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The Windows XP user profile

Please note:

Microsoft is withdrawing support for Windows XP from 8th April 2014. After this date, there will be no new updates from Microsoft, exposing the University to increased risk from virus and malware. It is strongly advised that you do not continue to run an XP machine after this date.  

Find out more on the Information Security Framework blog.

Contact your Local Computing Representative or the IT Service Desk for advice about upgrading your operating system.


When you register to use the Cardiff University network, an account is created for you and you are given a unique 'username' and password. With this information, you can log-in to any to any networked Windows XP workstation across the University campus.

There are certain things that would be useful to remain the same each time you log into a different computer, such as internet bookmarks, desktop shortcuts and software settings. To enable this, a user profile is used to store your personal workstation settings. These settings are then available to you wherever you log in.

At Cardiff, your user profile is created automatically the first time you log into a networked computer. It is linked to your username, and stored in your personal file space (H: drive).

For the Windows XP service, a number of important changes have been made to the user profile.

Redirected folders

The following folders are now re directed from the user's profile to their h: space (h:\jccs\windows):

  • Application Data
  • Desktop
  • Favorites
  • Recent

If a user needs to clean their XP profile, their Windows shortcuts and Internet Explorer Favorites will not be deleted.

My Documents is now re-directed to h:\My Documents 

Profile limit

Because less data is stored in the Windows XP profile, its size has been restricted to 20 MB for all users. This should be sufficient for everyday use. Should your profile exceed this limit, you will be unable to log out until you have deleted enough files to reduce your profile size to 20 MB or less.