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Should you ever delete VDI user profiles?

VDI user profiles aren't necessary when workers don't need to maintain their settings from one session to the next. If that's your use case, you can deploy nonpersistent desktops that delete VDI user profiles at logoff.

Whether or not you should delete VDI user profiles depends on which users and desktops you support. In kiosk and

call center settings, deleting user settings at logoff might be the right move, but it may not work where users need to maintain their settings.

Use case and your desired end-user experience will dictate whether you should maintain virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) user profiles or delete them. If you want end users to feel like they always use the same desktop, then persistent desktops with user profiles are the way to go. They maintain icon placement, backgrounds, fonts and many other user-selected modifications from one session to the next. There are simple tools you can use to manage VDI user profiles, such as Microsoft Roaming User Profiles, Citrix Profile Management and VMware View Persona Management. More complex and in-depth tools such as Liquidware Labs' ProfileUnity, AppSense's User Environment Manager, Immidio's Flex Profiles and many others allow you to control the user profiles from a more granular perspective.

But if you're standing up kiosks or supporting call center workers who don't need to maintain personal settings from session to session, you can delete their modifications at logoff. In these situations, users will not be able to retain anything on their desktops for longer than their immediate sessions. They will also be protected from security or malware problems due to a set of corrupted or hacked files in their VDI user profiles. Removing user modifications at the end of a session is also advantageous in situations where you can't trust the users, as is the case with guest computers set up in hotel lobbies, for example. Then, supplying non-persistent desktops without long-term storage privileges can be the best option.

This was first published in July 2014

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