Microsoft KB Archive/171762

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Allowing Profile Shortcut Paths To Point To Local Drives

Article ID: 171762

Article Last Modified on 10/31/2006


  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q171762


By default, desktop shortcut paths will point to the original application location regardless of where a roaming user logs on.


For example, a user installs Microsoft Word on his or her normal workstation. If Microsoft Word is installed in the C:\WORD directory, a shortcut created to Word.exe will use the path C:\WORD\WORD.EXE. When the roaming user logs on at another workstation and loads his or her roaming profile, the shortcut will appear, but the path will now be modified to point back to the workstation on which the application was originally installed. In some cases, the administrator may prefer that the path not be linked to the original workstation. This can be accomplished through use of a system policy.

By definition, a roaming user will log on to multiple computers. Roaming profiles were created to allow this user to have the same desktop and access to the same applications regardless of where the logs on to the network. Typically, roaming users will access applications stored in a central location, whether from a server share or from a share on their normal workstation. Because this is the typical situation, the default behavior for a desktop shortcut path is to point back to the original application location. This allows the user to run exactly the same applications regardless of the log on computer's location.

However, in an environment where every workstation is configured identically, with the same applications and application locations, administrators may prefer that shortcut paths point to the local drive, not the remote, original location.

A System Policy entry was added to Windows NT Server 4.0 Service Pack 2 to allow shortcut paths to remain static and thus always use the same path. If the original path for the shortcut was C:\WORD\WORD.EXE then that same path to the local drive can be the same regardless of where the user logs on.

To enable this feature, create a system policy using System Policy Editor in Windows NT Server 4.0. To enable this entry, perform the following steps:

  1. Copy Winnt.adm from the latest Windows NT Service Pack to the %SystemRoot%\Inf folder.
  2. Start System Policy Editor (Poledit.exe).
  3. On the Options menu, click Policy Template, and then click Add.
  4. Click Winnt.adm in the %SystemRoot%\Inf folder, and then click Open.
  5. Click Winnt.adm and then click OK.
  6. On the File menu, click Open Registry, and then double-click Local User.
  7. Double-click Windows NT Shell, double-click Restrictions, and then click Disable Link File Tracking so that it is selected.
  8. Click OK, and then on the File menu, click Save.
  9. Exit System Policy Editor.

Note that this policy will not alter paths created before the policy was implemented, so new paths may need to be established.

Additional query words: shortcut UNC profile policy path

Keywords: KB171762