then you can rename the ntuser.dat file. If that worked, then you can use that as your template.

    Well that's enough for now. I hope any of that makes sense, if this sounds like what you're looking for, I can help you some more.

    If you're talking about forcing all users to a new profile when they log on to the server. That may not be possible. Just because they are currently IN the profile, it may not be able to be overwritten. But a server logon script could handle some of that.
  3. leem

    leem TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 73

    thank you for your response. I am off to experiment.

    I really can't put this over each user because we have deep freeze. After the computer shuts off each weak, all local folders are deleted anyway. I was thinking of a mandatory profile from the network.

    HOWEVER, if
    I past it into the default user, does that mean when the user logs in for the first time (after deepfreeze works it's magic) that it will create their profile how I set it up?

    Can I change the ntuser.dat in the default profile to .man?

    Hmm..thinking and getting ready to tinker some...
  4. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    Hmm, I don't think it uses Defualt User at "first login". I think it uses it when they first create a user account. Meaning they don't even HAVE a profile folder yet. If they already have a profile folder, it won't use Default.

    One experiment might be to have deepfreeze delete the profile folder they already have. Then when they log in, XP should create a new one from the Default folder. And I don't see why you couldn't have the ntuser.dat file already renamed in the default folder. Unless XP just doesn't like that.

    Lastly, if you want their profile to actaully be downloaded from the server upon logon, that would have to be a roaming profile. As it's stored on the server instead of on the box. But roaming profiles are a setup and maintenance nightmare.

    Good luck tinkering. Let me know what your solution was.
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