Microsoft stopped providing security updates for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008r2. I was requested to migrate all local user profiles from 2 terminal servers in order to keep the maximum number of files and settings for each user. The users explicitly asked to keep the maximum amount of small settings in their applications. I did encounter a number of problems. The list of tips I provide here can be used as a source of inspiration for others with a similar migration task. There may be other, even better ways to resolve some problems; I am just describing how I did it.
We have one of the top antivirus systems installed (Bitdefender) but still, I was amazed at how many malware files I found in the source profiles. It would be a pity to transfer the malware together with the profiles, so I wanted to avoid that by removing them without a high cost.
Users do not have administrative privileges on the terminal server but still have enough privileges to write temporary files and install browser plug-ins, so apparently, the malware was still able to flow in undetected.
I tried using Malwarebytes version 4, but even though the version claimed to be free for a limited amount of time, I still had to purchase a license before I could actually remove the malware. So, I installed the latest Mbam version 3 (mb3-setup-consumer-188.8.131.5265); now I was able to freely remove the detected malware. I had to reboot and reran a scan to detect/remove a few more. I uninstalled the free test software after that.
In this step I wanted to avoid copying over big and useless files; still, I didn't want to spend too much time on it. I decided to avoid 2 types of files:
3. Find the correct syntax to Robocopy a profile
I tried to use Robocopy to copy a profile from the old to the new terminal server. I found a lot of syntax examples, but when I tried them, I noticed that the copy kept going forever: it was recursively creating an ‘Application Data’ folder inside an ‘Application Data’ folder, in a seamlessly never-ending loop. These recursive folders were difficult to delete; the easiest method was using Robocopy again from an empty folder to the incorrectly filled destination.
Apparently, in this old 2008r2 server system, there is something called an NTFS “junction point” in the file system, and Robocopy follows that point over and over again causing this issue.
The solution is to use the /XJ switch with Robocopy to exclude NTFS junction points, in order to avoid that endless ‘Application Data’ folder nesting when copying from Windows 2008r2 server.
Example working syntax:
robocopy C:\Users\myusername\ \\newserver\c$\Users\myusername\ /MIR /copyall /xj /zb /w:1 /r:2 /XF *.tmp
4. Copy the user profiles
This is the most difficult step because it requires doublechecking to avoid making mistakes. Follow the following steps chronologically:
5. Correct some problems inside the user profile:
For this, I change some settings, but this is a personal preference:
I installed Image Resizer for Windows 3.1.2: a free utility that lets you resize one or more selected image files directly from Windows Explorer by right-clicking. (similar to the old Microsoft's Image Resizer Powertoy for Windows XP.) The smarter user is always interested in optimizing their content size.
I installed Greenshot: a light-weight screenshot software to capture a selected region, window or fullscreen. Users also can easily annotate, highlight or obfuscate parts of the screenshot, and can export the screenshot in various ways: save to file, send to printer, copy to clipboard, attach to e-mail, send Office programs, and others.
I bring Windows Photo Viewer back to the front by installing a small registry fix. This also allows restoring Windows Photo Viewer to be able to select to open image files in Default apps, Default Programs, and Open with for only your account or all users.
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