Simplify backing up terminal server users by assigning them home folders

Often administrators face the problem of having to back up the data of multiple users who may be working on an application hosted on the same terminal server.

In Windows Server 2003, it's possible to assign each user on a terminal server a unique home folder. Home folders allow admins to easily back up user files and manage user accounts by collecting the user's files in one location.

Assigning a home folder to a user makes it possible to store the user's data in a central location on a server, making backup and recovery of data easier and more reliable. A home folder can be set up either on the local server or on a central location on the network.

To make sure that the program information is stored separately for each user in the multi-user environment, follow these steps to specify a home folder for different users on a terminal server.

  1. Go to Start -> Programs -> Administrative Tools
  2. Select Active Directory Users and Computers.
  3. Expand the domain node in the console tree and select the Users folder.
  4. Double-click the user account that needs to be assigned the home folder.
  5. Click on the Terminal Services Profile tab.
  6. If home folder is on local server, click Local path, and type the path of the profile.
  7. If the home folder is on a network share, click on Connect and select

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  1. a drive to connect, and then type the network path.
  2. Click on the OK button.

It's also possible to assign users home folders using the command line.

  1. Go to Start -> Run
  2. Type 'cmd' in the dialog box which takes you to command prompt.
  3. Type the command: "net user james /home:\\server\jamesdata" where 'james' is the name of user who is assigned to folder 'jamesdata' on the server.

About the author: Rahul Shah currently works at a software firm in India, where he is a systems administrator maintaining Windows servers. He has also worked for various software firms in testing and analytics, and also has experiences deploying client/server applications in different Windows configurations.

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This was first published in November 2006

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