How to set up users desktop on server Page 1 / 2

owene, Nov 14, 5:35am
OK, have one grunty server running XP-Pro seen by many PC's. Server has account for every user which allows control of their own folders.

The question is how simple is it to set up the users desktop on the server instead of having local desktops on each XP-Pro workstation! In other words, how can the OS be made to point to the users desktop on the server instead of the local copy! If this were possible then each user would have one desktop on the server instead of one on each PC so then no matter where they logged in from, they'd get the same desktop.

Have tried Remote Desktop but had to install W2K on server (it's not now supported). So back to XP-Pro as the server which is totally adequate for what I'm doing and am not willing to spend the $mega to go to a later server package.

Any simple answers!

vtecintegra, Nov 14, 5:40am
XP is not a server operating system and is not designed for this type of usage (and certainly not licensed for it)


owene, Nov 14, 5:42am
Where in the license do Microsoft preclude the use of XP-Pro as a server! When I say server, I mean that I've simply shared the various drives/folders onto the network. Works well as traffic is minimal.

vtecintegra, Nov 14, 5:45am
It sounded like you wanted to set up a terminal server, which you cannot do with XP

You could probably kludge some kind of pseudo roaming profiles but it'd be a mess compared to the real deal.

jcmp21, Nov 14, 5:47am
I'm also wondering if OP means a terminal server or a roaming profile. Either wouldn't be a go with XP regardless.

drcspy, Nov 14, 5:48am
remote desktop ! try ammyadmin

owene, Nov 14, 6:43am
Yep I did have RDP set up on the server with W2K which is now replaced with XP-Pro.

But instead of the users desktops appearing at eg:
C:\Documents and settings\Fred Smith\Desktop\
I simply need to be able to set all workstations to see that same desktop at:
S:\ Desktops\Fred Smith\or whatever.

Is there a simple registry entry that defines the desktop location for each user!

otako, Nov 14, 8:46am
As Jcmp21 said there might be a hack to change the server registry but user profiles go right down the registry hive and the roaming client workstations are said to not work often.

There might be some legit 3rd party tools that do this hack but they are hard to find with a google search.

There is Linux Samba Server which performs the same as the Windows 2008 LDAP Server roaming profile service. Suse was very popular for this because it was so easy to set up in Yast.

http://www.samba.org/samba/docs/man/Samba-HOWTO-Collection/ProfileMgmt.html

On XP Samba Server can run inside Cygwin but theres compiling and adding a patch to do. There might be a ready made XP Win32 Samba Server binary available for download or to build too.

ruderger, Nov 14, 10:02am
do you have a domain! or workgroup! easy with a domain, interesting if you can do it without a domain.

owene, Nov 14, 9:09pm
No domain, all one workgroup. Might be easier to create a folder on the server for each user with a local desktop link to that folder (desktop) and the apps that they want to see from all workstations can live in there.

kevin16, Nov 14, 9:12pm
so this is 'a job'!, and you want advice/help!,.

kevin16, Nov 14, 11:17pm
who are you doing this for!,.
who are 'they'!,.

owene, Nov 15, 12:26am
What exactly has that info got to do with you Kevin! You seem intent on following me around the blogs and trying to pick fights. If you don't wish to participate in a useful way to this discussion then BUGGER OFF and tell your mother that she wants you.

kevin16, Nov 15, 12:30am
just asking, you seem a bit tetchy about it, making money off of the free advice from the tmmb is a bit off,. if you don't know what you're doing why did you take it on!,.
do you have -any- qualification in computing!,.

little_egypt, Nov 15, 12:50am
You can't really do 'roaming profiles' using any non-server edition of windows, which is the feature you seem to be looking for. But if you want a cheap option you can do almost everything windows server can do, just about as easily as windows server, using SME linux. Including roaming profiles.

owene, Nov 15, 1:00am
You know nothing of me and I'm not even going to rise to your bait. As I said earlier, bugger off and annoy someone else.

owene, Nov 15, 1:02am
Yep thanks, that makes sense. Swapping over to Linux really isn't an option but am now playing with the idea of a 'desktop' folder for each user on the server (obviously with the individual permissions) accessed thru a local desktop link.

kevin16, Nov 15, 1:04am
why!, having a ball here with you,
asked several polite questions and you get abusive,.
reflects your feedback I suppose,.
some polite answers would have been much more appropriate,.

otako, Nov 15, 1:50am
[quote]playing with the idea of a 'desktop' folder for each user on the server (obviously with the individual permissions) accessed thru a local desktop link.[/quote]

iirc the problem is that with workgroup pc's they overwrite the link on local C: when users log off, so settings are saved to local C: not on your server desktop folders. Next time they log on they get the local user profile. I might be wrong as I havn't used windows for a while.

You can register and download a 180 trial version of server 2008, install to a partition or run it inside a vmware window to set the workstations as domain members. Trial versions are limited and experimental use only though.

jcmp21, Nov 15, 5:47am
I'm also wondering if OP means a terminal server or a roaming profile. Either wouldn't be a go with XP regardless.

Edit to add: I do recall there is a registry hack to allow more connections to an XP machine, wouldn't be legit though ;)

ruderger, Nov 15, 5:49am
you could have a startup script that maps a drive to a shared folder on your 'server', and maybe a log off script that copies the users folder to this mapped drive when the user logs out. and educate the users to save files into this shared drive.

owene, Nov 15, 6:43am
Yes, that's a valid idea. But I played with that a few weeks ago when the issue was that XP-Pro didn't seem to want to run AUTOEXEC.BAT which I'd placed in the specific users startup folder. I sort of gave up at that stage but might go back to that and perhaps create an .exe to do the same job. I wonder if an .exe would automatically start if placed in the users startup folder. Yep, more to play with and not enuff days to play in!

owene, Nov 15, 6:43am
Yep I did have RDP set up on the server with W2K which is now replaced with XP-Pro.

But instead of the users desktops appearing at eg:
C:\Documents and settings\Fred Smith\Desktop\
I simply need to be able to set all workstations to see that same desktop at:
S:\ Desktops\Fred Smith\or whatever.

Is there a simple registry entry that defines the desktop location for each user!

Hope this makes my needs clearer!

jcmp21, Nov 15, 7:49am
I personally would go for the SME linux option or setup a windows server machine. A server 03 machine could be picked up pretty cheaply now and without getting too much into licences etc you could possibly be able to transfer the OS to another piece of hardware. Either the linux or windows server option would take a matter of minutes on a running server to set up and configure the profile redirection. One consideration though is if the HDD is to die, the machine is stolen, a really random 6.3 earthquake collapses the building right on top of that one box all of the users data will be gone. So backup would be something to look at.

lostdude, Nov 15, 8:10am
Creating executables is not as easy as simple batch scripts. The problem you might have been facing is that you named your script autoexec.bat. What ever you stick in the startup folder will start no matter what the extension, so long as it's an executable. E.g. *.bat, *.cmd, *.msi, *.vbs, *.com, *.exe, etc etc.

Anyway, back to your initial query, as stated above, you need an Active Directory et al & you won't find that with XP. Only server OSes have that functionality & the closest you could possibly do is manually redirecting each & every user's home folders (My Documents) to a mapped folder on the server. This abolishes the need for each user to actively save everything they do on the server as it will be done automatically. But this will mean a heck of a lot of work on your part setting them all up. Your choice.

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