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Copying windows profiles

Posted on 2009-07-07
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
Copying windows profiles
Can someone post the steps to copy an old local profile to a new profile.
I have users that were used to log to the domain and create a profile, now those workstations were disjoined and rejoined to the new domain.
So now when they logon to the new domain it will create a new profile for them, but they still need to see their old desktop, documents, favorites, applications, etc... just as if they were still in the old domain.
For test purposes I tried to copy the old profile to the new on, but when  I go to the Advanced tab /user profile I see some profiles that show unknown and some if you highlight them, it won't give you the option to copy them...
in the c:\documents and settings I can see the (folders)profiles there.

but I am not sure on how to copy the old profile(folder) to the new one, is renaming the old folder with the new name and the new one with a different name will work?

thanks


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Question by:jskfan
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by:murphyke
ID: 24798501
Log on as the administrator or an account with local admin

Go to Documents and Settings

See what the new profile is being called (sometimes it puts .domain on the end of the username)

Re-name this to something else.

re-name the old profile you want exactly to what the new one is called.

I have done this many times and it has always worked fine.

If it does not let you re-name the folders you will need to restart the computer.
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by:mds-cos
ID: 24798515
1)  Logon as the user to create a new profile;
2)  Logoff user;
3)  Logon as administrator;
4)  Copy contents of the old profile in c:\documents and settings\users\<username> to the new profile (probably someting like c:\documents and settings\users\<username>.<domain>
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by:murphyke
ID: 24798548
That is exactly what i put except that with your method you will need to copy all the files instead of just re-naming the profile to the correct name
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by:svenesky
svenesky earned 166 total points
ID: 24798569
jskfan,

I think that you may be introuble with this one.  Once the computer is disjoined from the domain all of the user profiles are orphined because the security identifier is no longer valid.  You can view and take ovnership of their "old" user folder in documents and settings but as far as the profile I think you are out of luck.

mds-cons,

Step 2 should be a restart and not log off.  The new profile will be locked until the restart.
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by:svenesky
ID: 24798592
Sorry for the typo's.   The comment should read:

I think that you may be introuble with this one.  Once the computer is disjoined from the domain all of the user profiles are orphaned because the security identifier is no longer valid.  You can view and take ownership of their "old" user folder in documents and settings but as far as the profile I think you are out of luck.

mds-cons,

Step 2 should be a restart and not log off.  The new profile will be locked until the restart.
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by:jskfan
ID: 24798962
SO what 's the solution.......I am sure users they need what is in their old profiles.
That's what I was thinking.
After rejoining the workstation to the new domain
1-Logon to the new domain with a domain user account (for instance John) so it will create a new profile (John)
2-log off
3-Log on as the domain admin
4-rename the John profile to something xvxvxvxv
5-rename the old profile to John
6-Restart or logoff and logback on with John  and see if his old profile shows up.

svenesky: mentionned something about the SID, I don't know if the profile has a SID or at least beased on the SID.

Worst case scenario guys, you may need to tell me just in which folder of the profile a user might have saved things that they will need in the new profile.
I can say the user might need  the following folders from the profile:
Desktop, Application Data,Favorites,My Documents,Start Menu.
if I just copy these folder to the new profile is enough? would they overwrite the new folders?
I can't seem to find a solution for this....

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by:murphyke
murphyke earned 166 total points
ID: 24799030
Yeh try that first. You may find the new profile created has .domain at the end of his name (for example .corp)  in which case you will need to rename the old profile to that aswell.

svenesky is right though if the SID is different then you will have to make do with just copying the folders which you want accross onto the newly created profile.

You can overwrite those folders you mentioned and it should place it on the new profile without any problems.
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by:mds-cos
ID: 24799267
jskfan -- you are correct on the reboot vs. log-off.  I also forgot to mention that you need to be sure you are viewing hidden files so everything gets copied.

The method I described (but with reboot to be sure files are all unlocked) does work with disjoined / rejoined systems.
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by:jskfan
ID: 24800100
what are the profile folders  that might a user need in the new profile??
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by:mds-cos
ID: 24800491
Your list is pretty good.  You also will probably want Local Settings and might want Templates.  Problem you have if you don't copy the whole thing is you are going to loose the user specific registry settings (so, for example, you would have to set up Outlook again).

Really the easiest is to copy the whole thing (or as murphyke suggested rename it...but I prefer the copy approach because it preserves the original profile "just in case").  I've even seen this done successfully when moving from one computer to another.

I quit using the profile section of System Properties quite some time ago because it often seemed flakey to me.  You can clean up old profiles by simply deleting the folder in Documents and Settings.
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by:jskfan
ID: 24801912

I believe the most important about profiles is the NTuser.DAT that might might have soem references to the registery, If I rename the newly created profile which is John to XYZ and the old profile to John would this cause an issue.

for test purposes I tried to copy the old profile over the new one but I realized that it doesn't overwrite it.
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mds-cos earned 168 total points
ID: 24803661
Yes, NTuser.DAT does hold registry settings.  I suggest not copying this unless you are getting the whole profile though.

I have done the rename procedure (which is what murphyke suggested), which has not caused any issues.  But I have also had users say "I had this or that and it is gone now"....when I do the copy I can go back to the original profile and say "no you did not, could it be somewhere else?".  Or if something wierd happens to the profile, you can re-do a copy....but you cannot re-do a rename.

Doing a copy does overwrite everything, as long as you specify to overwrite with whatever copy method you use.
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by:jskfan
ID: 24805144
I tried Rename which worked better in a test machine.
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