Windows Help: Roaming Profiles

Your Roaming Profile contains information about application settings and preferences, user-defined shortcuts and desktop settings, and other settings.  Various files and registry settings are downloaded to the local computer when you log on and uploaded to a server when you log off.  You can see the files by going to C:\Users\<your-userid>\AppData\Roaming.

You shouldn't store documents in your Roaming Profile, as this increases your logon and logoff times. Your Documents folder, Desktop folder, and most other folders are not stored in your Roaming Profile; they are in your UDrive or PASS space.

Since changes to your roaming profile are saved only when you log off of a computer, improperly logging off or shutting down the computer will lose all settings you've changed during that session.

Important: Your Roaming Profile is designed to store data that is classified as Low (Level 1) or Moderate (Level 2) per University Policy AD95. If you intend to store data of any higher classification (e.g., High (Level 3), Restricted (Level 4)), you should not use your Roaming Profile and instead use storage designed for this type of data. If you have questions about (or how to determine) the classification of your data as well as acceptable storage locations, see the Office of Information Security's Information Classification Decision Tool.


Exceeded your profile space?

The amount of space for your Roaming Profile is limited to 200MB. If you get a message that you have exceeded the space, you should clear some unneeded files by using the "Clear User Application Data" and "WinDirStat" utilities.

You can find both of these in the Start Menu → Utilities

Clear User Application Data

This will list space used by most applications. Just select the programs you don't often use and press Clear Data. This program doesn't see all the programs in your profile, if clearing this data isn't enough you can try the next option, WinDirStat.


This will show you all the folders in your roaming profile sorted by size. Delete any folders associated with a program you don't use very often. Please be careful deleting the Mozilla folder, as you will lose your Firefox bookmarks.

Note that some application data folders are excluded from being saved back to the file server when you log off.  To see how much space, and the folders using the most space, are on the profile file server, go to the My Lab Information page.  Remember that your files are saved at logoff, so to get the current picture, you should log off, then on again, then go to that page.

Clearing Your Profile

Sometimes it's necessary to clear your profile and start fresh. This can often fix strange bugs or oddities happening with your profile.  Clearing your profile will erase all application settings and customizations, which may be the source of a problem.

You will not lose any personal files saved on your UDrive or PASS space by clearing your profile.  But you will lose application settings such as preferences and maybe browser profiles (plug-ins, bookmarks, etc., but see next section).

Some reasons to clear your roaming profile:

  • You get a temporary profile EVERY time you log on EVERY computer.
  • You consistently have no printer connected when you log on, even after waiting several minutes for one to be connected.
  • There is an indication some malware got put in your roaming profile.
  • An application that used to work fine suddenly fails to start or doesn't run correctly, and other users doing the same thing do not experience the problem.

If you are unsure if this is the right thing to do, please see a lab consultant.

Go to the Clear Profile page to clear your profile. Then log off your lab computer and wait for 2 minutes before logging back on. It is best to log onto a different computer if you can.

You will know your profile was successfully cleared if you are given a message saying you have a new profile when you log in.

WebApps Profiles

The roaming profile for WebApps sessions is separate from your desktop profile.  It has the same purposes but the applications on WebApps may be different than those on CLM desktops, so the "Remote Desktop Services" profile is used.  The Clear Profile page has an option to clear that profile.  You should be sure all your WebApps sessions are closed before doing that.

Clear on Your Behalf

Selected system administrators can initiate a profile clear on your behalf when you are having trouble doing it yourself.  That is done only when the support person is in contact with you.  You will get an email when it is initiated.

Restoring Chrome or Firefox Bookmarks

Starting in June 2013, Chrome and Firefox bookmarks are backed up to a folder in your UDrive space (V:\Backup\Bookmarks) by a daily job, at about 3:30am.  IE Favorites are already stored in your Home Folder (PASS or UDrive).

A function was added to PSU Alerts to restore those files. After clearing your profile and logging back on, bookmarks can be restored via the Preferences option.  Click the white paw in the notification tray, then select Preferences.  You will have to run Firefox first to create an empty profile for a place to restore the bookmarks to, but you don't have to do that with Chrome.

Note: since these bookmarks are backed up every day, if, after you clear your profile, you run Chrome or Firefox and do not restore your saved bookmarks, the new (empty) bookmark file will be backed up that night, so you must restore the saved bookmarks right away.   If your backup files are overwritten by the backup job, the old copies might be retrieved from the UBackup service.

Temporary Profile Error

Occasionally an error may occur and you might get a message that you were logged on with a temporary profile. You should try logging off and on again, or try a different computer. 

If you always get a temporary profile on all lab computers, try clearing your profile as described above.

Short Term Access Accounts (STAAs)

When STAAs expire (become inactive), their profile contents are erased. The data is not archived and is not restorable.

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Last Updated March 8, 2018