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Keeping Windows profile intact when joining/unjoining a domain

Posted on 2010-09-22
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Is there a way NOT to create a new Windows profile when first joining a domain - but make a local profile work? Same with unjoining - a way to switch back to a workgroup - converting a profile that was created in joining a domain to a local workgroup profile? Trying to keep profiles without having to recreate and copy data and setup applications.
Thanks very much for the help.
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Question by:alpenit
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by:Nezteek
Nezteek earned 167 total points
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The quick way is to use a profile migration tool such as ForensiT.  http://www.forensit.com/downloads.html Otherwise you can do the same thing in the registry for user profiles.
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by:psychogr
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For windows xp join the computer to the domain so the domain profile will be created.
Go to the local profile folder, select everything except Ntuser.* files.
Copy everything to the domain profile folder and you are set to go..
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by:piji
piji earned 166 total points
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if you remove workstation from the domain if you log in with the same user name then they get the same profile. if you forgot the password or user details just type control userpasswords2 you can see all the username and also you can reset the password.

When join to domain and rejoin back to the same server likely again you should get the same profile but if it is different domain or you change some workstations settings like as computer name, then users can't get the same profile.

For pointing a profile to any user you can do change is registry to give users the same profile which they got before joining to new server domain or the same domain. Frankly, I am not really suggest this option because later on could cause unstable profile for user. But if you have to do it, here is the solution.

if the username is John and his old profile directory in c:\document and settings is John, when you login with John in new domain name for the first time the windows created the folder like as John.wks1 which wks1 is the name of computer, with brand new profile.

Then you restart the machine and login with administrator or any other user with administrator rights. Don't forget you need to restart not logout.

Once you login with administrator you go to registry and look for this path:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList]

In here you will see all the profile record with very long name. Each user with the same domain comes with the same long number. Then looking for "Profileimagepath" with value John.wks1 and put any profile that you want John to point to it like as his old profile name which was "John". Finally you restart the machine and login with John and will see his old profile in new domain.

Hope doesn't confuse you.
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joesinc earned 167 total points
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This method always works for me but it is quite labour intensive:
1) Make a note of the currently active profile folder, eg:
C:\Documents and Settings\DaveSmith
1) Join PC to Domain, reboot as instructed
2) Login to Domain as the intended user on the PC, DaveS
3) restart PC (important to RESTART not just log out)
4) login to PC as LOCAL Administrator, not domain Administrator)
5) Locate the new, blank profile folder that has been created, eg:
C:\Documents and Settings\DaveS
Rename this new, blank profile folder to: DaveS_OLD
Rename the old, good DaveSmith folder to DaveS
6) When you RESTART the PC again the computer will be fooled into thinking the content of DaveS is the Domain profile and will even preserve the icon locations and other customisations the user implemented. Sometimes the background Wallpaper image gets lost in the process. Rarely, the user will have setup hard coded references to their old profile location (maybe Batch files, or desktop shortcut link files etc.). We've re-named the folder so they would get broken. I can't think of a simple way to avoid this situation. But I've done this hundreds of times and it isn't often an issue.
If you do all that and it goes wrong (when you login again you get issued a new, blank profile with a folder name along the lines of DaveS.Domainname, or DaveS.old), then you didn't do it right. Srsly, if you follow those steps, to the letter, then it works every time.
This procedure is pretty much exactly the same as Psyhcogr described above, but you get to keep your NTUSER.* files which iirc are useful registry content.
Joe
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Author Closing Comment

by:alpenit
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psychogr - thanks, this is what I usually do anyway. Trying to save time in the copy process here. Nezteek - thanks this answers one of my 2 needs. Piji and Joesinc - I know how profiles are sensitive and I probably would go with joesinc if I were to go that route. Thanks
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