Mandatory user profiles are a type of roaming user profile to which users cannot make permanent changes. Mandatory user profiles are available in Windows XP Professional, but not in Windows XP Home Edition. Mandatory user profiles are available in all versions of Windows Vista supported by Windows SteadyState. Mandatory user profiles are stored on a network server and are downloaded and applied each time a user logs on. The profile is not updated when the user logs off.

The advantage of using a mandatory user profile is that you can make changes to the master mandatory user profile and a user can access that profile on any shared computer that is connected to a the network. The potential disadvantage of mandatory user profiles is that the shared computer must have network access for a user to log on. If the shared computer cannot access the network, mandatory user profiles are unavailable and users cannot log on.

To create a mandatory user profile for multiple users

  1. Create a shared folder on a network server that will store mandatory user profiles.

  2. Create a subfolder in that shared folder for each mandatory user profile you want to use.

  3. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

  4. In Control Panel, perform one of the following steps:

    • In Windows XP, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Computer Management.
    • In Windows Vista, click Classic View, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Computer Management.
  5. In Computer Management, click Local Users and Groups, and then double-click Users.

  6. For each user account that will use the mandatory user profile, right-click the account and then click Properties.

  7. In Properties, click Profile, and then, in Profile path, type the network path to the shared folder where the mandatory user profile is saved (for example, \\server1\profiles\user1).

  8. Create, configure, and restrict a user profile and then copy that user profile to the appropriate network shared folder.

  9. In the network shared folder, in the profile folder, rename the Ntuser.dat file to This changes the user profile from a simple roaming profile to a mandatory user profile.

For more information on how to create and use mandatory user profiles, see the following resources: