Windows Profile How Do I?'s

Q. What's a Windows profile?

A Windows user's profile allows the user to have a personalized desktop environment. The desktop environment includes the content and arrangement of Start Menu groups, screen colors, desktop shortcuts, network and printer connections, and mouse / keyboard settings. When a new user logs onto a computer, a profile is created automatically. While a user is logged on, changes made to the desktop environment are saved to their user profile.

Q. What types of profiles are available?

In a network of computers like Haas, profiles can be either Local or Roaming. Local profiles are only stored on the computer to which you log in. Roaming profiles are copied from your local computer to a network server when you log off, and are copied from the server to any Haas domain computer you may log in to in the future.

Q. How do profiles affect my computers performance?

Since Roaming profiles are downloaded when a user logs on, and uploaded when the user logs off, large user profiles degrade system performance. Not only do they cause long login delays for the user, but they use excessive network capacity and waste the processing power of the profile servers, degrading system performance for all users. Using Local Profiles,and limiting the profile size shorten the time it takes to log on and off and improve system performance for all users.

Q. How large are typical profiles?

Faculty and staff Roaming profiles are currently not limited. Some have grown to be in excess of 1400 megabytes. In comparison, students profiles are limited to 4.5 megabytes, which has proven to be adequate for most purposes. In discussions at meetings of the three Technology Advisory Committees, the idea of limiting Staff and Faculty Roaming Profile size was accepted as necessary to avoid degradation of network responsiveness.

Q. Am I using a Local or a Roaming profile?

Follow the instructions for your operating system at:

Windows 2000 Windows XP

to determine what type profile you are using.

Q. How large is my profile?

The instructions for your operating system at

Windows 2000 Windows XP

will also show you your profile size.

Q. How can I control my profile size?

Q. How can I reduce my profile size?

You can reduce your profile size by using Windows Explorer to manage your Windows Profile.

Q. Would a Local or a Roaming profile be best for me?

HCS recommends that Faculty and Staff who normally log into only one workstation use a Local Profile so that their login will be faster. If you frequently use more than one computer and want access to your desktop icons and user settings wherever you log in, you should use a Roaming Profile.

Q. How can I get assistance and information on my profile?

For assistance with your profile, please contact the Helpdesk at, phone 510/642-0434 or toll free 866/642-0434.

Questions or problems regarding this web site should be directed to the HCS Helpdesk.

Last modified: July 2003
Last modified by: R. Lozano