how do I keep personal settings over network

Compaq / R3000
June 25, 2011 at 14:16:21
Specs: Windows 7, 2.4ghz/4gb
I recently posted a question on Yahoo answers (copied below). I quickly received a good answer, but it brought up another question. The thing I don't like about Yahoo answers is that you cannot comment on or continue in a "conversation" with the person, so I am transfering my question here. Here is my Yahoo question and response...

Im doing research on possibly adding a server (win 2008) to my work network and in my research i have heard that a user can log on to basically any computer on the network and all of their settings will be displayed as if they are on their usual computer. Is this actually true? Well, I mean obviously one perk of a server is that the users files can be accessed from anywhere, but I am asking about general computer settings like desktop background, the arrangement of the icons on your desktop, any custom cursors or sound schemes, etc. Are all of these "transferred' to whatever computer the user logs in to, or are just the users files only accessible?

Answers (1)

What you are describing is not a typical home network.
What you are describing is a "Thin Client" environment, which is a completely different setup.

In the typical home server network setup, a computer or storage device is designated and set up as a network server. All other computer on the network operate normally. The change is that now the network server can be accessed from any machine and files stored or read.
But all work is still done on the workstation. The server is just a file server, nothing more.

In a thin client environment, the desktop computer is a bare bones box with about the same computing power as a netbook. The client accesses the sever, which runs the workstation as a virtual machine, sending the image of the desktop to the workstation.
But everything happens on the server. The desktop box is just really a remote terminal.
This system makes a lot of sense in a call center or an insurance company, but is less useful in the home.

Hope that helps

My response to that is as follows... (bear with me because I am extremely new to the whole server system) So when building a network with Win 2008 server, first off, this not what I am looking for but just for learning purposes, can i create that "thin client" environment with win 2008 server? Second, I've learned that the "file server" service of Win 2008 in short is essentially is just like mapping a network drive in the client PC to that users folder. Is there a way to configure the Client PC so when the user opens the My Documents folder, it is actually opening the users folder on the server for that user? Im sure there is some registry configuration on the client pc to change this location, but what mean is, is there some type of server setting, so I wouldn't have to edit the registry on each PC.

I'm sure many, many more server questions will come, but lets just start with these. Thanks for your input

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June 25, 2011 at 14:38:53
Yes, if you use 2008 Server it works in exactly the way you describe. (Nothing to do with thin clients - that's a red herring.) The files, directories, and registry settings that define your setup are stored on the server as part of your user profile and retrieved from there when you log on. So, wherever you log on you get the same user experience. The work is indeed still done on the workstation, but the user settings are saved on the server. As you can imagine, this is a huge benefit in a large organisation that uses hot desking.

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June 26, 2011 at 06:35:09
Ok thats great to know... i dont want to sound like a pain right now, but how would I go about setting it up like that? I am playing around with 2008 server R2 on a VM right now just to get the feel of things before I jump into the real environment. Bear in mind again that I am completely new to server 2008 (or any version for that matter). My first look at the OS was only a few days ago.
I did find a helpful basic setup video tutorial where i now have Active Drirectory Domain Services, DNS and DHCP services set up. When the video was explaining setting up users in the AD DS, he just explained how to set up a user directory that gets mapped on the client machine every time they log on, but nothing about user directories and other settings that are applied upon log in like you were just explaining.

If setting up like I am asking is too complicated to expalin in a forum like this, could you point me to a link that may describe it better. Beleive me, I have done much searching on this topic (and basic setting up Server 2008 in general) and have come up empty handed (except for that one video explained earlier). Everything I do find is for already advanced users and I just get lost.

Not to ramble on, but here is a few details about my network the server will be on. In all honesty I probably do NOT even need a server, but I've heard that everyone can benefit one way or another with one on their network. I have a small office with only 4 PC in it. Basically it will just be a file server and used for backup (with maybe a web server and/or remote access in the future). I understand Win 2008 Server is probably overkill for this, but i want to learn anyway. Security is no issue. I am asking about the setting transfer to different machines because we do have 2-3 employees that do not have a set desk. They tend to jump on whatever computer is open when they come in. I would like for them to have all of their personal settings available to them regardless what maching they are on.

Thanks for your help on this topic

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