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Immidio Flex Profiles 7.5

Introduction

Profiles are still one of the biggest challenges within Front-End infrastructures. Almost every system administrator has experienced problems with any of the profile types made available by Microsoft.

Roaming Profiles get corrupted or contain faulty settings, which can only be solved by removing the complete profile and (let the user) reconfigure the user environment from scratch consuming a lot of time and causing frustration. Also roaming profiles are often causing long logon times, because the whole profile needs to be copied from the network to the desktop (and vice versa).

Mandatory profiles were the popular alternative, but nowadays users do not accept that personal configured settings are not retained when the user logs on the next time. Also Microsoft is not a "fan" of this profile type and has been discouraging the use of the mandatory profile for a while. Actually they are right in that, because several more complex settings can not be used in combination with mandatory profiles, a good example is SSL/certificate related topics.

A local profile does not have the disadvantages of the roaming and mandatory profiles, however as the name implies the profile is for one desktop only. So when users log on to another desktop they have to reconfigure the settings again every time they use another desktop. With current flexible workplaces and working anytime from anyplace users are moving between desktops a lot, so a local profile is also not an option.

Taking a look back none of the Microsoft profile solutions fully fits the current requirements for the users keeping the user settings while not having the challenges with long logon times and profile corruption. Therefore the so called flex or hybrid profiles were developed starting with the freeware tool Flex Profile Kit. The first versions were based on the concept that the IT department defines which registry information and user profile folders and files should be retained for the user and were saved at logoff and restored when the user logs on.

Read more: Immidio Flex Profiles 7.5

Sepago Profile

More and more companies are suffering with profile challenges as described in my article Terminal Services and the Profile Challenge. Certain in Terminal Server where the Silo Concept (a.k.a. Load Managed Groups) the need to gain control over the profiles is getting bigger. A few years ago only the freeware tool Flex Profile Kit was available, but more and more products came on this market. From Germany comes a new product called Sepago Profile. The product differs from other products because the product does not have a console, but all configuration settings are done via Group Policies.

Read more: Sepago Profile

Jumping Profiles 2.0

Mostly everyone have struggled with profiles problems sometime. The first solution was to setup mandatory profiles. Nowadays only working with mandatory profiles is almost impossible, because almost very application stores settings in the profile of that particular user. To mix up the best of mandatory and roaming profiles a couple of so called profile products has been released by several manufacturers.

Jumping Profiles is one of these commercial products. Unlike the other commercial products Jumping Profiles concentrated on functionality mainly instead of trying to develop the nicest GUI. Jumping Profiles was the first profile product which could save the awesome options like (root)certificates, Windows appearance, mouse and keyboard settings and support for passwords.

In this review there are some print screens are in the German language. This print screens are taken at the lab environment of Messerknecht in Germany. The program however is also available in English (soon).

Read more: Jumping Profiles 2.0

Managed Profile V4

Managed Profile is one of the products which are dived into the gap of Profile Problems. Managed Profile uses its own technique, depending of a MS IIS and MS SQL (or MSDE) server. Besides profiles Managed Profile also has build in functionality for user registry settings and printer management (this printer management is only available on customer base).

Read more: Managed Profile V4

Flex Profile Kit 5

 If you ever worked in a big SBC environment (especially in silo environments) you should noticed problems with roaming profiles. The profiles are corrupt or contains faulty settings. How do you fix it? Delete the profile and let create a new one is the only solution. A solution is to use mandatory profiles, where user settings are not saved. It works fantastically because it's fast, easy to manage and can not be corrupted. Unfortunately in current environments it is almost impossible to use only mandatory profiles. Too many applications nowadays depends on personal settings in the registry.

A way to solve this problems is to use the Flex Profile Kit (FPK) developed by Jeroen van de Kamp. The latest version 4.0.1 is just released in March 2005. In comparison with version 3 a lot of awesome features have been added. It is now possible to use FPK also for certificates, Window appearance, mouse and keyboard settings and support for passwords (just like Jumping Profiles). Additional Features are the use of compression, support for silo's or server groups, easier configuration and better deployment. The FPK is still based on the Microsoft Profile Wizard tool, but is extended with additional tools and scripts to make the improvements possible.

Read more: Flex Profile Kit 5