from workgroup to domain

all of out teachers and staff are on in a workgroup at our school. i would like to put them all on the domain. what is the easiest way to do this? will they lose anyting? will i have to change anything? will they lose their apps? will i have to reactivate anything. they all currently run microsoft office and microsoft outlook.

thank you
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Patrick BogersDatacenter platform engineer LindowsCommented:

You have to install a domain controller and configure the domain.
That all pc's have to be domain joined, this Will give everyone a new empty profile so all shortcuts, desktops etc Will be cleared but not deleted.
You can copy the old profile to the new.

You Will not loose any applications as apps like office are installed for all users.

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
ANYTHING is a VERY broad statement.  VERY Broad.  MOST things won't care.  Somethings might.  Unless you can list EVERYTHING you and the teachers use *AND* we're familiar with everything they use, we probably cannot answer this definitively.  MOST people START with a domain so converting COULD cause issues with some applications.  Office SHOULD be fine.  But you may well have to reconfigure outlook everywhere.

You can try to use the User Profile Wizard from to migrate the profiles.  It USUALLY works well.  But it's not perfect.

If you're doing this for a school, I'd suggest going one classroom at a time.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
I agree wholeheartedly with Lee and generally with Patrick above.

It's fairly easy to copy some things from an old profile to a new one, such as documents, desktop, browser profiles, etc.  The trouble is that you don't necessarily know how configuration settings are kept for every program that is being used.  Even if you did, there's always some odd chance that the profile information is somehow tied to the file path in which it is located (programmers have done stranger things!).  The file path will change when you move to a domain.

For example, if your domain is ABC and you have a user named User, the path of interest starts with C:\users\user initially.  When you join the domain and log in as the domain user User, the new path of interest is created as C:\users\  If the user "User" never existed locally, then the ".abc" won't be appended.
Ensure Business Longevity with As-A-Service

Using the as-a-service approach for your business model allows you to grow your revenue stream with new practice areas, without forcing you to part ways with existing clients just because they don’t fit the mold of your new service offerings.

stevekee65Author Commented:
What do you mean by copy the profile? Would coping the invisible data file work?
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Did you not read my comment?  If you don't understand the technology, I would STRONGLY recommend partnering with someone who does.  We can help to an extent, but when you're talking about "invisible" files, it's clear this is not your area of expertise.  If you want it to become an area you know well, I very much support that endeavor - setup a test network and start playing around and learning the stuff - ask questions on the test network... but with a question like this and mistaken terminology, I think you would be much better off and SAFER if you worked with someone who knew this well to do it to your production network.
stevekee65Author Commented:
what i meant to say was the appdata folder in the user folder.
they will only have a folder on the server so that they can copy what they want backed up on the server. i dont plan on doing any foder-redirect or roaming profiles. in my experience those make the login and computers take too long.
I do plan on copiing everytihing on the desktop, documents,music, pictures and favorites to thier domain profile. we use firefox so i will have to export the faves and import them into thier new domain profiles also. i also assume i will have to create thier email file for microsoft outlook. I may have to fix the path of shortcuts and reactivate office.
am i missing anything?
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Again, you should partner with someone.  Folder Redirection ensures you can backup data and DOES NOT slow down login.

You are still not reading my first comment.  I'll repeat the part in particular I know you're not seeing:

Use the User Profile Wizard from!
What you described should work as far as those specifics are concerned.

Rather than backing up and restoring favorites in Firefox, I'd copy the files found in:
c:\users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<profile name>
That should get you more than just the favorites.
There's something similar for Google Chrome, but it is in \AppData\Local.......

"am i missing anything?"

You are likely to lose address auto-fill in Outlook unless you do some extra work.  The Desktop wallpaper will be lost.  There are likely other things, but they may not be so critical.

If users only run Office and Firefox, you'll likely have reasonable results.  Are there any other applications that matter?

The good news is that if something IS missing, you can log back in as the original user to see what it was.  You'll likely have users reporting all sorts of things that were "lost" when they really didn't exist in the first place.

I would not expect that you will have to reactivate Office.
I would also encourage locating the Documents folder on the server.  This will make it far more likely that they will get backed up.  I've found it to be a poor practice to expect users to be responsible for where their "important" documents reside.

I've not used the User Profile Wizard that Lee is recommending, but I would follow his advice and look into it.  It could make your life a lot easier.  If you'll look at Lee's other posts, you'll see that his advice is usually very valuable.
stevekee65Author Commented:
i ran the profile wizard on a computer. it failed. now when i try to login i only get the login name, cant change that and when i enter password and press enter, it starts logging in then signs out. any ideas
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Screenshots would be helpful.  Including the screen shot of the failure.  Good thing you ran this on a TEST system, right?
"i only get the login name, cant change that"
Which version of Windows?
You should have the ability to change the user and domain/workgroup though it may not be obvious.
stevekee65Author Commented:
is there any other way to do this?
i can select the user and enter the password and press enter. it says welcome for about 20 seconds then signs out.
The User Profile Manager that Lee recommended it solid. I've used it a number of times. However, it is obvious that you did not listen to an important piece of advice he also provided: partner with someone who knows what they're doing. I don't know what steps you took, but I'm willing to bet that you did not do it correctly. Chances are that you'll be able to restore a lot of the settings through copying from profile to profile, but not all of them.

Will you have to reactivate any programs? Depends on how programs are laid out, but generally speaking, no.
stevekee65Author Commented:
i assume once you migrate you cannot go back and still have your local profile
Did you check any of the boxes like deleting local profile? I want to say you didn't, but want to know for sure.
stevekee65Author Commented:
i did not check any of the boxes
You should be able to select a different user, which will let you go back to the local user and see how it behaves.

Can you post a screenshot of the login screen?
Actually, from recollection, you CAN get back into the old profile. But since you'll be on a domain, someone would have to explicitly opt to log into the local profile (which you'd end up disabling anyway).
Patrick BogersDatacenter platform engineer LindowsCommented:
Answers provided
stevekee65Author Commented:
can i copy over the apdata folder, or would that cause issues. when i try it says i do not have the correct permissions.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Active Directory

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.