User Profile Disks is an alternative to roaming profiles and folder redirection in RDS scenarios. User profile disks centrally store user and application data on a single virtual disk that is dedicated to one user’s profile. When the user logs on, their profile disk is attached to their session and detached when the user logs out.
When we enable user profile disks, it creates a template called UVHD.template.vhdx file in the share. For every new users that logs on a new VHDX file is created based on the template.
Users GUID will be used as the name of the file, so you’d have to know their GUID if you want to know which file goes with which user. If the user is not logged on, admins can actually mount the .vhdx file manually if they need to make any changes. (We will take a look at a great tool (SIDDER) and see which User Profile Disk belongs to which domain user)
If the user profile disk was not configured while the collection was being created, you can go to the properties of the collection and edit the user profile disks there.
User Profile Disks Advantages
- Configuration and deployment is simple
- Logon and logoff times are reduced
- Previously, profiles could be corrupted if used simultaneously on multiple computers. User profile disks are specific to the collection, so they can’t be used on multiple computers simultaneously
- User profile disks can be stored on Server Message Block (SMB) shares, cluster shared volumes, SANs, or local storage
Things to know before implementing User Profile Disks
- User profile disks are for a single collection only –> A user connecting to two different collections will have two separate profiles
- Properties of User Profile Disks are set automatically upon creation and contain all profile data and registry settings by default
- User Profile Disks are restricted a single session, which means if a user is logged into one RDS host, they cannot connect to another and they cannot have more than one session active on a single host.
I recommend to name each file share according to the collection with which it is associated.
Let’s see how we can enable User Profile Disks
Before I enable user profile disks, I’m going to create a share where they can be stored. I will store them on my Connection Broker RDCB01 (In real life you should store them on file server)
I created a share in C:\Collection1\UserProfileDiks
Once I’ve created share, I’m going to right-click and go to Properties,
and I need to share it out. I am going to use Advanced Sharing, so it will be shared as UserProfileDisks.
I am going to leave the share permissions to as default.Click Apply and OK to close it.
In addition to share permissions the users also need NTFS permissions, and they’re going to need at least modify.
After the shared folder is created, open Server Manager and within the Remote Desktop Services node, select the Collection. In the top right within the properties section, click on tasks and select Edit Properties.
I want to come down to User Profile Disks, and enable them, then I need to put the name of the share which is (in my case) rdcb01\userprofiledisks. Notice I can limit the maximum size of the profile disk in gigabytes.
I can choose to Store all user settings and data on the profile disk, or if I also want I can go through and say store only the following on the profile disk, and then specify what will be stored.
As soon as I click OK, it’s going to create the template file in my share, and if I go back and look at the share, I can see the template file (UVHD) has in fact been created. This template will be used to create the user’s profile disks.
If we check the security permissions of our profile disk share we can see the RD Session Host RDSH01 now has full control to the folder. If you decide to add more RD Session Host servers to the collection, the wizard will automatically modify the security of the folder and give full control to the new session host servers’ computer account(s).
Let’s go over to our client machine and log in so that we can see the client VHDX file get created. I will login as Sales1 user. After a user logs in for the first time, a new vhdx file will be created with the user’s SID as part of the file name.
This file can be mounted by the admin. (OBS!! The disk will not mount if the user is currently logged into the collection.)
Right-Click on the file and select Mount.
Once the disk is mounted, it looks like a regular user profile.
It is very easy to explore this when we have only one user. What if we have 100 users?
In that case we can use Sidder Sidder Download
Working in environments with lots of users and lots of User Profile Disks this tool will help you to quickly identify which User Profile Disk belongs to which Domain User.
When you download this tool and when you run .exe file you will see this
Next you will need to add folder which contains UPD. Select UserProfileDisks map and click on Select folder
In the overview picture above you’ll notice one red drive icon. This means that file is in use.