Maintaining User Data and Settings on a Network

User data management and user settings management make it possible for data and settings to follow the user whether or not they are connected to a network, and whichever computer they use. You can increase a user's access to data and his or her personal environment by storing that information on network servers as well as in synchronized offline locations on the local hard disk.

Many of the same technologies are used to implement both user data and settings management. Although some organizations might deploy data and settings management separately, other organizations will plan for and deploy them at the same time. The following sections discuss user settings and user data management together.

The following technologies are needed to centrally manage user data and settings:

Active Directory    Provides the infrastructure for using and managing Group Policy.

Group Policy    Allows administrators to customize and control Windows 2000 elements such as the desktop, network access, and Microsoft® Internet Explorer for users or computers.

Roaming User Profiles    Enables users' personal settings and desktop configurations—including any Start menu customizations and the contents of the My Documents folder—to follow them from computer to computer. This allows them to have a familiar working environment regardless of which computer they are using.

Folder Redirection    Uses Group Policy to redirect personal folders (My Documents, Application Data, Start Menu, and Desktop) to a network server. When a personal folder is redirected, it is stored on the network and is available to users regardless of which computer they use to log on.

Offline Files (or Folders)    Allows users to maintain two copies of a document—one stored on a network file share, the other on the user's computer. Whenever a user logs on or off, Windows 2000 synchronizes the two copies of the document.

Disk Quotas    Limits the amount of information a user can store on a given NTFS file system volume. Because most IntelliMirror technologies involve storing user data on the network rather than on local hard disks, disk quotas might be required to ensure that users have adequate network storage space.

Security Settings    Allows discretionary access control lists (DACLs) to be set on files and folders.

Figure 24.5 illustrates the key planning steps that need to be completed to enable user data and settings management.


Figure 24.5 Planning Process for User Data and Settings Management

In the following sections, you will learn about the additional technologies needed to enable user data and settings management:

  • Roaming User Profiles

  • Folder Redirection

  • Offline Files (or Folders)

  • Synchronization Manager

  • Disk Quotas