How to dismantle Microsoft LAN and join WAN domain and copy local user profiles

tinamerrifield used Ask the Experts™
I have a Microsoft LAN/WAN for several offices around the country using MPLS.  One of my remote offices has their own domain server and about 15 local users that currently log on to a different domain.  They use Outlook from my exchange server and upon opening it must enter their username/password for my domain.  

I want to do away with their local domain, make their PDC become a BDC on my domain and join all local computers (WXP) to my domain.  I need to copy the local users profiles from the old domain to the new profiles.  All servers involved are Windows Server 2003 R2.   Any assistance with this would be helpful. Thanks in advance!
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if there is only 15 users at that remote site, and you already have connection to the main should be easy.

1.  Ensure you know the local administrator account on all those workstations and any member servers...change it if  you are not certain.
2. Ensure you can ping your PDC via FQDN.  (server1.domain.local)
3. On all workstations / member servers at remote site - unjoin the domain, just put them into a workgroup for now.
4. DCPROMO your existing domain controller at the remote site - this will remove Active Directory
5. DCPROMO the remote site server again, but this time join it to the existing domain.  
6. Ensure that replication has been performed
7. Make remote server a Global Catalog server
8.Go to all workstations / member servers and re-join them to the new domain
9. Log on as user to the workstation... Set up the new profile.  You can easily copy the desktop, favorites, and my documents folders from the old profile (c:\documents and settings\user\).  

With only 15 workstations this is the easiest way to go in my opinion.


There are some users that want their exact profile copied, not just copy over the docs, favorites, etc.  What's the best way to do that?

Copy files to the new user profile
1. Log on as a user other than the user whose profile you are copying files to or from.
2. In Windows Explorer, click Tools, click Folder Options, click the View tab, click Show hidden files and folders, click to clear the Hide protected operating system files check box, and then click OK.
3. Locate the C:\Documents and Settings\Old_Username folder, where C is the drive on which Windows XP is installed, and Old_Username is the name of the profile you want to copy user data from.
4. Press and hold down the CTRL key while you click each file and subfolder in this folder, except the following files:
" Ntuser.dat
" Ntuser.dat.log
" Ntuser.ini
5. On the Edit menu, click Copy.
6. Locate the C:\Documents and Settings\New_Username folder, where C is the drive on which Windows XP is installed, and New_Username is the name of the user profile that you created in the "Create a New User Profile" section.
7. On the Edit menu, click Paste.
8. Log off the computer, and then log on as the new user.

Note You must import your e-mail messages and addresses to the new user profile before you delete the old profile.
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Thanks for the answers thus far.  This will be taking place in about 2 weeks and I'm trying to anticipate solutions for common problems in doing this.  It's been about 4 years since I have done this and I'll be walking someone else through this on the phone.

Ideas on what it could be if I cannot ping the PDC via FQDN?
Any common DCPROMO issues?
commong issues when making server a Global Catalog server?
any other considerations?
If you can't ping the FQDN could be a lot of issues, but what I would do is set the remote server's DNS to point to the PDC.  This should fix that issue.
No DCPROMO issues that I know about...the only thing that comes to mind is the Windows 2003 R2 second disk, but I can't remember if that is for forestprep - which you would not be needing
making a server a GC is a simple check in the box under sites and services

Other considerations:
it will take longer than you expect...but this is true with anything IT especially when you are not on site


Thanks for the step-by-step answer, really appreciate it!

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