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I have a few users in a very old workgroup that log directly into their local machines (Windows XP Pro). This week they're finally moving to active directory and will need to log into domain accounts instead. However, some of these users have been around a long time and are somewhat invested in the profiles they have on the local machines.

How can I move those profiles to the new Active Directory accounts, so that things like desktop backgrounds, browser bookmarks, and other potentially "hidden" settings will follow them? In one case we even have a Windows Media Player playlist we'd like to move seamlessly, though that can be easily re-created if need be.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

There are several potential ways to do this. Probably the simplest is to do some variation of the following:

  1. Join the domain
  2. Log in as the new domain user, and log out
  3. Log back in as an account with admin rights on the box (but not either the old or new user accounts)
  4. Go to control panel, system, advanced
  5. in User Profiles, click the Settings button
  6. Select the local user's profile, click on Copy To, and browse to the new domain user's c:\documents and settings\username folder.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Click the Change button in Permitted to use Select the domain\username account you just copied
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Step 6, should that be, "Select the LOCAL user's profile, [...]" ? Or am I missing the point? –  Chris_K Jul 14 '09 at 15:45
Chris, you're right-- step 6 should say "local user's profile". I edited it-- thanks for the catch! –  Paul Robichaux Jul 14 '09 at 18:30
The only downside I can see so far is that it requires the users log into their new accounts once first, but I think I can handle that. I won't get to try it until tomorrow, though. –  Joel Coel Jul 14 '09 at 21:47
Arg, I miss my edit privileges here! Need. More. Rep. :( Anyway: this worked well enough but I'd really like to clarify some wording of the last three steps. –  Joel Coel Jul 15 '09 at 14:43
One final follow-up note. This isn't fool-proof. For example, one user had Google Chrome installed, and for some reason her bookmarks were lost in the copy. So making a backup of the entire profile before starting, including hidden folders, is still a good idea. –  Joel Coel Sep 15 '09 at 14:38

You can try transferring the settings with the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard (Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools).

This should export/import most user settings.

Make sure that the machines where you do the export/import have the same OS version / patch level.

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