Copy Domain Profile Without Losing Settings  - What's the Best Way?

Posted on 2005-05-03
Last Modified: 2012-04-22
Recently the hard drive that held the OS on our SBS 2003 server failed and I had to reinstall (btw... restoring AD via Backup Exec. just plain doesn't work... don't bother!). We now have a fresh OS on a new hard drive and we've named everything exactly as it was (same domain name as before). It seems that the proper way of reconnecting clients to the fresh install of SBS is to rejoin their PCs to the domain by simply typing over the old domain with the same domain name (via System Properties - Computer Name tab). Once I do this, the server recognizes and trusts the client. However, as I had guessed, the Users' profiles are recreated as "user.domain" or in some cases "user.domain.000" and they lose all their settings from the old profile.

Is there a way to minimize the loss of settings? I can't seem to find a way to copy the settings. I've copied the files from one profile to the next, but all the MS Office settings, for example, are completely lost.

Is there a way to use Files and Settings Transfer Wizard in this scenario? I would assume not, since the transfer typically requires two PCs and still won't provide the correct SID to the newly recreated domain. Is there a tool I'm missing? I tried using the Profile Copy feature (System Properties - Advanced - User Profiles) ...under all but the local administrator profile, the option to copy is greyed out. I tried logged in as local admin and domain admin... same results.  

Any ideas on the best way to get their settings back the way they were?  

Question by:philodendrin
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    You can insert the Windows XP CD-ROM and, in Additional Tasks you'll find " User State Migration Tool ".

    Run it and then import after added the pc to the "new" domain !

    Best Regards !
    LVL 16

    Accepted Solution

    The key is to login to windows with the user first! Windows creates a profile folder at this time and associates it with the user account. Once this folder has been created, you can delete/rename it and rename/add the correct folder in its place. Skip the Advanced user copy button thing, takes waaaay too long. Once you get the hang of it, this process can be done in less than 5 minutes.

    Restart and logon as a local administrator or another user with admin rights.
    Rename the C:\documents and settings\username folder to username_bak
    Delete (or rename) any bad folders that were created in a similar manner.
    Add user to the pc's local administrators group.
    Login to pc with the "correctusername" or domain username.
    Restart and logon as a local administrator or another user with admin rights.
     (Restart is necessary because if you logoff, windows will still have some of the users files locked)
    delete the newly created profile folder c:\documents and settings\correctusername folder
    rename the c:\documents and settings\username_bak to the name of "correctusername" (the newuserfolder)
    Logout and login as the new user. Tada done. You may have to reconnect Outlook .pst files.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    Well, two things, first the problem is that your usernames are getting new SID's so that is the reason for the new profiles. because you did your domain this way you will physcally have to touch each PC.

    go to the pc logon the user, whitch will create the new profile REBOOT the machine, logon as someone other then the old or new user that has administrative access to the local computer
    right click My computer
    click properties
    click the advanced tab
    click the 2nd box "user profiles" [settings]
    copy the old profile to the new profile
    you will also have to permit the user to have access to the folder, once that is dont the user can login and have all their previous settings.

    Author Comment

    Awesome... that worked great Craylord!

    Thanks a million!


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