Doublecheck your data: policy change will delete unused PC user profiles after 90 days


A system-wide update is coming to Michigan Medicine CoreImage PCs to help devices run more efficiently. This change will delete user profiles and data that is not synced to another location, if the user has not signed in during the past 90 days (about 3 months).


This update will be implemented this spring, with exact timing to be determined. Here is more information to help you prepare and minimize any impact on your work. 

Policy change summary

Many Michigan Medicine CoreImage PC workstations have numerous user profiles consuming excessive disk space and slowing them down.  

This spring, HITS will implement an update to delete unused profiles and associated data after 90 days of inactivity. This will free up disk space and improve targeting for automatic system updates and productivity application enhancements. Exact timing of this policy implementation is being determined.

HITS estimates that 1,700 devices have more than 60 profiles stored. These devices are mainly shared workstations located in Michigan Medicine buildings, in either clinical/patient or research areas. 

As always, it is each person’s responsibility to manage Michigan Medicine data in a safe and secure manner. Utilize HITS’ storage options, including Microsoft OneDrive or Network Attached Storage (NAS) directories like the H, R, S, or T drives to securely store your data. To see other storage options available across U-M, check out the Data Storage Finder, or contact HITS if you have questions. 

Who will be impacted?

CoreImage PCs will be impacted by this policy change.CoreMacs and Flex PCs will NOT be impacted at this time.  

Additionally, approximately 40 CoreImage PC workstations used for research are excluded from this update. HITS will work on each one of these individually with users. Contact HITS via the Michigan Medicine Help Center for more information about these devices.   

What data is at risk of deletion?

Any documents or data within a user’s profile, that is stored on the computer’s hard drive and not saved or synchronized to another file storage location like OneDrive, Dropbox, or the H, R, S, or T drives, will be deleted.  

NOTE: The ‘Documents’ folder is automatically synced to either OneDrive or the H Drive on all CoreImage PCs, so data saved in this folder will not be lost. Between March 1-25, 2022, the ‘Desktop’ and ‘Pictures’ folders will also switch over to be automatically synced to OneDrive on all CoreImage desktops (this syncing is already in place on CoreImage laptops). Any other folders, including ‘Music’ and ‘Videos’ folders, are not backed up.    

If you have important data outside of your Documents folder, like in the Music, Videos, or other folders, you will need to take action to back up this data manually.  

Will this update impact me if my data is saved to the cloud or network attached storage drives?

You are not at risk of data loss if your data is saved to a cloud service, like OneDrive, Dropbox, or AWS, or the H, R, S, or T drive.  

What if I am on leave for 90+ days (I.e., academic leave, sabbatical, maternity/parental leave). Will this policy wipe the computer I use for work?

No. Any data saved to a synchronized folder (Documents, Desktop, Pictures on a laptop), to the cloud (OneDrive, Dropbox, AWS), or to a network attached storage drive (H, R, S, T drives) is not at risk of deletion. Additionally, applications that you use that save data outside of your user profile will not be affected by this policy change. 

However, if you are planning not to use your device for a while, HITS recommends backing up all of your documents and data to a secure location before you leave. 

Is a user profile required on the machine to access a workstation?

No. Credentials and user profiles are separate. If you login to a workstation for the first time using your credentials, a user profile is then created for you and saves your settings on that machine for 90 days. This 90-day timer restarts every time you login to that workstation. Once you login to a workstation and sign into OneDrive, you can expect that any documents synced to your profile (such as the Documents, Desktop, Pictures folders) will be available.

Who should take action before this change takes place?

Anyone who uses a CoreImage PC for daily work or research purposes should be aware of this policy change. HITS recommends users save ALL data and documents to a cloud or network attached storage option, so it is accessible in case your main work device requires service or is lost or stolen.  

While HITS does not anticipate a significant user impact from this change, given Michigan Medicine's important work we are striving to eliminate any type of data loss event. 

Healthy data management practices

Using approved storage for your data is an important responsibility we all share. U-M has many storage solutions to fit almost any workflow, and HITS can help if you have questions. Contact us for assistance identifying data storage solutions.  

Regularly check the folders on your workstation to make sure important data is not inadvertently stored in unsynchronized folders, which may be lost if your profile is deleted on a device following 90 days of inactivity. 

Protecting our data, especially sensitive data, is a shared responsibility. While U-M provides secure storage solutions, you are responsible for ensuring that your use of permitted services complies with laws, regulations, and policies where applicable. 

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