Creating a network profile to use on multiple Windows 7 workstations?

Our biology lab has a bunch of networked workstations running Windows 7, along with two Windows Server 2008 servers (one of which is a domain controller for our Active Directory domain) and a Fedora Core 13 Linux server.

Ideally, I’d like to be able to set up a single profile that all of the Windows clients have, with a pre-installed selection of programs, Firefox bookmarks, etc. Each user should be able to log in to any of the workstations with their network login name and password, and should have a personal folder on a server (mapped as the F: or H: or Z: or whatever drive) that they store their data in.

Right now, they can log in to the machines with their network login (as long as I’ve set up the machine to be a part of our domain) but there’s no common profile or “home drive/directory” that they can use.

Is there an easy way to set things up like I want? Some kind of software that makes it easier? I have a few ideas but I’d like to get input from people who have done this kind of thing before.

Thanks!

You can configure all this in Profile settings of the AD user objects. You can point multiple users to the same profile. You should configure the shared profile as a mandatory profile to prevent users from modifying the profile for themselves and everyone else.

There are two separate issues here: the login settings and the applications.

For the login settings, you can create a roaming profile for them on the server in ADUC and have it automatically connect to their personal area. Then you can create a login script to map other areas. If you want to lock it down, you can create what’s called a Mandatory Profile - and since Windows remembers drive connections, there’d be no need for a login script in this case.

For the applications, what you should do is create a master machine, then use a tool like Ghost to replicate it to other machines. Note that you should use Windows 7 Enterprise with a VLK for this.

Neither is a trivial exercise, and both require careful thought.