CSE Labs: Change to Local Profiles

As of July 8th 2019, CSE Labs will be using Local Profile for all CSE Labs accounts.

Files stored in Desktop, Documents and Downloads locations will no longer sync to a file server, meaning these files will no longer be backed up.  

Please make sure that any important data or files created on CSE Labs Windows computers is moved to your Google Drive for permanent storage.  

Can I still get my old profile data?

Yes.  For the 2019-2020 academic year, we will mount your old user profile at drive M: and drive N:  The M: drive will be where you will find your old Desktop, Documents and Downloads files. The N: drive will have your old roaming application settings, though it is very unlikely that you will need to reference the N: drive.  We recommend that you move any important data from the M: and N: drives to your Google Drive.

At the start of Fall Semester 2020, this old profile data will no longer be accessible.

What is a user profile?

In a Windows environment, a user profile is a record of user-specific data that define the user's working environment.   Prior to July 8th, 2019, CSE Labs used Roaming profiles that allowed user settings and data to “roam” to each computer, so that settings/data saved on one computer would be available when logging in to all the CSE Labs Windows computers.

Why is CSE labs changing from Roaming Profiles to Local Profiles?

Roaming profiles did provide convenience for students but it also added complexity to the login process.  The Roaming Profile has never been robust, and it has caused numerous problems over the years.

Local profiles will allow for faster logins and more consistent login performance.  

In the past, there was no good option to save data that would allow students to access that data from multiple computers except for Roaming profiles.   But now there are more options, such as Google Drive.

Where should I store my data?

CSE Labs recommends that you store your data in Google Drive.  All the Windows computers have Drive File Stream installed as well, which allows you to mount your Google Drive at a drive letter that is accessible on the computer.  

You should think of the Desktop, Documents, and Downloads folders as temporary storage and use it only for convenience.   If the data/files you are saving there are important, make sure they get moved to Google Drive. Better yet, if you use Drive File Stream, you can save your data/files directly to your Google Drive via the mounted drive.   

Drive File Stream should be available on every CSE Labs Windows computer in the Program shortcuts.   Clicking on Drive File Stream will prompt you for your University ID credentials and allow you to mount your google drive at a drive letter on the computer.  

What if I lose my data?

Since we will not be purging Local Profile data on the CSE Labs Windows computers on a daily basis, there is a chance you can go back to the computer you were last working on and retrieve the data.   But you cannot count on this. CSE Labs is no longer backing up User Profile data.

Our current plan is to purge Users’ Local Profiles on Lab computers at the end of the semester, but this will depend upon how much space is being used on the local hard drive.  If space becomes an issue, we will have to purge Local Profiles more frequently.

What about my browser settings?

Browser settings will no longer roam. But browsers such as Chrome and Firefox allow for Cloud settings, so that if you login to the browser you can have access to your browser settings (such as your Bookmarks) on every computer.

What about application specific settings?

Application specific settings will no longer roam.  For example, if you need to set the working directory for an application, you will have to establish that setting on each computer you login to.  

This will add some inconvenience to the User experience, but we feel this will be more than offset by a more robust and consistent login performance.  

If this does become a major inconvenience, there are work-arounds that we can consider.   Contact csehelp@umn.edu for help.