iTunes and Roaming User Profiles

If your organisation has made the move towards issuing staff with iPhones and iPads, you may well be railroaded into installing iTunes on their respective workstations. This is all well and good, but if you are also using “Folder Redirection” and “Roaming User Profiles”, you may find the hard disk space on your network file server depleting at an alarming rate.

Several of my users installed iOS 7 yesterday and their profiles swelled from a few hundred MB to 5 GB each!

If we discount any music / video they store on the devices for a moment, the large files that caused the majority of the damage are held within “C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer”. Specifically:

  • C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync
  • C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\Logs
  • C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone

So, as a damage limitation exercise (and to claim back some of my server storage), I decided to exclude the above folders from the roaming process by making use of group policy.

In a previous article, I implemented a similar policy to prevent the user “Download” folder from roaming: here. I have subsequently done the same for “SkyDrive” (which can be up to 7GB with a free account) and Java (Windows XP Only). So, if you follow those notes, simply add the two iTunes folders to the exclusion list (separated by a semi-colon).

The screen shot below shows how the policy setting now looks, with the Downloads; SkyDrive; and iTunes exceptions in place.

Exclude Directories in Roaming Profile 004


Windows 7 “Downloads Folder” and Roaming Profiles

By default, Windows 7 automatically saves all downloaded files into the “Downloads” Folder within the user profile. Since this folder forms part of a user’s Roaming Profile, it will be copied back and forth between the workstation and the server at every logon / logoff. As the size of the “Downloads” folder increases, so will the user’s logon / logoff time.

One solution to this problem is to use “group policy” exclude the “Downloads” folder from the roaming profile.   

From within the group policy editor, choose a suitable policy object (one that will be applied to domain user accounts), or create a new one. The key we are interested in editing can be found at: User Configuration => Policies => Administrative Templates => System => User Profiles => Exclude directories in Roaming Profile.

Exclude Directories in Roaming Profile 001

Enable the policy and set the value = “Downloads”

Exclude Directories in Roaming Profile 002

From now onwards, all downloaded files will be excluded from the roaming profile, and will only exist on the local workstation.

Article Update (August 2014)
You may find it useful to exclude these other folders too:

Application Folder Location
OneDrive / SkyDrive OneDrive; SkyDrive
Dropbox Dropbox
iTunes AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync; AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\Logs; AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates;
Blackberry Desktop Data\Roaming\Research In Motion\Blackberry Desktop\Updates;
Java Data\Sun\Java

HandBrake Settings [iPod 5G]

HandBrake Settings [iPod 5G]


The 5th Generation iPod with the latest firmware will output (and play on the built in screen) a maximum video resolution of 640 x 480. Note: PAL DVD Resolution is 720 x 576; Blu-Ray is 1920 x 1080; iPad2 is 1024 x 768.


The HandBrake encoding software should therefore be set as “iPod Legacy”.


In addition, set “2-Pass Encoding” on the Video Tab to give the best results.