You may have noticed that Citrix recently released User Profile Manager v2 (UPM).  Those of you using the Technology Preview or a previous sepagoPROFILE product are probably wondering what exactly has changed in this release.  There are six key changes to this v2 release you should be aware.

The biggest change is UPM no longer uses a mandatory profile.  The previous method of loading a mandatory profile and merging settings has been replaced with a mechanism that behaves much more like the mechanics of a roaming profile (plus saves time since it no longer has to merge settings).  Since a mandatory profile also served as a good ‘base’ profile, we added the capability of a ‘template profile’.  This is what would be used as a ‘default profile’ for creating a new users profile.  You can actually use your mandatory for the template profile if you just rename NTUSER.MAN to NTUSER.DAT.  Please remember that it does need to be a ‘whole’ profile and not just the NTUSER.DAT file (HKCU registry settings).

You should also make note that once a template profile is used to create a profile, that profile is then copied to the user’s store (the target location defined when configuring UPM) and is no longer connected to the template profile.  Meaning that you cannot change the template profile after a user has their profile built and expect those updates to replicate to existing users – only new users would see the changes.  If you desire to enforce settings, configurations or other environmental items, this would be a job for Group Policy.  Thus when Group Policy is updated or changed, this new policy would be applied to all applicable users or computers.

The next significant change is the support of wild cards in the configuration.  Whereas before if you wanted to add only INI files to the profile, you had to literally type each file name in entirety.  Now you can use *.INI to configure that same behavior.  The standard wild cards are supported such as ‘*’ and ‘?’.

Next we added the ability to synchronize folders outside of the user’s profile directories.  Such in the case when you have an application storing user settings improperly such as in ‘c:/badapp/’.  Now the administrator can define these ‘rogue’ folders as part of the user’s profile and they will roam with the user.  Just make sure they don’t roam with you into a dark alley – they really cannot be trusted.

We significantly improved logging so that you can view your log files in an application such as Excel and be able to sort and filter the files for better reviewing and analysis.  I will post separately on all the details around logging.

We added language independent storage of profiles on the Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP platforms (Windows Server 2008 and Vista already do this).  What this does is append folders such as favorites with ‘_upm_var’ so that when roaming between different languages, you do not end up with multiple folders since on these platforms Favorites would get localized and treated as unique folders.  E.g. on German you would have Favoriten while on English you would have Favorites.

We also had one casualty that we will honor with a moment of silence.  That would be the archiving functionality being dropped in v2.  This was the capability to compress files within a folder into a ZIP file and then copy that ZIP file to the user’s central store.  Unfortunately this introduced last write wins since the last zip file written would overwrite any previous file.  But fret not, we will certainly be focusing on areas to improve speed and performance as we continue to build out this technology.