mandatory user profile

Definition of mandatory user profile in The Network Encyclopedia.

What is Mandatory User Profile?

A user profile in a network based on Microsoft Windows NT or Windows 2000 that is stored on a network share on a server and that the user cannot modify. Because a mandatory user profile is on a server, users can access their personal desktop settings from any machine on the network.

Mandatory user profiles are configured as read-only so that users cannot permanently change their desktop settings. They can reconfigure their desktop for the duration of the current logon session, but once they log off their changes are lost.

Mandatory user profiles are typically configured by administrators who want to prevent users from modifying their desktops so that they can reduce the time they spend troubleshooting modifications or enforcing uniformity because of company policies.

Mandatory profiles can also be used for several users who require the same desktop configuration. The administrator can create a mandatory profile and use it for the entire group of users.

Changing the mandatory user profile once affects all users assigned that profile. This simplifies the administrator’s job when desktops require upgrading or additional applications.

How it works

To change a roaming user profile into a mandatory one, locate the user’s profile folder on the server and simply change ntuser.dat to This makes the user profile read-only from the perspective of any client machine.


Windows 95 and Windows 98 also support mandatory user profiles in conjunction with networks based on Windows NT or Windows 2000.