17 Best Free Project Management Tools for You

Whether you are a single user with many tasks, a startup company, or an already established business looking for an efficient way to plan your workflow and organize your projects, there are several project management tools you can use to get work done.

They are modern, easy to manage, and best of all, easy to get up to speed with if you’re a newcomer to project management.

Here is our list of the best project management tools you can use to increase your productivity and that of your team for free.

1. Asana

Asana comes in #1 on our list because of its all-around project management abilities and its focus on tracking everything you add to it. It features a beautiful modern UI with a clutter-free display, cool colors, and smooth animations.

The basic version of Asana for teams is free to use with at most 15 members who can add unlimited tasks, projects, and conversations.

Asana - Project Management Tool

Asana – Project Management Tool

2. Paper

Paper was created by Dropbox to help their project managers capture, organize, and prioritize issues, plan sprints, and take advantage of real-time reporting.

It provides you with a way to quickly express your ideas with words, images, references, and code to other software tools and it integrates natively with other important tools like SlackTrello, and InVision.

Dropbox Paper - Collaborative Workspace

Dropbox Paper – Collaborative Workspace

3. Trello

Trello is probably the most famous on our list. It implements the Kanban system in the form of boards, lists, and cards while efficiently giving you a visually pleasing overview of all the projects added to it.

Trello’s free version gives you and your team access to unlimited boards, cards, lists, checklists, and attachments. You can add up to 10MB of files from your computer or link any file in Google DriveBoxOneDrive, and Dropbox accounts and you can add a max of 1 power-up per board.

Trello - Project Management Tool

Trello – Project Management Tool

4. PushMon

PushMon is not a typical project management tool like most of the titles on our list in the sense that instead of managing tasks in the form of boards and checklists, it uses URLs.

It is used to monitor scripts, cronjobs, and scheduled tasks and get notifications directly to your email, mobile phone, etc. and you can get as creative as you want with it.

The free version of PusMon gives you access to 3 URLs, 4 credits, and instant notification alerts via email, SMS, Twitter, IFTTT, phone calls, etc.

5. Teamweek

Teamweek enables you to keep track of deadlines in calendar form, manage schedules, create Gantt charts, and much more all through a beautiful and colourful Use Interface.

Its free version allows a maximum of 5 team members with the ability to add unlimited projects and tasks. If you want to view work timelines that you can share with collaborators and use to wow clients then Teamweek is a good tool to check out.

Teamweek - Project Management Software

Teamweek – Project Management Software

6. ClickUp

ClickUp is a beautiful project management solution for managing tasks, projects, teams, reports, and issues.  Krita – An Excellent Professional Painting Tool for Linux

Its free version gives you access to unlimited users, tasks, and projects. You can also set up custom fields, work using drag-and-drop, set priorities to tasks, assign comments, etc.

ClickUp Sorting and Filtering

ClickUp Sorting and Filtering

7. Wrike

Wrike is a management tool that aims to simplify your project plans, streamline your workflow, and enable collaboration.

The free version of Wrike allows a maximum of users in a team and you can use a simple shared task list for your projects. Other free features include board view, task management, a spreadsheet view, basic integration with cloud accounts like Dropbox and iCal, 2GB of storage space, etc.

Wrike - Project Management Software

Wrike – Project Management Software

8. OpenProject

OpenProject is an open-source web-based multi-project management software available in 3 versions, CommunityCloud, and Enterprise.

Its community edition is available for free with features including a modern, beautiful user Interface, time management, team collaboration, Gantt charts for project planning, budgeting, and reporting. It also supports Agile for project management with backlogs, roadmaps, bug tracking, etc.

OpenProject - Collaborative Project Management

OpenProject – Collaborative Project Management

9. Gantt Project

Gantt Project is a well-established Java-based project management solution capable of handling any tasks you throw at it is. You can use it for creating tasks and milestones which you can organize in a work breakdown structure, draw dependency constraints, PERT charts, etc.

Gantt Project has been running since 2003 and it has all the features for collaborating with teams, exporting and importing data, and creating reports.

Gantt Project - Management Tool

Gantt Project – Management Tool

10. MeisterTask

MeisterTask is a free and intuitive project and task management tool for both personal projects and collaborative tasks.

Its basic (free) version contains all the options required for creating unlimited projects and tasks. You can also collaborate on invited friends in real-time.

MeisterTask - Task Management Tool

MeisterTask – Task Management Tool

11. KanbanFlow

KanbanFlow is a Lean tool for project management that simplifies the process of working with projects and teams. It features real-time collaboration among team members, time tracking using the Pomodoro technique, import/export tasks to Excel, CSV, XML, and JSON.

KanbanFlow is free to use with no limit on tasks, boards, users, filters, recurring tasks, etc. There are a lot more features available for free and a ton more for Premium users.

Kanban Lean Project Management Tool

Kanban Lean Project Management Tool

12. Labourhood

Labourhood is an online project management tool that focuses on online collaboration, networking, and security.  UberWriter – A Feature-Rich GTK+ Markdown Editor

Its modern UI is convenient for tracking progress, creating reports, sharing news and project updates, and looking for new projects to work on.

Labourhood still in Beta version which is free to use all you have to do is sign up to create a free account.

Labourhood Project Management Tool

Labourhood Project Management Tool

13. Kanban Tool

Kanban Tool is another online Kanban board created to enable businesses to seamlessly manage their projects and track their progress.

It reportedly powers 25,000+ businesses which all have access to insightful analytics, real-time collaboration, etc. Kanban Tool is a paid service with a 14-day free trial you can experiment with.

Kanban Tool

Kanban Tool

14. Redmine

Redmine is an open source, cross-platform and cross-database web app with tons of professional features.

It features support for multiple projects, flexible role-based access control, time tracking, multiple languages, custom fields for time entries, issues, users, multiple LDAP authentication, etc.

It is written using the Ruby on Rails framework and is free to download for any project type.

Redmine

Redmine

15. Airtable

Airtable is a cloud collaboration service that enables users to manage and track projects using a spreadsheet-database hybrid.

Its features include a grid view, calendar, Kanban board, forms, apps for different platforms, real-time collaboration, and commenting.

Airtable is available at a range of prices which you can pay annually or monthly to access more capabilities. It free is free to use and.

Airtable

Airtable

Depending on the scale of your project and team, there are other free project management tools that could be of use to you e.g. TodoistAirtable, and Redbooth.

16. Barvas

Barvas is a simple but powerful project management application that focuses on improving your workflow and team productivity by providing several tools required for managing your projects and improving the working relationship of your team using a beautiful User Interface.

You can choose to work with Kanban boards or Grant style timelines, you and your team can access it remotely at any time since all documents are kept in a single place in the cloud, use mind mapping techniques to break down projects, etc.

Barvas is free to use for a single user account which is limited to a single project. Access to unlimited projects costs $11.70 and the subscription is $5.85 per month.

Barvas: Project and Task Management Software

Barvas: Project and Task Management Software

17. actiTIME

actiTIME is a project management software for time tracking and using intelligent methods to analyze data. It enables you to create projects, scopes, tasks, etc. which you can assign to users while conveniently keeping track of the project’s workflow through a beautiful interface.

actiTIME allows you to use the data it collects to generate charts and work with other products via seamless integration e.g. actiPLAN and QuickBooks. It is free for up to 3 users after which you will have to pay $394.00 USD per year for 5 users ($6.57/month per user).

actiTIME - Time Tracking & Scope Management Software

actiTIME – Time Tracking & Scope Management Software

Which awesome project managers do you know? Did I mention your favorite? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

Source: https://www.fossmint.com/best-free-project-management-tools/

Open Source ERP Systems

How should you choose your ERP?

As usual, there are proprietary closed-source ERP systems that cost a lot, and there are open source ERP systems that can be used alternatively. Which one to use depends on your own scenario; You organization’s size, number of staff, the type of modules and features you need and other similar criteria.

Almost all the solutions that we are going to see offer two versions: A managed SaaS (software as a service) service that you pay for each month according to the services and the number of users you have in your organization, or a self-hosted open source version that you can download for free with no support.

Apparently, the first step should be trying that ERP system that you like on your local machines, testing whether it’s sufficient for your tasks and employees, and if so, you could either purchase it as a SaaS, or request professional support when needed with the open source, free version.

But why would you choose one software over the other? The reasons are many: The offered functionality of that ERP system, the user interface design, the programming language of the system, is your IT department capable of modifying and developing that open source ERP system even further, localization, GDPR compatibility.. And many similar criteria.

Today, we would like to present 7 open source ERP systems that you can depend on.

Open Source ERP Systems

Odoo

7 Open Source ERP Systems That are Actually Good 19 open source erp

Odoo is one of the most famous ERP systems in the world. Its development started back in 2005, and its source code is written in Python. It’s licensed under the GPL 3 license while also offering a proprietary SaaS (software as a service) for those who want to directly pay for using the service with support and ease.

Odoo offers tons of apps; CRP, accounting, invoices, website builder, eCommerce, email marketing, project management, inventory and many more other apps. Such wide set of possible applications make is suitable for almost any type of business you may have. Additionally, the UI design of the system is very modern to today’s standards.

Odoo also supports 3rd-party apps, which are apps that are developed by the community for the Odoo system. Some of those modules are free and open source, while others are proprietary and cost a lot, but this gives you the ability to expand your system’s capabilities even further. Odoo Studio allows you to build your own Odoo app and distribute it, if you want.

If you are from EU, then you would be happy to know that Odoo is compatible with the new GDPR law.

To browse the source code, click here.

ERPNext

7 Open Source ERP Systems That are Actually Good 21 open source erp

ERPNext‘s development started in 2008, and then it went open source in 2010. The source code is written in Python and is released under the GPL 3 license. ERPNext depends on the MariaDB database system to store its data.

ERPNext is more industry oriented; It provides essential modules such as CRM, accounting, project management, sales management.. etc, but also provides some modules for specific sectors, such as student information system (for universities/schools), hospital information system (for health sector), agriculture management system, non-proft organizations management and human resources management (HRM).

The company provides 30% discount on its plans for educational institutions who want to use their service. There are currently more than 3000 companies/organizations in the world that are using ERPNext, according to the official website. Its SaaS subscription plans are much cheaper and efficient comparing to Odoo.

To browse the source code, click here.

Dolibarr

7 Open Source ERP Systems That are Actually Good 23 open source erp

This ERP system is more classic. The UI isn’t really suitable enough for 2019, but still it provides many functionalities that you may find useful. Dolibarr is written in PHP and released under GPL 3. Its development started back in 2002.

Just like the others, Dolibarr provides modules to manage CRM, sales, finances, human resources, electronic documents, projects, calendars.. And many similar tasks. Thanks for it being working in PHP, setting Dolibarr is very easy with its preloaded auto installation, which supports MySQL, MariaDB and PostgreSQL. Dolibarr also provides binary packages for Windows, Ubuntu-based and Fedora-based Linux distributions.

This system enjoys very continuous development. The latest release (branch 9.0) was released just 2 weeks ago, so don’t think of it as some abandoned software or something. Dolibarr provides a free online demo where you can check how the internal system works, and see its possible features. You can access to it from this link.

To download the latest release, check the project’s page on SourceForge.

Tryton

7 Open Source ERP Systems That are Actually Good 25 open source erp

Using “modularity, scalability and security” as its slogan, Tryton is a very unique ERP system comparing to the other options. Its architecture uses a three-tier model to maximize the modularity of the software, making it closer to being a framework that can be developed later for any further requirements. Tryton system consists of 3 parts:

  1. Tryton Database: Data storage system such as PostgreSQL.
  2. Tryton Server: Main application responsible for providing the Tryton functionalities.
  3. Tryton Client: A desktop/web software to communicate with the server.

What’s unique is that Tryton is mainly using a desktop client for its operations, making it working natively on various Linux distributions (You can even find it in the official repositories). All the system is written using Python, and uses GTK library for its desktop client. There’s also a web client if you need.

Tryton provides modules to manage CRM, accounting, sales, inventory.. But also provides modules for supply chains, manufacturing and shipping, making it suitable for factories or shops.

Tryton also provides a free demo, docker images, prebuilt binaries for Windows, Linux and macOS. It is also available as a Python package to be installed using pip. Many 3rd-party modules can be installed for the system using pip as well.

You can browse the GPL 3-licensed source code from here.

ERP5

7 Open Source ERP Systems That are Actually Good 27 open source erp

Describing itself as the “most powerful open source ERP system”, ERP5 includes a huge set of modules that makes it suitable for almost any type of buisness. Those modules include banking, accounting, CRM, HRM, projects, eCommerce, PDM, KM, forums, consulting, barcode, email marketing, invoicing and manufacturing management modules.

ERP5’s development started back in 2002, so it has been in the market for almost two decades. It’s written in Python and released under the GPL 3 license. ERP5 is indeed very popular in all parts of the world, you may find your ordinary retail shops or country’s official banks using ERP5 somewhere on their ecosystem.

One downside, however, is that the user interface of the system is very old and classic. It’s not modern like the other ERP solutions mentioned here.

Download ERP5 Source code.

Flectra

7 Open Source ERP Systems That are Actually Good 29 open source erp

Flectra is another ERP system that was released just few years ago. Flectra is actually fork of Odoo, however, Flectra was created for seemingly two main reasons: First, to allow a more open, collaborative development of the source code, and also offer much better pricing for the SaaS subscriptions provided by Odoo, and secondly to provide more features that are needed by the community.

Odoo initially didn’t like that move, as it saw Flectra as one of its possible competitors but using their own open source code, so they started a lawsuit. A lawsuit which would continue for almost a year before a jury in India announces that there are no copyright infringements in Flectra and that it’s OK to proceed working.

Thus, Flectra provides the same modules that Odoo provides, but with much better pricing and a noticeably newer user interface. There are also many new features that are supported by Flectra that are not supported by Odoo.

Download Flectra source code.

Axelor

7 Open Source ERP Systems That are Actually Good 31 open source erp

The final item on our list is Axelor. Its development started back in 2005, but went open source in 2012. The source code is written in Java and released under AGPL 3 license.

Just like any other ERP solution on our list, Axelor is capable of managing your CRM, marketing, sales, human resources, BPM, supply chain and all your finances. The system also supports some specific industries like retail shops, manufactoring, associations and public sector organizations.

Axelor offers a very modern user interface, and also provides binaries for Windows and Linux distributions, as well as a Docker image. A huge documentation base is available for free on their official website, making it one of the best open source ERP systems out there; Actual open source, not just in name.

Axelor is also compatible with the new GDPR regulations in the European Union.

Get Axelor source code.

Source: https://fosspost.org/lists/open-source-erp

Free DNS providers

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Yandex DNS 77.88.8.7: Old player that blocks malicious domains. Very popular in Russia.
Comodo DNS 8.26.56.26: Old player that blocks malicious domains.

Hyper-V IDE or SCSI? What’s Performing Better, Faster?

If you wonder whether to use IDE or SCSI controllers for your Hyper-V virtual machines, the short answer is: IDE is fine.

There is no need to go for SCSI, it won’t be any faster. Note that you need to have a IDE connected virtual disk in order to boot.

If you want better performance, the virtual machines will run much faster if you:

  1. Use pass through disks instead
  2. Use fixed sized VHDs
  3. Refrain from using snapshots / checkpoints
  4. Refrain from using dynamically expanding disks
  5. Have at least 15% free space inside the VM at all times, and at least 10GB free. It’s an old characteristic of NTFS….
  6. Use paging files on a separate VHD, ideally hosted on a separate drive
  7. Use fixed-sized paging files
  8. Use 4KB NTFS cluster size on the host

Yes, from the performance side, a VM with IDE drives needs less processing to emulate IDE than using SCSI. Otherwise, in my experience, I did not have any breaks in using SCSI on Windows machines over using IDE. However I must say that during synthetic benchmarks, SCSI seems to be a little faster than IDE on Hyper-V.

https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/451467-hyperv-scsi-controller-v-ide-controller

Folder roaming vai tomēr redirection

SolutionBase: Working with roaming profiles and Folder Redirection

By Guest Contributor
May 18, 2005, 7:00am PDT

/One of the nice things about the Windows XP operatingsystem (and some of the other previous Windows operating systems) is the waythat it allows each user to maintain their own individual settings. If multipleusers share a PC, each user can have their own wallpaper, screen saver,desktop, etc. without interfering with anything that other users might have setup. Windows accomplishes this feat be maintaining a separate profile for eachuser.

Although profiles do a great job of allowing each user totreat the PC as if it was their own, there is one major problem with them. Bydefault, profiles do not follow users from one machine to another. This meansthat if a user goes to use a different machine, they will have a totallydifferent experience from what they are used to. Profiles can help solve this problem, butthey can be a nightmare when users jump from machine to machine. Here’s how youcan make them work using Windows Server 2003’s Folder Redirection feature.

Why are roaming profiles a pain?

The reason why this is a problem is because a user’s profilecontains much more than just the user’s cosmetic preferences. A profile alsocontains application configuration data. For example, Microsoft Outlook doesn’tjust automatically know where to find a user’s mailbox, it must be configured.Since each user uses a different mailbox, there isn’t one global configurationthat can be applied to Outlook. Each user’s individual configurationinformation for Outlook is therefore stored within the user’s profile.

Obviously, this means that if a user decided to use adifferent PC, then Outlook won’t work, and there will probably be a few otherthings missing such as icons, Start menu items, and Internet Explorerfavorites. However, if you work in an office in which everyone has their ownPC, this might not even be a concern because there is no reason for users to beusing someone else’s PC.

In a perfect world, that might be true, but keep in mindthat PCs do occasionally malfunction. Imagine for a moment that a user is inthe middle of a critical project and their PC malfunctions. They would probablyend up having to borrow someone else’s PC while you fix their PC. If theborrowed PC isn’t set up for the user though, you may find yourself having toconfigure the PC for the user before you can even start trying to fix themalfunctioning computer. This means a lot of extra work for you.

Now, let’s look at another reason why local profiles mightbe an issue for you. Suppose that a user’s hard disk goes out. The user isn’tworking on anything important at the moment, so they can take the rest of theafternoon off while you replace the damaged hard drive. As you replace thedrive, you think to yourself how easy this job is going to be. You can use yourRIS server to reload the operating system and applications for you. Since theuser’s documents are all stored on the network, there is nothing for you torestore. However, the next day, the user comes back, logs on to their PC, andasks you “Where’s all my stuff”? The computer is no longer displayingthe user’s custom desktop, and the user’s shortcuts and Internet Explorerfavorites are all missing.

The problem is that all of the files related to the thingsthat are missing were stored locally. This means that those files were lostwhen the user’s hard drive failed. Since most companies do not backupworkstations, there is no way of getting the user’s configuration back. It willbe up to the user to recreate anything that was lost, and it will be up to youto reconfigure the user’s applications. You’ve now got that job ahead of youand you’ve got an upset user on your hands.

All of these problems could be prevented if you tookadvantage of the roaming profiles and folder redirection features offered byWindows Server 2003. The basic idea behind this concept is that the user’sprofiles are stored on the server. This means that the user will have the sameprofile regardless of where they log on. It also means that you can backup allof the files that make up the user’s profile.

It’s actually very easy to implement roaming profiles.Before I show you how to set up roaming profiles though, there are some issuesthat you need to be aware of. If you just blindly enable roaming profiles, youcan cause some serious performance and availability problems for your users.Just to make sure that we are all on the same page, I want to start out bytalking about what exactly is contained within a user’s profile.

How Windows handles profiles

Different versions of Windows handle profiles slightlydifferently, but in Windows XP Professional, user profiles are stored withinthe C:\Documents and Settings folder. The C:\Documents and Settings foldercontains sub folders for every user who has ever logged into the machine. Forexample, on the workstation that I am using to write this article, there arefolders named Administrator.Production, Administrator.Stewie, Brien, and AllUsers. There are also hidden folders named Default User, LocalService, andNetworkService. The three hidden folders are used by applications and servicesto interact with the operating system. They are beyond the scope of thisarticle, but I wanted to at least mention their existence.

OK, so what about the visible folders? The All Users foldercontains profile elements that apply to anyone who logs into this machine. TheBrien folder contains the profile for my user account. There are twoAdministrator folders; Administrator.Production and Administrator.Stewie.Production is the name of the domain that the workstation is connected to andStewie is the name of the local machine (named after one of the characters onthe cartoon Family Guy).

Windows treats a local user and a domain user as twocompletely separate user accounts, even if they have the same name, andtherefore maintains completely separate profiles for them. You will notice thatthe folder named Brien does not contain an extension. This folder contains aprofile for a domain user named Brien, but no extension is necessary becausethere isn’t a local user with the same name.

I should also point out that there are certain disasterrecovery situations in which you may have to install a fresh copy of Windows.When this happens, Windows won’t overwrite existing profiles, but it won’tre-use them either. Instead, Windows will add yet another extension. Forexample, if the Administrator.Production folder already existed, but Windowshad to be reloaded from scratch, then the next time that the Administrator fromthe Production domain logged on, Windows would create a profile folder namedAdministrator.Production.000. In a situation like this, you could actuallyrestore the user’s original profile by copying all of the files from Administrator.Productionto Administrator.Production.000.

Now that you know how the naming conventions work forprofile folders, let’s talk about the folder’s contents. Normally, a profilefolder contains about a dozen sub-folders and at least three files. Most of thefolders are pretty self explanatory. For example, the Cookies folder containsInternet Explorer cookies. The Application Data folder stores configurationinformation user specific information related to applications. However, theLocal Settings folder also contains its own Application Data folder.

Aside from that, the most important folders within a profilefolder are My Documents, Desktop, and Start Menu, which store the profile owner’sdocuments, desktop settings, and Start menu configurations respectively. Thereare several other folders used by profiles, but they are fairly self explanatory,and you won’t have to do anything with these folders as a part of any of thetechniques that I will be showing you.

As you can see, there are a lot of different components thatmake up a user profile. Profiles include a user’s application data, documents,cookies, desktop, favorites, recently opened document list, networkneighborhood list, network printer list, send to option list, and templates.The reason why I am telling you this is because after you enable roamingprofiles, all of these profile components will have to be copied to thenetwork. It wouldn’t be so bad if the information only had to be copied once,but usually, everything that I named has to be copied every time that a userlogs in or out.

The first time that a user logs on after roaming profileshave been enabled, Windows has to copy the local profile to the designated spoton the network. After that, every time the user logs on, the entire profile iscopied from the network server to the user’s local hard disk. The user thenworks off of the local copy of the profile throughout the duration of theirsession. When the user logs off, the local profile (including any changes thathave been made to it) is copied to the network. This might not sound so bad,but keep in mind that user’s profiles can be huge. Just the My Documents folderalone can easily be several hundred megs in size. I have personally seenseveral instances in which a user’s profile was so large that it took over anhour for the user to log on or off because so many files had to be copied.

Folder Redirection

The easiest way to get around this problem is to use folderredirection. The idea behind folder redirection is that you can tell Windowsthat certain parts of the user’s profile should remain on the server rather thanbeing copied each time that the user logs on or off. This drastically reducesthe amount of time that it takes users with large profiles to log on or off.

Windows allows you to individually select which folders youwant to redirect, but the folders that are most often redirected are MyDocuments, Application Data, Desktop, and Start Menu.

Caveats

In a few moments I’ll show you how to enable roamingprofiles and folder redirections. Before I do though, there are a few caveatsthat I want to talk about. The first issue that you might encounter has to dowith the user having limited functionality on a machine. Technically, a usershould be able to log into any PC and have the exact same experience. However,I have seen a few situations in which the user’s experience won’t be quiteright unless the user has been configured to be a power user on the machine.For example, the user’s wallpaper might not display, or the user’s screen savermight not work.

This behavior is the exception rather than the rule. If youdo run into this type of behavior though, you can fix the problem by openingthe Control Panel and clicking the User Accounts link. You can then add theuser’s domain account to Windows and make the user a member of the Power Usersgroup.

Another issue that sometimes causes a roaming profile to notact quite right is when the profile references a local file that existssomewhere other than the profile directory. For example, if a user were tocreate a wallpaper file and then place the file into the C:\Windows folder, theprofile would reference the wallpaper file, but would not actually include thewallpaper file. That means that if the user were to log onto a differentmachine, the profile would be unable to load the user’s wallpaper because thewallpaper file does not exist on the local machine or within the user’sprofile.

One last issue that I want to discuss is availability. EarlierI explained that it was a good idea to store profiles on a server because itallows you to back the profiles up each night. However, if the servercontaining the profiles were to go down, it can cause some problems for theusers.

If the server containing the profiles were to fail, theusers would still be able to log in and in may even be able to use their ownprofile because Windows XP maintains a cached copy of the profile. This cachedcopy would be available for the user’s use assuming that they had previouslylogged into the workstation. The users would just not be able to save changesto the profile since the profile server is down.

I have gotten around this particular issue by placing theuser profiles and redirected folders onto a DFS root. The reason for this isthat you can create multiple replicas of a DFS root. This means that you canhave copies of profiles and redirected folders on multiple servers. Wheneverything is functioning properly, the multiple replicas help to balance theworkload. If a DFS server goes down though, the remaining replicas can pick upthe slack. Having multiple DFS replicas also allows you to take a replicaoffline for maintenance without disrupting the users.

Configuring roaming profiles

The basic technique behind creating a roaming profileinvolves creating a shared folder on the server, creating the user a folderwithin the share, and then defining the user’s profile location through thegroup policy.

Begin the process by creating a folder named PROFILES on oneof your file servers. You must then share the folder. I recommend setting theshare level permissions to grant Everyone Full Control. You should then granteveryone Read permissions to the folder at the NTFS level.

At this point, you will want to create a folder for eachuser. The folder name should match the user name. For example, if you have auser with a username of Brien, you’d create a folder named \PROFILES\Brien.Once you have created a user’s folder, grant Full Control to the user who thefolder will belong to and to the domain administrator. You must then blockpermissions from being inherited from the parent object. Otherwise, everyonewill have read access to the folder. In most situations, this will take care ofthe necessary permissions. However, I have seen at least one network in whichthe backup software was unable to backup the user’s profile directories untilthe backup program’s service account was granted access to each user’s folder.That is the exception rather than the rule though.

Once you have created the necessary folders and defined theappropriate permissions, it’s time to redirect the user’s profile. To do so,open the Active Directory Users and Computers console, right click on a useraccount, and select the Properties command from the resulting shortcut menu.When you do, you will see the user’s properties sheet. Next, select theproperties sheet’s Profile tab. Enter the user’s profile path as: \\server_name\share_name\user_name.

For example, if you created a share named PROFILES on aserver named Tazmania, then the path to Brien’s profile should be \\Tazmania\PROFILES\Brien.Click OK and then the user’s profile will be roaming starting with the nextlogin.

After you enable roaming profiles, you will want to redirectthe more heavily used folders. You will have to create a separate share on yourfile server to handle the redirected folders. On my server, I created a foldernamed USERS (and shared the folder as USERS), but you can call the folderanything that you want. Just make sure to assign Everyone Full Control at theshare level.

Once you have created the necessary folder, open the Group PolicyEditor and navigate to User Settings | Windows Settings | Folder Redirection.The group policy requires you to redirect each of the four folders separately,but the procedure for doing so is the same for each folder. Set the folder’sSetting option to Basic–Redirect Everyone’s Folder To The Same Location.Next, select the Create A Folder For Each User Under The Root Path option fromthe Target Folder Location drop down list. Finally, enter your root path in theplace provided. For example, on my test server the root path is: \\TAZMANIA\USERSas the root path.

After you configure folder redirection, Windows willautomatically create a folder for each user beneath the USERS folder. Windowswill also assign the necessary permissions to each dynamically created folder.

That’s it!

As you can see, profiles are a handy way of storing data,but they can be problematic if users tend to move from machine to machine. Witha little bit of work and some help from Windows Server 2003’s FolderRedirection feature you can configure profiles to follow your users around thenetwork as they switch from machine to machine.