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Moving Profiles (XP/VISTA)

Moving a Windows local user profile to a domain user profile

Note - this works reliably with Windows XP but is a gamble with Vista. It may cause Vista to BSOD so I advise against using it with Vista. When you remove a computer from a domain the user profiles are then no longer associated with any user accounts. You generally have to copy the old profiles into the newly created ones.

This trick re-associates the old profile to the new one. You no longer need to copy the profile. It saved me from having to copy a profile with 60+ Gb of mpg?s and photos. It is also useful if the profile is larger than the available disk space which would prevent it from being copied.

This trick is also used to re-associate a domain profile to a local user account, and it works to move a profile from one domain to another.

  1. Ordered List Item After successfully logging in as your new user, immediately log out and log back in as the local machine administrator.

  2. Go to Documents and Settings and you'll see two profile folders with similar names. One will probably have .DOMAIN appended to the end. This is the new profile.

  3. Move the new profile folder to another location. Remember where it is and what it's called.

  4. Add the new user account to the local administrators group on the computer.

  5. Go Start\Run and type regedit then click OK.

  6. Choose Edit\Find from the menu and type the name of the folder you just moved. It'll be somewhere like: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\<SID number> and the key is called ProfileImagePath. The string will look like ?%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\?

  7. Change the value of this key to the path of your original profile folder.

  8. Then go into regedit, highlight HKEY_USERS, and go to File\load hive, then find the users NTUSER.DAT (ensure you have hidden files visible), and load this file. The NTUSER.DAT file will be found in the new profile folder - the one you moved. Regedit will prompt for a name. Type anything for the name as this is just the subkey that the user's registry hive will appear under.

  9. Then right-click on that sub-key and choose Permissions. You will see the old SID which can no longer be resolved to a user account name because it belongs to the old domain, to which the machine is no longer joined. Delete that SID, and add the user again from the new domain with full permissions. Then unload the hive from the file menu (otherwise the file will be locked/in use and you won?t be able to use it).

  10. Also remove the old SID and add the new user (same user, but new SID, so a new user as far as Windows is concerned) as the owner or full-permissions for \documents and settings\username. Do all of this while logged in as a domain administrator of the new domain.

  11. Now reboot and log in as the user. All the settings will be there as before.


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moving_profiles_xp_vista.txt · Last modified: 2017/08/18 15:51 by chris