What is a “profile”?

A Windows User Profile contains default desktop settings and any changes that the user chooses to make to those settings. Changes might include wallpaper, colors, desktop shortcuts, many application settings, and user-selected printers.

At present, user profiles are stored separately from user files which makes users less susceptible to inadvertent damage to their profiles, yet there are still numerous ways that users can can get into trouble.

Technically, a user has 2 profiles:

  • Roaming profile – stored in the user’s “\\thoth\Profile[nn]\username\Windows Profile” and “\\thoth\Profile[nn]\username\Application Data” directories, available at any MCECS Windows computer where the user can log onto the network.
  • Local profile – a copy of the user’s roaming profile, created on the C: drive when the user logs onto the network.

Desktop changes are first saved to the local profile. When the user logs off the network, the local profile overwrites the roaming profile. This makes it possible for those changes to be available at other Windows systems on the network.

What do you lose if you lose your profile?

The following list is not exhaustive, but most of the major items you’d lose are:

  • desktop settings (user-defined shortcuts, colors, background, etc)
  • printer definitions
  • user-defined drive mappings
  • your Internet Explorer Favorites
  • if you are an MS-Outlook or Outlook Express user and have not moved your Outlook folder file from its default location, you will lose your e-mail, address book, and calendar

How can you “lose” or damage your profile?

Consider these situations:

  1. Abnormal log off – the system is shut down before logging off normally.
  2. User’s profile exceeds the profile disk quota  – local profile can’t be saved back to the network because there isn’t enough disk space available.
  3. User gets an error message that says their profile cannot be updated properly when they log off.
  4. User’s profile is corrupted or otherwise unavailable – upon logon, the roaming profile cannot be loaded.

In #1 & #2 above, the local profile is never copied back to the network, causing the local profile on that box to be newer than the roaming profile. The next time the user logs onto that box, the user will get a message that says:

“Your local profile is newer than your roaming profile.
Do you want to replace it with the newer file?”

Answer “NO” to re-instate your roaming profile.
Answer “YES” if you want to keep the local profile.

In #3, the profile has gotten too large during the time the user has been logged on. When the user logged into the computer, the profile was normal, but activity during the session has caused the profile to grow so big that it can’t be synced with our servers. In most cases, simply logging out and back in will get the user’s profile back to a working state, but if this error appears every time the user logs out, they will need to either delete some large files from their profile or reset their profile entirely.

In #4, the profile has been corrupted. This could be the result of many different problems, and the solution is usually to reset the profile.

Profiles can be reset by CAT workers only. Please visit our front desk in FAB 82-01 with photo ID if you have concerns about your profile.

Restoring a lost profile is sometimes possible. It involves finding one of the previously over-written roaming profiles. Unfortunately, users can’t do this for themselves. You’d have to be logged in to find one of the older files, and when you log out, the local profile will over-write the one you just restored.

Send e-mail to support ( ) to request the restoration of a profile.

How does browser data affect my profile?

Cookies are small files that are used by Internet Explorer to keep track of information for websites. When a lot of cookies are stored in your profile, you may be driven over profile quota. An example of a type of cookie, is when you click “Remember me” on a website that requires a login. Clicking that checkbox creates a cookie that stores your username and password in your user profile. While this is not the only type of cookie in existence, it is important to understand that they do exist.

How can one clean out cookies? The easiest way is to open up Internet Explorer and go to Tools->Internet Options and under Browsing Options click the “Delete…” button. Then, click “Delete cookies…” and click “Yes”. This will then delete your cookies. Keep in mind that if you had saved any website login information, this will delete that information and you will have to log into your websites again.

If this fails to clean your cookies, then please email us or come to our front desk and ask for help. We will be more than happy to help you clean your cookies.

How do I delete/reset my profile?

Contact the CAT and they can reset your profile for you.

Understanding Disk and Quota Usage

Disk and Profile Quota

If you request assistance with reducing your quota usage, TheCAT will send a Windows Disk Quota & Usage Report to your MCECS email address. This email lists all of your files and how much space they are using.

The “Disk Quota Detail” section of the email, shows how much of your Windows Home Directory and profile you are using. For example the user below needs to reduce their profile usage.

Home Folder Path:    //thoth/home04/username

Limit:                  10.00 GB (Hard)
Used:                   9.40 GB (94%)

Profile Folder Path: //thoth/profile03/username
Limit:                  750.00 MB (Hard)
Used:                   705.00 MB (94%)

To navigate to a possible problem folder:

  1. Copy the folder path from the Disk Quota Usage Report email //thoth/…
  2. Open ‘My Computer’
  3. Paste the folder path into the address bar of ‘My Computer’

The “Home Folder Usage Detail” section of the email, shows the main level of your N: drive. If there are any unneeded or rarely used files, you can delete or win-zip them.

The “User Profile Folder Usage Detail” section of the email, shows the main level of your Windows profile. If your Application Data folder is large scroll down to the “Application Data Folder Detail” section of the email. Any file that is using more then 20,000,000 bytes of your 500,000,000 byte quota is considered large and might be a cause of your quota problem.

For example the user below has 162 files in his recycling bin.

 Size (b)       Size on Disk (b)     Files  Directory
23,344,976    23,749,686             162
//thoth/profile03/user/Application Data\$RECYCLE.BIN