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Cannot copy user profile

Posted on 2004-09-07
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I have a w2k pro desktop that I removed from a domain that no longer exists and joined to a home workgroup. Now the profile that was associated with the user DOMAIN\USER is unavailable for copying to the new user LOCAL MACHINE\USER. The "Copy To..." button is grayed out.

In the User Profiles dialog box the Profile Name came up as Account Unknown (most likely because it was associated with an account from the old domain). I renamed the new profile folder and renamed the exisitng profile folder to match the new one hoping that the new account would then use that folder...but it did not. Now in the User Profile dialog the profile doesn't even show up but the folder still exists. I need to get that profile associated with a new account.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Lauren
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Question by:evco
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Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
ID: 11998716
log in as the administrator and take ownership of the folder

1.      Try to take ownership of the folder. Right click the folder> Select the security Tab
Select properties > Select Advanced > Select Owner
Find the User or group you wish to give ownership to and select > Click apply
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Debsyl99 earned 500 total points
ID: 11998777
Hi
The Account Unknown is for an orphaned user account that is either no longer on the domain, or on your local pc.  
You can perform a manual copy of the unknown account by going into your Documents and Settings directory and
copying all  the files you need from the orphaned account. You may well need to take ownership of it though.  If you're looking to copy settings as well, you will need to copy the ntuser.dat file which is a hidden file by default and copy it into a new profile.  You will need  to perform the copy from a different account to the one you're using at the time as you can't copy or replace a "locked" ntuser.dat file which is in use.

Deb :))
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by:hehewithbrackets
ID: 11999035
Debsyl99, have you successfully copied the ntuser.dat file manually and have it work?  The last time I did this was on an NT machine and copying it manually always 'blew up' the profile.

evco, I wouldn't recommend trying to get Windows to recognize the old folder as your profile.  It's much easier to let Windows create a fresh profile and then manually copy the contents of the old domain profile into your new profile.  Normally I would have said to copy everything except the ntuser.dat file, but if it works as Debsyl99 says, go for it.
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by:Debsyl99
ID: 11999283
Well I've done it on a win 2k sp4 machine ok, so long as the profile is just orphaned, not corrupted it should work
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Author Comment

by:evco
ID: 11999287
Ok I copied the contents of the profile folder but didn't touch the ntuser.dat. Now when I load Outlook I get errors about the .pst file being corrupt..if I click cancel on the error message enough times it lets me use Outlook with no problems. My concern is that I will run across tons of litte problems because of the way the profile was setup (copied).

I don't want to "blow up" the profile so I haven't done anything with ntuser.dat...what exactly am I missing out on by not copying that over.

There is one machine left that I need to join to the workgrounp and disjoin from the domain. Is there a better way to handle the profiles before I remove the machine from the domain? I am hoping to prevent what happened when I removed the current machine I am working on, from the domain.

Thanks for your help thus far.

Lauren
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by:Debsyl99
ID: 11999305
Hi - it won't "blow up" the old profile - just possibly the new one (but if the ntuser.dat file isn't corrupt it should work just fine - really, truly, (NT4 is a way away from win2k sp4)

Try copy over the ntuser.dat too, then test it,

Deb :))
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by:hehewithbrackets
ID: 11999318
Yes, you can copy the profile using the user profiles tab in system properties prior to disjoining from the domain.

The ntuser.dat contains most of your profile settings, i.e. desktop background, screen saver settings, etc.
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Author Comment

by:evco
ID: 11999337
If the ntuser.dat is in the profile folder then I most likely "copied" it since I didn't neccessarily copy the contents just renamed the folder.
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by:hehewithbrackets
ID: 11999402
To copy profile prior to disjoining from domain, it's a very simple.   You need to first create the local user account and then logon using the local account to create a fresh profile folder.  Log back on to the domain account, then using the user profiles dialog, 'copy' the domain profile to the newly created profile folder and change the 'Permitted to use' accordingly.

I don't recommend renaming folders in your documents and settings folders.  Let Windows decide which folder is your profile folder and then you can copy things into it using the User Profiles dialog or manually from Windows Explorer.
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by:Debsyl99
ID: 11999491
Renaming it won't work ie you won't be able to use it - The profile folder is created automatically when a new user logs on which is why you need to copy the contents from old folder to new folder. Really you have nothing to lose by trying the NTuser.dat copy - if ntuser.dat is corrupted then it won't work on the new profile - you simply create another one and don't copy it over. The fact that ntuser.dat copy didn't work with hehewithbrackets was possibly down to corruption, not the fact it won't work no matter what.
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Expert Comment

by:jhautani
ID: 11999687
There is one thing that is often missed when you manually copy a profile to use with another account:
ntuser.dat contains registry settings of the user and they also have permissions. The fact that ntuser.dat seems to be corrupt is often due to lack of permissions of the new user in the registry.
Take a look at this PAQ of how to fix ntuser.dat permissions:
 http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/Windows_Server_2003/Q_21000917.html

hope this helps
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Expert Comment

by:jonnietexas
ID: 12003427
The NTUSER.DAT file is associated with a user that doesn't exist.  I don't believe you'll be able to use it.  The users setting, for the most part, will still exist in the aplication data directory for email, desktop icons, etc.
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Expert Comment

by:ScenicTech
ID: 12410509
What I do in a case of profile curuption is go into Documents and settings as local admin and rename the profile. Example: John_Smith is the user name. Change it to John_Smith1. Then log in as John_Smith and it will create a new profile for you. Log out and go back in as local admin. Go to your old profile and copy all the folders to the new profile. Don't copy the NTUSER.dat file. If you create a local profile instead of a domain profile you should be able to use it off the domain.

Good Luck,

ScenicTech
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Expert Comment

by:gonzal78
ID: 12423256
logged in as the local admin you should be able to copy the documents and settings folder
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