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Is there a way I can get a Windows XP computer that is a domain client to create certain user profiles without having to get the user to log in?

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migrated from Feb 16 '10 at 17:52

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You want the user's profile prestaged on the workstation that they're going to log in to? Why? – mfinni Feb 16 '10 at 18:33
Yes, so I can migrate their data... just their Desktop primarily. – churnd Feb 16 '10 at 18:43
Question. From your reply here and your replies to other answers, would it be correct to say that your users currently have local profiles with local accounts and you're migrating them to a server environment? – Le Comte du Merde-fou Feb 16 '10 at 19:17
The profiles are local and will stay local. I'm trying to create their profile on the new domain client without them logging in. – churnd Feb 16 '10 at 19:43
@churnd - I'm not sure I understand you. What is the exact scenario you've got, and what problem are you solving? Where are you trying to migrate their data from? You have an XP machine in front of you that does not currently have a local profile for domain user X. The first time that user logs in, their local profile will be created. If you're using Roaming Profiles, it will get that and there's no need to migrate data. If you're not, it will be based on the Default User on that workstation - do you need their data migrated from their old PC? – mfinni Feb 16 '10 at 19:45
up vote 2 down vote accepted

USMT will do this for you, but it can take a lot of trial and error to get exactly what you need.

When picking up a profile, you would run ScanState with the /ui:domain\username switch. I believe that stands for User Include. I think that picks up only that user, so you could do this as an admin on their desktop without being logged in as that user.

If all you want is that user's account/folder you may also have to look at using a Config.xml file to include or exclude various file, folders and settings. This page on Technet contains a sample XML file that can be modified.

I can't remember exactly, but you can run:

ScanState \\fileserver\mystore /ui:domain\username /genconfig:MyConfig.xml

and this will generate a configuration file for you. You can then view this file to see if what you need is going to be copied etc. Modify this file so that only the required settings and files will be moved and then use this file as an argument to ScanState:

ScanState \\fileserver\mystore /ui:domain\username /i:MyConfig.xml

In an ideal world, all that is left is to run LoadState on the new PC. Because you will only have backed up what you need, the Load should not need any fancy switches:

LoadState \\fileserver\mystore

should be enough. That should create the user's profile on the new PC and when they next log in they should see their files on the desktop and so on.

In my experience though, I spent days trying to configure all sorts of fancy settings to migrate over to their new desktop half of which I could never get to work properly. And then it took an hour to backup a profile, 10 minutes to move onto a fileshare and another hour to load the new profile. And then it would fail somewhere for no reason.

In the end, we only had 100 PCs to replace over the course of 2 months so we just reset the users passwords and logged in as them to set up pristine new profiles.

Technet has massive amounts of info on this:

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As you said it is a domain client, I am supposing that it is part of Active directory domain. This is quite possible programatically. You can connect to you ldap server and can do a lot of operations like creating users, changing passwords etc.

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I am not the domain admin. Need to be able to do this from the client. – churnd Feb 16 '10 at 18:44

I'm going to assume that, in this case, you aren't doing centrally managed profiles, in other words, every user has their own local home directory on every machine they log into?

In that case, maybe it would save you some time to create a "skeleton" directory that you can insert for that user? A while back, I learned how to setup the default profile for my users (, so maybe the instructions in there could be modified for what you want?

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The purpose is to migrate a whatever data a user has. This will be different for each user. I don't need to migrate the entire profile... just their primary data folders like Desktop and My Documents. – churnd Feb 16 '10 at 18:45

I've never heard of this being possible. If you figure it out, I'd love to hear about it.

By far the easiest way to accomplish what you are trying to do, is to have an administrator reset the user's domain password. Then log on to the new desktop with that password, which creates the account. Then log off, reset the password again, and make sure somebody informs the user before they try to log in.

When a new profile is being created on a computer for a domain user, there's a lot that happens inside the registry as well as on the filesystem. Be mindful of that -- it's not sufficient to simply copy the user profile.

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The closest I can come up with is the User State Migration Tool, and just have different configs where the tool migrates the entire profile if that's what you want, or just data folders such as Desktop, My Documents, Favorites, etc. – churnd Mar 22 '10 at 10:26
Yes, USMT will work great if you want to clone an existing profile. But I don't think it can be used to set up a new clean profile. – Nic Mar 22 '10 at 18:32

There is always option to tweak "Default User" profile for that purpose. If you copy stuff from desktop/ my documents to default user\desktop and default user\my documents it will be copied over when person will login for the first time. After that you have to however make sure to delete those files, otherwise each person login to that machine for the first time will get it. We used this technique for few years now while migrating users from pc to pc (in fact we copy whole profile, so that user feels like he haven't moved at all).

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