"Roaming" AppData directory despite NOT using roaming profiles?

eharris

Senior Member
#1
On the two systems I've set up with Win7 Pro (x64) thus far, I've noticed that some applications store their settings in a "Roaming" directory and others store their settings in a "Local" directory under my C:\Users\username\AppData\ directory. There's also a "LocalLow" directory containing settings for a few more apps.

It's a really minor annoyance, but separating my settings into two (or three) locations does make it slightly more difficult to run to a given program's settings if I don't remember which location it chose to use.

Is this the expected behavior? I'm not running Win7 in a network administered setting (it's connected to a LAN defined as a Home Network workgroup, and is not even on a domain), and roaming profiles are not enabled (the "Roaming profile" option is greyed out completely in the advanced profile properties window, as I'd expect).
 


#2
It's a really minor annoyance, but separating my settings into two (or three) locations does make it slightly more difficult to run to a given program's settings if I don't remember which location it chose to use.

It is a normal behavior, as well as both XP and Vista also reserve several directories for each account's programs' settings.
 


eharris

Senior Member
#3
It is a normal behavior, as well as both XP and Vista also reserve several directories for each account's programs' settings.
I don't think this quite gets at what I was asking. I understand that the operating system needs a location to store user and program settings. I've used at least a half dozen versions of Windows over the last few decades (3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, 98SE, 2000, XP), and understand that point. However, Windows 7 is the first version that I've used that specifically creates a "Roaming" profile directory when not using roaming profiles. Why is this? It seems to be an unnecessary extra level in the hierarchy, and also creates some confusion when trying to figure out whether a given program uses "Local" or "Roaming" when the distinction between the two is completely meaningless on a system only using local profiles. XP did not do this, though I suspect that if this indeed the expected/proper behavior, Vista probably did (since, like XP was to Win2K, Win7 is basically a full-price service pack for Vista).
 


#4
However, Windows 7 is the first version that I've used that specifically creates a "Roaming" profile directory when not using roaming profiles. Why is this?
Windows 7 creates this directory for programs to store their settings. Control Panel > Folder options > Show hidden files and folders - then if you have any programs or dtivers installed, the folder C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming will not be empty. :)
 


#5
It's up to the app to decide which directories to use, and can easily use both at the same time You'd have to read the docs at msdn, but basically, these two are 'supposed' to be used like this Local - app settings that are machine specific Roaming - app settings that are user specific However, the different locations get frequently misused
 


eharris

Senior Member
#6
Windows 7 creates this directory for programs to store their settings. Control Panel > Folder options > Show hidden files and folders - then if you have any programs or dtivers installed, the folder C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming will not be empty. :)
Umm, who said anything about the directory being empty? Did you read my question at all?
 


eharris

Senior Member
#7
It's up to the app to decide which directories to use, and can easily use both at the same time You'd have to read the docs at msdn, but basically, these two are 'supposed' to be used like this Local - app settings that are machine specific Roaming - app settings that are user specific However, the different locations get frequently misused
This is the case now even for systems that aren't set up to use roaming profiles? I assume this is new with Vista or 7? Seems like an odd way to do it, but if that's the designed/expected profile management system now, so be it. Knowing specifically how the directories are to be used is quite helpful. Thanks.

What's LocalLow used for?
 


#8
It's been like that at least since win2000 - I can't remember if nt3 and nt4 were the same offhand It wouldn't have made much sense to remove the roaming parts from the os just for people who didn't want to roam In xp they were at (roaming followed by local) C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Local Settings\Application Data LocalLow is for low-integrity apps to store their data - the example I've seen is ie8 in protected mode Theres a doc here that covers quite a bit http://download.microsoft.com/downl...naging Roaming User Data Deployment Guide.doc
 


reghakr

Essential Member
#9
Do you want to Disable Roaming Profile Cache?

Nay,. that for mulyiple accounts.
 


Last edited:

eharris

Senior Member
#10
It's been like that at least since win2000 - I can't remember if nt3 and nt4 were the same offhand It wouldn't have made much sense to remove the roaming parts from the os just for people who didn't want to roam In xp they were at (roaming followed by local) C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Local Settings\Application Data
Got it. I was just thrown off by the term "roaming," which has been added into the directory hierarchy since XP, since that term has a specific meaning within Windows networking that does not apply to these configurations. A roaming profile is one that is stored on the network and transferred on-the-fly to whatever machine you log into.

Thanks for the explanation.
 


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