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I have seen plenty of questions about doing it the other way around, but my problem is this:

I have an Active Directory account that can't log in anymore, because the DC is down (and not going back up soon, and not with the old accounts, which got corrupted).

There are user settings that I want to scavenge on the hard drive. User settings like Outlook configuration, installed programs, and so on and so forth. What should I do to achieve a "working copy" of the old account? Do I have to go and have fun with the registry?

The system I'm working on is Windows XP,I'm logging in locally through an administrative account, and have no possibility of scavenging data from the server, I have to play locally.

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I'm also wondering whether I should already have left or not. I think I should. But it wouldn't be very nice to leave them in the crisis they are in now. – MrZombie Aug 20 '09 at 13:53
To be honest, it sounds like you're in over your head. You should be concentrating all your efforts in trying to salvage the DC/AD. You can't just yank a domain out of the picture and somehow expect to automagically make everything work like it used to. Time for you/them to call someone in who can salvage the situation. – Izzy Aug 20 '09 at 14:57
I salvaged all that I could, but trust me, most of the stuff inside there was rotten to the core. And hey, after all, my deadline is only "tomorrow". So. Quitting. – MrZombie Aug 20 '09 at 15:00
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Quick-and-dirty solution:

  • create a local user, let's call it "NewUser"
  • log in as NewUser (so that a new default profile is created)
  • reboot (needed to "unlock" profile files, logging off is not enough)
  • log in as Administrator
  • make NewUser member of the Administrators group
  • make sure you can see system and hidden files in Windows Explorer
  • copy everything from C:\Documents and Settings\DamagedProfile to C:\Documents and Settings\NewUser
  • log in as NewUser
  • enjoy

The key here is making NewUser a local administrator, so you're not going to run into any permission issue. If you want to "do things right", you should set appropriate permissions on both the profile files and the lost user's own Registry (which is stored in the profile's NTUSER.DAT and needs to be opened by loading it into REGEDIT and re-ACLed appropriately).

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That last part, please, a little more about the lost user's registry? I did it somewhat like that, but I copied all the files through local administration, and set the permissions on the file so that the new user is "the owner"... Any way to recover the software configuration that way? There was Autocad installed, and Autocad is now dead, along with outlook and a couple other useful software formerly installed on the old user. – MrZombie Aug 20 '09 at 16:47

Have you tried system Properties | Advanced | User Profiles | Copy To?

I can't promise it will be seamless, but you should be able to get something out of it. I would first try it with an account that I didn't mind if things went screwy on.

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Oh, believe me, things already have gone screwy. – MrZombie Aug 20 '09 at 15:47

User Profile Wizard from ForensiT:

Works great (either direction) and is free. Simply few step process, done.

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