User profiles are a lot like mystery meat in a cafeteria. What exactly is it? Why does it look like that? Should I consume it or encourage others to do so?

Admittedly, user profiles can make your life miserable if they’re not addressed properly. Ignoring them certainly won’t make it any better.

Addressing the “What exactly is it?” question is the first step in understanding user profiles. What comprises the user profile can vary based on your environmental requirements and the user profile option. To help you with that, you may wish to attend the Solving User Profile Challenges for XenApp and/or XenDesktop TechTalk this afternoon.

That leads us to “Why does it look like that?”. Each roaming user profile differs slightly, based on the applications accessed, user preferences, use of folder redirection, and other factors. On the other hand, mandatory profiles all look the same because the same user profile is accessed by all users.

Lastly, “Should I consume it or encourage others to do so?”. Bottom line is that user profiles affect your environment whether you like it or not, so you need to consume it. But, you should select the type of user profile you consume within your environment based on an educated decision and careful planning.

So, what you thought was mystery meat might actually be prime rib.