Rejoining the Domain Without Losing Settings

Posted on 2007-07-26
Last Modified: 2008-10-03
I have had to reinstall SBS3003 after the client forgot to have the Raid 5 setup properly.
Each workstation was already setup to the domain as well as all the mapped drives and printers.

I set the server up exactly as it was before, but the workstations will not login ...

I remembered that once I had a similar issue with 2000 server and the suggestion was to switch the workstation to a workgroup, reboot, and then rejoin the domain ... I did this on one workstation and it lost all settings I had already setup (desktop scheme, shortcuts, basically everything) ...

The machines are all XP Pro ... is there a way to have them be recognized during login without losing everything ?

When I use the Network ID to join, I get an error that a duplicate computer with same name can not be used ...

When I use the Change Button is where I changed to a workgroup and then joined back again ...
Question by:AEII
    LVL 63

    Expert Comment

    I would backup the User profile before trying to rejoin, then you can copy the info back afterwards.

    I hope this helps !
    LVL 11

    Accepted Solution

    Did you restore the System State after reinstalling SBS2003?  If not then I take it the old Active Directory is gone?

    Assuming it is gone then you are on a fresh Active Directory.  Even though it may have the same name etc., all the old SIDs are gone so the PCs are not joined to this "new" AD domain.  So basically without restoring the old Active Directory you have no choice but to disjoin (aka. join a workgroup) each PC from the domain and rejoin them to the new one.
    As the old Active Directory is gone you have also lost all the user accounts.  Even if you set them up again exactly as before they have new SIDs and will be treated as new accounts on the PCs.  So when you join a PC back onto the new domain and login with the user's credentials you will find a new profile.  Here's what to do when you've logged in as this user -
    - Open a command prompt.  You will be in a folder like C:\Documents & Settings\JoeSoap.  This directory is the new blank profile for this user.
    - Log out and log in to the PC as the domain administrator.  Browse into C:\Documents & Settings\JoeSoap and remove ALL files and folders, but DO NOT delete the C:\Documents & Settings\JoeSoap directory itself.  You may need to reboot to be able to remove all the files from the folder.
    - Now you need to move all the files/folders from the user's original profile on this PC to this new empty folder.  It should be easy enough to find their old profile directory as the modified date on the user.dat file in the profile folder will be sometime in the last few days.  You need to take ALL the files/folders from this old profile and move them into the empty directory above.
    - When the files are moved go to the C:\Documents & Settings folder, select the C:\Documents & Settings\JoeSoap and replace the owner and permissions on all subfolders of this folder.  This is jsut in case the user has set their folder as private beforehand.
    - You can now reboot the PC and log in as the user.  Their old Desktop etc. will come up.

    You must turn on display of hidden/system files before doing this.  Be VERY careful when moving these folders around not to delete the real profile you need to keep.  Consider moving folders instead of removing as I suggested above.

    Just to explain that Windows keeps the SID of the user associated with their profile in the C:\Documents & Settings folder.  That's why you can't just delete the new folder and rename the new one to the same name to log in.  You need to keep the top directory and move the profile files in and out of this.

    Hope that all makes sense...


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