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User profile

The user profile is an identification and configuration file for a user. It contains important information used for the identification of a particular person, for instance, names, age, portrait pictures, and other personal traits. [4. Users' profiles are typically found within social media websites including LinkedIn and Instagram. These profiles serve as voluntary digital identities, identifying individuals by their distinctive features.

User Profile Tiles in Windows 7 and later

In Microsoft Windows, user profiles are the system resources that describe a user's configuration and application settings. These include desktop backgrounds, screen saver settings, display options, audio volume levels, folder options, and other preferences. A profile stores only the information that is distinct for a particular user.

A "user" in this context is any entity that accesses a computer system. As an example, each individual who uses a microcomputer or laptop may have a user account containing their files and settings. Other types of users include administrators, guests, or attackers. The user profile contains all the information specific to one particular person using the computer system at any given time.

The user profile subsystem is a combination of code and data that is constantly present in the operating system. The data within each user profile includes registry settings which are constantly modified by executable files, applications, or users. Files may be created to store application-specific data specific to a user's requirements.

User profiles also provide a place for common programs configuration files, such as an Internet browser's bookmarks and history lists. A profile can potentially contain thousands of items; types of information stored include pictures (banners), documents, application-specific installation paths, display options, power management schemes, and screen savers. Some configuration changes (for example passwords) require the use of an Access Control List (ACL). By default, Windows uses ACLs to protect system-wide configuration files and folders.

The difference between user profiles and tokens, which are used to describe the security context of a process, is that profiles are not dynamic. The token is re-created with every logon and has any permissions associated with it changed accordingly; user profiles stay the same until they are reset or removed.

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User Profiles in Mac OS X

Mac OS X maintains the user profiles in the Preferences folder of each respective user account. Each file is labeled by its function and number designation, prefixed with "com.apple.". For example, the messaging configuration file for iChat is named com.apple.ichat.plist; it stores all saved chat accounts for this particular user on that particular machine.[5]

User Profiles in Linux

Linux also uses a system-wide approach to maintain profile data similar to Windows systems. All users have their own set of configurable parameter files which are stored under /home/.config/ (eXperience Technology User Profile) or /home/username/ (Advanced Configuration & Power Interface). The differences between Linux and other Unix

On Mac OS X, each configured user account contains within it one or more separate per-user subdirectories (usually at /Users/username ); these subdirectories contain all of the files and data required for that user to run applications, as well as their login items (which do not affect other users on the computer). If multiple users share an account, each will still have his/her independent configuration settings with no effect on any other user.

These user directory structures are now supported by the latest versions of many software packages such as Mozilla Firefox and Adobe Flash, as well as by most web browsers that use HTML5 local storage mechanisms to store private data with no access restrictions.

Digital user profiles

Distributed computing technologies have led to the rise of virtual user profiles. Virtual user profiling refers to the use of a centralized process that collects and manages data on behalf of multiple users, often for performance reasons.

Virtualization technology enables a single physical machine to host several operating system instances at once so that each running instance can be seen as a "virtual" machine with its own isolated set of hardware resources. This way, application programs can be configured not only to access files stored in different directories but also to use entirely different drives or filesystems depending on which machine they are executing upon at any given time - without having to modify them or install separate copies.

In many cases, there is more than one underlying physical hard drive partition that is simply set up to appear as a single logical device from within each guest OS instance. In this case, virtual user profiles facilitate sharing the same profile directories between multiple users.

A typical application that uses virtual user profiles is a web server that runs several instances of phpMyAdmin to allow database administrators access to individual databases at the same time while hiding their data from other users if necessary. This approach enables greater flexibility and faster response times for applications specifically designed with multi-user concurrent operation in mind.

The concept of a "virtual" or "dummy" user is also used by ISPs that provision accounts under separate usernames rather than just one universal username for all customers, to prevent privacy breaches should one customer's account be compromised.

Virtual user profiles can also be created by other applications to enable multiple users on the same machine under different contexts. For example, an application might run separate instances of itself as either a regular user or as root (the superuser account) depending on which user invokes it. Examples include filesystem explorers that prompt for the root password before displaying certain directories readable by everyone, or firewalls that prompt for administrative credentials (such as username and password) if they are invoked with no such credentials provided. These techniques ensure proper privilege separation.

Change user profile data

A user profile, in computing, is a set of documents and settings that apply to all users. For example, Firefox profile which contains bookmarks and cookies, etc. The directory containing the user's configuration files may be termed a "profile" or, more specifically, an "instance profile". A window manager might store configuration data in X Windows System default path: ~/.config/<wm>.

Virtual user profiles do not allow different users to access each other's files. Virtual user profiles also do not create security holes in single-user operating systems such as Unix and macOS when incorrectly configured for multiuser operation (e.g., if the /etc/passwd file does not contain shadow information). virtualization software like VMware, VirtualBox, QEMU the Xen virtual machine monitor, etc.

The number of users should be provided by the administrator during setup (installation). The number of users can be handled through /etc/passwd file or using configuration tools like YaST2 or System Configurator (SConfig).

Virtual user profiles are not confined to web browsers; they can also be used in email clients, image manipulation programs, and any other kind of application.

An increasing number of modern operating systems support virtual user profiles when they provide multiple subsystems that manage different types of resources that might otherwise conflict with each other if both were present in an individual login session.

User data sources are directories that are associated with the user profile.

This data is merged by the shell with the global /etc/skel directory, which contains system-wide defaults for newly created users. User profiles are used by network services such as FTP servers allowing multiple administrators to maintain their configuration files within the same set of directories without risk of file damage or corruption due to lack of synchronization.

For example, if one administrator creates a README file in /var/ftp/pub/README, but another deletes it later when a third party attempts to download the README file they instead receive an empty file since none exists on that server. The use of virtual user profiles ensures that each administrator gets his local copy of all files but that these files are isolated from other administrators' changes.

Virtual user-profiles change all users to whatever username they were when the virtualization software was installed. This has security implications (see below). When using virtualization products, it is best to use local accounts for any ordinary usages of the operating system so account compromises do not allow an attacker access to another user's documents or settings. It is also recommended to keep the number of privileged users down since configuration errors can result in increased risk exposures.

The number of users should be provided by the administrator during setup (installation). The number of users can be handled through /etc/passwd file or using configuration tools like YaST2 or System Configurator (SConfig). Virtual user profiles are not confined to web browsers; they can also be used in email clients, image manipulation programs, and any other kind of application.

The use of virtual user profiles ensures that each administrator gets his local copy of all files but that these files are isolated from other administrators' changes. Virtual user-profiles change all users to whatever username they were when the virtualization software was installed. This has security implications (see below). When using virtualization products, it is best to use local accounts for any ordinary usages of the operating system so account compromises do not allow an attacker access to another user's documents or settings. It is also recommended to keep the number of privileged users down since configuration errors can result in increased risk exposures.

IPC (Inter-process communication) is a mechanism for processes to exchange information and synchronize their actions. Most IPC mechanisms are primarily concerned with the synchronization of execution or related operations, such as passing data or signals between each other. This category excludes "remote IPC" mechanisms such as shared memory and RPC, which allow transparent access across a network from one computer system to another; this allows inter-computer "process synchronization" that is not processed synchronization within a single computer.

This can be applied in virtualization environments and thus aid in management and security so that an administrator can perform multiple tasks without affecting other users' interactions through business logic programming, where program code is attached to objects for different purposes. Virtual user profiles allows for this by applying administrative changes to a virtual user directory, without actually affecting the original system. This means that it doesn't affect other users who are using the same system as well as those logged in to another machine.

Types of user-profiles "Mandatory vs. discretionary access control"

Mandatory access control (MAC) is a type of access control determined by the system, whereas, discretionary access control (DAC) allows users to have control over their security. Mandatory access controls are often considered more secure than discretionary access controls due to the level of restriction imposed on subjects and objects; however, they can also be less flexible. User profiles can provide both DAC and MAC, but in most cases, it is designed mostly with DAC in mind to make user management easier for administrators at the cost of some security.

Some software providers refer to this functionality as virtual host instead of the virtual user profile; for instance, Plesk refers to them as "sub-accounts." The term virtual host is seen in web hosting parlance where it refers to the ability of a single server with multiple IP addresses to host different domains.

Parallels Plesk can be used to manage multiple websites on a shared server, but each website is operated by its own user account. This allows users to have access restricted to their websites without affecting other websites hosted on the same server. The term "virtual host" has been adopted more widely by some software providers. Although Parallels Plesk does not use this definition for its implementation of virtual user profiles, having separate users allow administrators greater control over who has access to what resources, which is similar in concept if not function.

A network administrator can usually configure an operating system so that a hard disk image runs in the background when the computer is powered on or contains a predefined set of applications that automatically start at boot time. The term "virtual user" can be used to refer to either a single user account running with an invisible connection to one or more virtual hard disks or multiple operating system users sharing the same physical access medium through IPC emulation.

Custom user profile data can be stored in a file or a database and comprise the following:

User profiles do not apply changes to the original system, which is referred to as "parent image." The modified user directory is stored separately from the parent image, which allows users to work without affecting other users' interactions. In some cases, it can also make it possible for a single physical computer to function as multiple computers. This virtualization ability allows for better application management, making it easier to manage software across an entire department or company since installing and configuring each user's applications on their desktop may be too time-consuming.

Virtual machines allow a host system with a completely different hardware architecture (x86) to run software for another (PowerPC). Virtual user-profiles emulate a different operating system from the parent image, but it uses the same hardware as that of the original system. For example, a virtual machine running on x86 hardware can host an operating system that is only compatible with PowerPC architecture.

The entire desktop environment for virtual users is stored in a single directory and does not affect any other user, allowing them to access their settings without having to worry about interfering with other users' setups.

User-profile technologies also allow for non-uniform memory access (NUMA) optimization by taking advantage of the fact that computer memory is set up by groups of modules called "nodes." This allows programs to run faster by using NUMA nodes that are usually faster and closer to the processor.

Virtual user profiles can provide both DAC and MAC, but in most cases, it is designed mostly with DAC in mind to make user management easier for administrators at the cost of some security. Virtual machines allow users to have access restricted without affecting other users' interactions. The entire desktop environment for virtual users is stored in a single directory and does not affect any other user, allowing them to access their settings without having to worry about interfering with other users' setups..

Access user profiles

Virtual user profiles are useful for controlling access to resources. They allow the administrator to set up different users with dedicated resources, such as software or storage devices, without having to take up additional physical space. This allows users to work on their documents despite other users' actions within the same network. Virtual user-profiles emulate a different operating system from the parent image, but it uses the same hardware as that of the original system..

Storage virtualization is one common use for virtual machines. The entire desktop environment for virtual users is stored in a single directory and does not affect any other user, allowing them to access their settings without having to worry about interfering with other users' setups.

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