Moving Windows 7 Profile to new Installation from an external drive

Posted on 2012-08-23
Last Modified: 2012-09-26
I have a windows 7 pro system which crashed because of a Microsoft update. The repair utility shows no problems...

I purchased a new hard drive and have installed Windows 7 pro. I want to take my profile off of the non-bootable hard drive and copy it to the new installation. I will attach the old hard drive via usb.

Is there a program that will automatically do this? If not, is the ProgramData and the user's folder in the users directory all I need to copy over?

Question by:Randy_Haley
    LVL 89

    Accepted Solution

    I would be inclined to copy the things from your old profile into your new profile. I do not think you can just replace the new profile with the old one (the internal userid's are different amongst other things).

    Program Data is often made from installed programs. I don't keep any user data or information (other than some configs) in there.

    So keep your old profile and Program Data on the hard drive and extract what you need. That is likely to work better over the long haul. .... Thinkpads_User
    LVL 28

    Assisted Solution

    I definitely agree with Thinkpads...  you can't really copy an entire profile from one location to another gracefully.  When I am helping a person recover their pertinent data files under similar circumstances, I typically copy the contents within the following folders to their counterparts that have the same name on the target computer:

    Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Favorites, Music, Pictures, Videos.
    LVL 69

    Assisted Solution

    ug you posted before me Run5k, lol.
    That is correct you need to have several accounts and be outside of the default
    ( administrative)  account you wish to transfer the profile settings to.
    This stored as User .dat
    Extract from Microsoft using the Fix a corrupted Profile includes
    To copy files to the new user profile
    After you create the profile, you can copy the files from the existing profile.
    You must have at least three user accounts on the computer to complete these steps, including the new account you just created.

    Log on as a user other than the new user you just created or the user that you want to copy files from.

    Open the My Documents folder by clicking the Start button , and then clicking Computer. Double-click the hard disk drive that Windows is installed on (it's usually your C: drive), double-click Users, double-click the folder with the name of your account, and then double-click My Documents.

    Show hidden files, folders, and drives is enabled.
    Clear the Hide protected operating system files check box, click Yes to confirm, and then click OK.
    Locate the C:\Users\Old_Username folder, where C is the drive that Windows is installed on, and Old_Username is the name of the profile you want to copy files from.

    Select all of the files and folders in this folder, except the following files:
    Click the Edit menu, and then click Copy.

    If you don't see the Edit menu, press Alt.
    Locate the C:\Users\New_Username folder, where C is the drive that Windows is installed on, and New_Username is the name of the new user profile you created.
    Click the Edit menu, and then click Paste.

    If you don't see the Edit menu, press Alt.
    Log off, and then log back on as the new user.

    If you have e-mail messages in an e-mail program, you must import your e-mail messages and addresses to the new user profile before you delete the old profile. If everything is working properly, you can delete the old profile.

    Migration Utilities
     To perform user profile migration we can use two utilities which will automate the entire process for us. The available tools are Windows Easy Transfer (WET) and User State Migration Tool (USMT). Both tools can be used to, for example, to migrate user profile data from Windows XP and Vista to Windows 7, or even from an existing Windows 7 installation to a new Windows 7 installation.
     Hope it assists

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