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By: phroggie

It sounds like what you're wanting could be fixed by adding an environment 
for all users called GAIMHOME, and pointing it at "C:\Documents and Settings\All
Users\Application Data" or whatever yours may be.

Otherwise, a crafty .bat script could invoke Gaim on startup with the shared
(read-only) prefs, and users could have a second instance launched with their
other screen names with prefs stored on a per-user basis. Something like the
following might work (untested, of course):
set GAIMHOME="C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data"
run "C:\Program Files\Gaim\Gaim.exe"

My personal choice would be to have prefs on disk as read only somewhere like
C:\bak\gaim, upon next login, use a script to copy those prefs to a user's home
directory, unset read-only flags on copied files (if needed), and launch gaim

While it's obvious I don't know the entire scenario, whether the prefs are 
on a single machine with one OS account, shared on a single machine with 
OS accounts, or shared across an entire domain or workgroup, it sounds like
many security holes and other problems could appear. First off, if any user
elects to save their password and leave an account enabled, any other user will
be able to retrieve said password, and upon launching gaim will be signed in
to all of the previous users enabled accounts. Prefs will be shared, and when
user b changes the outgoing font to black on black, anyone signing on afterwards
will have to correct it. If the machine this will be running on supports more
than one simultaneous login, even if done by clicking "Switch User", both 
will be writing to the same files, and I don't believe Gaim has been built with
that in mind. While this over-elaborate explanation is likely unneccesary, it
does point out a couple of pitfalls in what it sounds like you're wanting, and
methods of overcoming those obstacles.

In other words, what you're asking for is possible, but is opening a whole can
of potential worms that was probably better off being left shut.

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