The Current Problems of Roaming Profiles in Windows 10

Roaming profiles are like traffic, most people are in it but nobody really wants to but often you have no choice. The not so stellar reputation of roaming profiles did not improve at all in Windows 10 because there have been a lot of issues- basically since the release of Windows 10. This article summarizes some of the common problems.James Rankin at 4SysOps describes theses problems in this blog:

Windows 10 roaming profile traps ^

When defining a roaming profile for Windows 10, everything seems to behave normally. You create a “username.v5” profile in the nominated user share and it is populated accordingly. However, you will notice a number of issues as soon as your roaming user logs in to a different machine.

Profile unload fails

It is common in roaming profile environments to remove cached client-side copies of the roaming profiles to avoid filling up local hard drives with multiple user profiles copies – especially in environments where open-access machines are in use. Typically this is done by defining the “Delete cached copies of roaming profiles” GPO and setting it to Enabled. In Windows 10, though, a hook from a process (called the State Repository Service) will more often than not prevent the profile from being unloaded.

Start Tiles fail to persist

One of the most visually obvious aspects of the Windows 10 experience is the new Start Menu and the attached Start Tiles. At first logon, most users customize this to their own preferences. However, the data for these Tiles is stored in the %LOCALAPPDATA% folder, meaning that it simply does not exist within a roaming profile. Only %APPDATA%\Roaming is copied to the roaming profile store – and you can only specify exclusions, not inclusions, to this data.

Modern Apps fail to persist

Microsoft’s new apps also do not persist in any settings within the roaming profile store. Again, these are written to %LOCALAPPDATA%\Packages, which is beyond the scope of a roaming profile’s mandate. For certain modern apps – particularly Microsoft Edge (popular among Windows 10 users) – this adds to a frustrating experience when roaming settings are expected and it simply does not happen.

Corruption of the profile is common

When a Windows 10 user logs in, a database is created that deals with the Start Tiles, modern apps, and various visual aspects of the Start Menu (there’s also a separate database created for the Notification Center). When using a roaming profile, this database can become corrupted, resulting in problems, such as Cortana crashing, icons disappearing from the Start Tiles, or, in the worst-case scenario, the left-click Start Menu simply does not function at all.

Example of Cortana load failure whilst using a roaming profile
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