Join a Domain, keep all Files and Settings

Posted on 2009-04-23
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have about 10 XP machines that don't login to a domain.  I want to join them up to the domain, but with all their My Documents and Outlook crud and all that stuff follow over to the new profile.  (Bookmarks in IE, Application settings, etc).

What's the easiest way to do this? I found lots of hints and tips and tricks, but most were pretty dated.  Hoping there is just a nice quiet simple way to do this!
Question by:dougp23
    LVL 37

    Expert Comment

    by:Jamie McKillop

    This is fairly easy, especially since you only have 10 PCs. Join the machine to the domain, then log on with the user's domain account.  Reboot the PC, log on as administrator, then copy the old profile over the new. The profiles will be found at C:\Documents and Settings\username. If the domain username matches the local username, the domain profile should have .yourdomain as a suffix.

    LVL 82

    Accepted Solution

    Simply copying the profile folder in Explorer is NOT enough to properly migrate the profile.
    There are permissions in the user's registry which, obviously, will not be changed when copying the profile in Explorer; the "Copy Profile" wizard in My Computer has to be used for this.
    Step by step:
    Join the machines to the domain.
    Logon once to the machine with the domain account of the local user whose profile you want to migrate, log back off.
    Logon with a domain admin account.
    Delete everything in the new *domain* profile, but leave the folder. If you can't delete the contents, reboot the machine and log back on as domain admin again (sometimes some handles remain open after logoff, preventing the profile from unloading, in which case you need to reboot in order to continue with the following steps).
    Right-click "My Computer", open the properties, go to the Advanced tab; click the button "Settings" in the "User Profiles" section.
    Pick the local, "old" profile, and click "Copy to".
    Browse to the *domain* user's profile folder in C:\documents and settings; do NOT click "OK" yet.
    Change the user to the domain user in the section below the copy target; click OK.
    Confirm the warning that the domain user's profile will be overwritten.
    Log back on as user, and everything should be fine.
    LVL 25

    Expert Comment

    by:Ron M
    Here's how to do's a fool proof method I use all  the time.

    Note: Profiles are stored in c:\documents and settings\profilename

    Join the machine to the new domain...reboot
    Log the user on to the workstationu using domain logon... > new profile will be created.......note the name of the new profile folder...(example: username.domainname)
    Logon as the domain administrator...
    Rename the NEWLY created profile folder to something else, example  username.domainname.OLD
    Rename the OLD profile folder to username.domainname, or whatever the name that was created.
    Right click the profile folder and choose properties...goto security tab... add the respective user with FULL CONTROL...Reboot.
    Logon as the user...  You should see their old desktop back...

    LVL 82

    Expert Comment

    Again: this method is only "foolproof" if the new user is a local administrator on the machine (which is and should be seldom the case in a domain), because the permissions in the old user's registry will only be adjusted if the profile is copied using the method I described above.
    LVL 59

    Expert Comment

    by:Darius Ghassem
    You can also use the USMT that will move the settings and profile over.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    I think this is the first time I have a difference of opinion with you dariusq.

    Be careful of the USMT as well:

    The User state migration tool USMT will not shift over non microsoft application data of the profile. For that reason, the very best way to do migrate profies is exactly as OBDA was saying.

    An example of USMT:
    For instance, in my case we use mozilla thunderbird mail  and firefox browser and even though the mail profile and favorite are kept within the hidden file called application data, that resides within the profile, the USMT will not migrate it over. Instead, you have to manually migrate mozilla mail profiles.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    oBdA seems closest...the sizes of the profile (local user and new domain user) are the same, so that looks good.

    However, upon starting Outlook I get:

    Outlook could not open the file containig the folders...Please select from the options below:  Create a new personal folders file, Open an existing Personal folders file.

    Any ideas?
    LVL 25

    Expert Comment

    by:Ron M
    %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\

    That is the location of the pst. or ost.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    The application data is a hidden folder and you may need to go into Windows Explorer, select "tools" drop down menu, choose "folder options", and select the "view" tab. On that view tab choose to "show hidden files and folders". Then you may be able to see the application data in the old profile.

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