The following white paper details things you always wanted to know about Windows profile management! It is written by Citrix / Terminal Services guru Dr. Bernhard Tritsch, MVP, CTP.
I want to be very honest with you; I spend more time with my Windows laptop than with any other being. Over the years, this created a strong, um, yes, I guess we can call it relationship. My laptop knows what I write, what I think, what news I read, what applications I use, and what media I consume. It knows all my user credentials and certificates, my documents, my audio and video files, my browser history, my preferred desktop settings and my weirdest habits when using programs – locally or remotely. It even knows where I store my family pictures!
When I’m traveling, I hardly ever leave my laptop alone; it’s like a reliable extension to my brain. I start believing that my laptop knows more about me than my wife does or even I do. And it stores most of this information in something called a user profile. Isn’t that scary? There are certainly moments when I feel intimidated by this fact. To make things even harder, user profiles are not so easy to deal with from a technical perspective.
All that being said, it is obvious that user profiles touch a very emotional aspect of people’s experience while interacting with Windows; it’s about individual workspaces, each one reflecting its owner’s personality. But you also have to keep in mind that user profiles may well include business critical information represented by unique, user-specific data and settings related to desktops and applications. In the past, when we only needed to deal with one physical desktop and one profile per user, things were relatively simple. But now we all tend to have access to our corporate and private applications through multiple physical desktops.
In addition to that, remote desktops and the advent of virtual desktop infrastructures are making things even more challenging. Using a wider spectrum of applications from multiple desktops, with each desktop optimized for dedicated tasks, is the way how I’m working today both at work and at home. And I don’t regard myself as an early adopter. I’m convinced that many people around the globe use computers in pretty much the same way I do. And most of them are struggling with their Windows user profiles.
Wrirten: by Bernhard Tritsch, March 2010