Microsoft also stores shortcut files in the Recent profile folder, linking to recently opened files and folders.

File servers tend to only transfer large files several megabytes in size at the fastest possible network speed.

Normally, a standalone computer stores the user's documents, desktop items, application preferences, and desktop appearance on the local computer in two divided sections, consisting of the portion that could roam plus an additional temporary portion containing items such as the web browser cache.

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If the domain login is successful, the roaming profile is copied from the central file server to the desktop computer, and a local account is created for the user.

When the user logs off from the desktop computer, the user's roaming profile is merged from the local computer back to the central file server, not including the temporary local profile items.

Because this is a merge and not a move/delete, the user's profile information remains on the local computer in addition to being merged to the network.

When the user logs in on a second desktop computer, this process repeats, merging the roaming profile from the server to the second desktop computer, and then merging back from the desktop to the server when the user logs off.

In a school environment, roaming can result in severe network congestion and slowness when an entire classroom of students log off computers at the same time, and then within minutes are attempting to log in somewhere else.

Inconsistency in account data can result if the students begin to log into the second location before the profile uploading and log out from the first location has finished.

Some programs installed on desktop computers do not properly release control of the User registry during logoff, and can result in corrupted profiles because the User registry copying never successfully completes.

To deal with this, Microsoft created a utility known as the User Profile Hive Cleanup Service which will forcibly remap the file handles for these misbehaving programs so that the profile copying can finish successfully and the account logoff is successful.

If nightly server backups are done, and a roaming user does not log off for days at a time, their roaming account documents are not being included in the nightly backup.