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Convert a workgroup user-account profile to a domain account profile

harazy asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-27

Before I setup a domain controller in my network and create a domain, all computers just share the same workgroup.

I've to create user account in each computer before they could login. They only able to login locally to the computer they have account in, and their user profile stored in that computer.

Now that I've setup a domain and each user has their own domain ID, I would like them to login through the domain.

But when a user login using their domain ID, the computer create another profile.
How am I going to maintain the same profile the user already have in their computer?

I still want to use local profile, not roaming profile - but the domain would be the server domain, not local computer.

Please help.


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Dear harazy,
In which case you can do the following to do the migration. I use to use this during Windows NT days. It will still work as we use this if the no of users are less and we need to migrate them to our domain

1.     Login as local administrator
2.     Move the computer to new domain using Domain admin Login
3.     Reboot the system
4.     Login as the user of that particular system to the new domain so that a default profile is created with that user name.
5.     Log off the system and login as Domain Admin to newDomain
6.     Add the user newdomain\userid to local administrator group if you want to grant the user with local admin rights
7.     Delete the new profile which was created when you logged in first using the user name after the migration and rename the old profile with the new profile name.

If the user name is xxx, after you logged in to domain it would have created profile called xxx. if the user was using yyy while he was in workgroup then delete xxx profile and rename the old profile from yyy to xxx

8.     Logoff  the system

9.     Logon to the system with the user login to new Domain

Migrated completed successfully. Happy Migrating



Dear Inbarasan,

I tried that but its not working for me. The computers are running WinXP Pro and the servers are running Win2K3 with Active Directory Domain.

After I renamed the workgroup profile folder to xxx, when I logged in using domain ID, the computer created another profile folder named xxx.DOMAINNAME or xxx.SOMETHING. I couldn't simply cheat the computer into thinking it was the same folder.

Any other way?..

Thank you
I guess that you are trying to maintain the user setting that your users had in the local computers before migrating to domain. If yes, you just need to logon the computer using domain account to create new profile for the user (named xxx.DOMAINNAME or xxx.SOMETHING). Then logon the computer with Admin previledge and copy whole things inside the old local profile overwritten to the new-created domain profile.


yes, just copy the local user profile to domain user profile.
In my experience (moving local profiles to domain profiles on terminal services servers) there is one more step to do.

After you copy the old profile files in the new profile folder that is created after a new login, you need to load the registry hive of the user (ntuser.dat)  and reset the permissions.

On windows XP, regedit.exe can do that, on windows 2000, you'll need regdt32.exe instead.

In regedit, logged in as an administrator, make sure the user you want to migrate is not logged on, else you won't be able to open his registry since it'll be loaded. Open regedit.exe, and go select hkey_users. Go into file -> load hive. Go and select the ntuser.dat file in the profile folder you just copied that you want the user to use. It'll ask you for a name to use, type the name of the user, for simplicity's sake.

Under hkey_user, you'll now see a key with the user's name. Right click on it and select permissions. Add you user's domain account, and give him full rights on the registry hive.

After that, select the key again, and go to file -> unload hive. Do the same for the whole folder of the profile, to add your user's domain account so that he has full rights on his profile folder.

That should do the trick!

Hope this helps in your specific case!

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If you are setting up a Windows 2003 SBS it has a wizard included that will do this for you.
If not look at this post where I provided my method to another looking to do the same thing.



Thank you guys,

I'll try the solution from hong7cong & devnull22, and see whether its working or not.

Krompton, I couldn't view the solution, I'm not a subscriber.

Here is the relevent protion of my post from the link:

On Domain controller:
Using Active Directory Users and Computers:
Verify/Create user/computer accounts in the appropriate OU container(s)
Enable any user accounts necessary to be added
Log onto the client machine as local admin
Open System Properties (Windows key + Pause/Break)
Select the Computer Name tab
Click the Change button
In the “Member of” section click the “Domain” button and enter YourDomain in the box
Click OK
You should receive a message box saying “Welcome to the YourDomain Domain” > Click OK
Another box informing you a restart will be required will be displayed > Click OK
On the System Properties window > Click OK
Another window asking you if you would like to restart now will be displayed > Click Yes
After the computer has restarted logon as Admin again (Local or Domain does not matter at this time)
Open Windows Explorer and navigate to “C:\Documents and Settings”
Add “.local”(or whatever) to the end of any local user profile folders that will be receiving a new domain account
Logoff as admin
Logon to the Domain using the new user account
Logoff the new user (Repeat previous step if more than one user account is to be moved to the domain)
Logon as Domain Admin
Copy all files from the user’s “.local” folder to their newly created profile folder
Two or three prompts asking if you want to replace files/folders will be presented; click “Yes to All” or “Yes” for each prompt shown
After copy is complete select two or three folders or files and verify that the user’s domain account has full control
Open regedit.exe
Expand and highlight the HKEY_Users key
On the file menu select Load Hive
The Load Hive window will open
Open the directory C:\Documents and Settings\username and highlight the ntuser.dat file and click Open
A box asking for a name for the hive will appear enter the user’s logon name and click OK
A new key with the name you provided will appear under the highlighted key in registry editor
Highlight this new key, right click on it and open the permissions
In the permissions box click the add key
Enter the user’s domain logon name and click Check Name
Verify the user name appears with the “@YourDomain” after the user’s logon name then click OK
The user’s name should now appear in the upper permissions window > Highlight the domain user’s name
In the lower part of the permissions window check Full Control for the domain user
Click the Advanced button
On the bottom of the Advanced Security Settings window check the “Replace permissions entries on all child objects with entries shown here that apply to child objects” and click Apply
A Security Box warning you “This will remove explicitly defined permissions…” will then appear > Click Yes
Then click OK and OK
You should be back at the Registry Editor
With the Hive you loaded earlier highlighted; click File>Unload Hive>Yes
Close the Registry Editor
Logon with the domain user’s account

Hope this helps.

delete domain account of user on dc.
log on locally as admin to workstation delete doman profile
created for user under documents and settings.
rename Default user proflile Default old. If you dont see Deault User profile its hidden so go into
folder options and select show hidden files and folders.
rename local user profile that you want to move to domain to Default User.
Log on to domain as that user and his new profile will be created out of old local
one which you rename to default user.
I do not know if the original poster tried my solution as he suggested, but I'm pretty sure one of the above solution was right for his problem, as just copying the data isn't enough in a domain setting, since the registry is tied to the domain user, that needs to be resetted when moving profiles to new domains.


Thank you guys.

devnull22, you're correct. Thanks krompton for making it clearer for me.

Glad we could help and thanks for the points.

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