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Maintain User Profiles on Workstations During Server "Migration"

Posted on 2010-08-23
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
We're migrating from a configuration of (1) Win2K Domain Controller and (1) Win Server 2003 Enterprise Replicated Domain Controller
to
(1) SBS 2008 server.

We are not really doing a full migration since we are just planning to build everything from the ground up on the new server, disconnect all of the workstations from the old domain, and then reconnect them to the new domain. However, we want to be able to have our users log in to the same local profile on their workstations because they'll freak out if the icons don't look the same, etc.

Is there an easy way to do this? I know we used to us a registry "hack", or shall I say configuration, on XP workstations. It worked well if you did all the steps properly. Is this the best bet to do what we're trying to do?

We have about 12 workstations or so that will be affected by this change. Also, we do not use roaming profiles and we're not interested in doing that either.
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Question by:HKComputer
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tomex07 earned 500 total points
ID: 33506417
You could do that:
1. join the computer to the new domain.
2. Log on with the new user account
3. Reboot the workstation
4. Log on with local Admin account or new Domain Admin account
5. Copy the old profile in the new profile :
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Expert Comment

by:tomex07
ID: 33506432
To cpy the profile for Windows XP:
1.Open System applet in Cotrol Panel (or right-click My Computer and choose Properties). Click the Advanced tab.
2. In the User Profiles section click Settings.
3. Highlight the user profile you want to copy. Press Copy To.
4. In the Copy To dialog box enter the path to where you want to copy the profile to. You can also browse. The default location for the user's profile should be %systemdrive%\Documents and Settings\username
5. Press OK
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Author Comment

by:HKComputer
ID: 33506585
Doesn't Server 2008 or SBS 2008 have anything to handle this?
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Expert Comment

by:aoakeley
ID: 33510510
I am not sure what happens if you run the sbs2008 connect wizard (http://connect) from a workstation that is already on another domain. It is designed to join non domain workstations to a domain and convert the local profile to a domain profile.

I have never tried it to use the sbs2008 connect wizard to convert a profile on an old domain to a profile on a new domain. Demazter has tried almost everything on SBS migrations, maybe he or someone else can comment on the possibility of this working?
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Author Comment

by:HKComputer
ID: 33713718
We ended up finding something that worked for us although it wasn't any of the answers provided above. I tried to edit our checklist so that I could post it here but our method simply had too many limitations. It assumed that all workstations were XP SP3, that the existing user accounts had Administrator rights, that you were migrating from one subnet to a different one, and that you would be using new usernames that don't yet exist on the workstation.

tomex07, we didn't test either of the methods you listed above. I don't believe that either one would work but I can't say for sure since we didn't test them. The problem with the first method is that it doesn't say whether or not to copy the user's registry files. If you do copy them, I think it would cause problems when you try to login after the file copy. If you don't copy them you wouldn't get the user's settings copied at all. As for the second method, I can't see how it would work when disjoining one domain and joining another domain.

aoakeley, we did use the connect wizard and it does allow you to choose to use an existing user account on the machine. However, I think you have to disjoin the old domain first before using the connect wizard at which point the old domain profile would no longer be in your list of user account choices when running the connect wizard.
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Expert Comment

by:tomex07
ID: 34003446
Hello,

I understand that the method you used was not the one I provide but:
- You don't believe it would have worked but you didn't test it
- It doesn't have as many limitations as your method (need for different subnet, SP3, administrator rights for users...) and you were searching for an easy way to do it
- The steps are very well detailled
- I used it a lot of time and I can assure it works perfectly

I think I provided a valuable response to your exact problem which could help other persons at the contrary of yours.
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Author Comment

by:HKComputer
ID: 34003962
OK, I'm fine accepting your solution. I just have to issue a warning to anyone trying to use it that I'm unsure of how Windows will handle the registry files/data when using this solution.
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Expert Comment

by:tomex07
ID: 34004312
Thanks HKComputer.

The Copy User Profile process is not just a file copy. It handles the registry and ACL updates too.
See technet:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc781200(WS.10).aspx
It is said : ''You cannot use Windows Explorer or any other file management utility to copy user profiles.''
just because of the registry and ACL management.
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Author Comment

by:HKComputer
ID: 34004339
tomex07,

On your answer above this is all I see:

>5. Copy the old profile in the new profile :

I guess I incorrectly assumed that you meant "copy" as in file copy. Can you explain a little better what you really did mean? Where do you go to copy a user profile?
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Expert Comment

by:tomex07
ID: 34004441
The detailled steps are just in the next post: (The second of this page : ID: 33506432)

To copy the profile for Windows XP:
1.Open System applet in Cotrol Panel (or right-click My Computer and choose Properties). Click the Advanced tab.
2. In the User Profiles section click Settings.
3. Highlight the user profile you want to copy. Press Copy To.
4. In the Copy To dialog box enter the path to where you want to copy the profile to. You can also browse. The default location for the user's profile should be %systemdrive%\Documents and Settings\username
5. Press OK
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Author Comment

by:HKComputer
ID: 34004453
OK, I'm sorry, I saw that but I thought it was posted by a different user, and therefore unrelated. My apologies.
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Expert Comment

by:tomex07
ID: 34004563
No problem I wanted to put all the steps in one post but I hit enter before my first post was finished and therefore it is confusious!
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