School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences

Tidying your Windows XP Roaming Profile

If you receive a message upon logging out from your Windows XP PC telling you that "your profile could not be saved", chances are it's because there's too much stuff in your profile. You need to do some tidying up:

  • Right click on the Start menu, "Explore", navigate to "My Computer"->"Local Disk"->"Documents and Settings" and look for a folder with your logon name. This is the folder that stores your "Profile" (i.e. your personal settings and customisations).
    • Right click on your profile folder and select "Properties". If the folder size is significantly over 100MB you may have an overly large profile.
    • Within your profile folder there is a folder called "Local Settings". The contents of the Local Settings folder are not uploaded to the profile server. Subtract the size of the Local Settings folder from that of the Profile as a whole. If this total is still around 100MB or more, the system will be unable to save your profile as it exceeds your quota on the profile server.
    • You may need to change your settings to be able to see the "Local Settings" folder. From the Explorer "Tools" menu, select "Folder Options...". On the "View" tab, select the option to "Show hidden files and folders".
Do you have a lot of clutter on your desktop? Do you store work in progress in your profile? Do you have a smallish profile, but it still takes ages to get logged in?
  • Don't keep lots of files on your desktop. Usually the Desktop is stored as part of your Profile, so storing files on the Desktop is likely to lead to the system being unable to save your profile.
    • If you like to have access to files from the desktop, keep the files in your home directory or Scratch space, but put a shortcut on the dekstop. You can easily create shortcuts to files or folders - right-click on the file/folder and select "Create Shortcut" from the menu.
    • Alternatively, right-click and "copy" the file you'd like to make a shortcut to, then right-click again wherever you want to create the shortcut (such as on the desktop) and select "Paste Shortcut" from the resulting menu.
  • Check each sub-folder in your profile (see instructions above) for large files or folders - some can be safely removed. You may need to "Show hidden files and folders" - see above.
  • It is probably worth tidying up your "Recent Documents" list (stored in c:\Documents and Settings\username\Recent ) - this tends to get rather cluttered and significantly slows down login (although the amount of space used is usually quite small). You probably want to sort the contents by date, and then get rid of all but the most recent entries.
    In a similar vein, MS Office keeps its own list of "recent files", in "C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Office\Recent", and you should probably tidy this up too.
  • You should also see an "Application Data" folder which may have large bloated files, some of which you may be able to live without - if you're unsure ask ithelp@geos.ed.ac.uk
  • Note that the "Local Settings" folder isn't uploaded, so tidying up in here, although probably a good idea, is unlikely to help in cases where you are receiving an "Unable to upload your profile" type error. Some of the files in here include caches for your Web browser:
    • Open FireFox. Goto Tools->Options->Privacy->Cache and set the cache size to 10MB and then clear the cache.
    • If you ever use "Internet Explorer": open IE, go to Tools->"Internet Options"->General->"Temporary Internet Files", select "Delete Files..." click on "Delete all offline content" and select "OK". Then, still in "Temporary Internet Files" select "Settings..." and set the folder size to 10MB.
Now go back to the Explorer window you opened above, select properties again and see if that's reduced the size of your profile sufficiently.

After tidying the profile folder locally on your PC, you usually need to clear out the copy of your profile on the server. If you don't do this, files you have removed from your Profile may reappear after you next log in. This is due to deficiencies in way the profile is synchronised between the PC and the profile server.
  • Click on "Start"->Run
  • In the dialog box enter the address of the server copy of your profile:
    • If you are a member of staff, the server copy of your profile will most likely be at:  either "\\prf05.ucs.ed.ac.uk\geos$\<uun>" or "\\prf04.ucs.ed.ac.uk\edstaff$\<uun>", where <uun> will be your user name: e.g.: "\\prf05.ucs.ed.ac.uk\geos$\jsmith". "\\prf03.ucs.ed.ac.uk\edstaff$\<uun>" is also possible, but you should inform us if this looks like your profile path and we'll move your profile to prf05.
    • If you are a student your profile will be "\\prf<island>.ucs.ed.ac.uk\<island$>\<uun>  where <island> will be one of the student servers named after a Scottish island (Tiree, Arran, Mull, Lewis or Eigg). Again, <uun> will be your username (of the form s0123456)
  • If you do not guess right first time, try the other servers in the above list - they're listed from most-to-least likely (staff servers only). If you can't find the server copy of your profile, email or call ithelp and we can look up the information for you. In the window that opens make sure you can see hidden files and then remove unwanted material. Often, if you've managed to tidy up significantly and your local profile has been brought down to well under 100MB, it's simply easiest to delete the entire contents of the server copy of your profile, and allow your new tidier profile to be uploaded to the server when you log out.
Please try logging out to see if the issue you were having has been resolved. If not you may find that the time taken to log in has been reduced anyway, but you still need to do some more tidying up.