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Is there a way to add a stand-alone laptop to an AD domain such that all the settings (program files, registry entries, data files etc) of the existing account and carried over to the new account? The goal is that the end users should see an identical system when they login with the new AD account, even if the login name is different.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

This should work:

  1. Join the machine to the domain (and allow it to reboot obviously)
  2. Log into machine with the new AD user account
  3. Reboot
  4. Log into the machine with a Domain Admin account
  5. Advanced System Properties, Profiles
  6. Select the old local user account, Copy To
  7. Browse to the AD user folder
  8. Permitted to Use, select the AD user account

It goes without saying that you should test this first before moving to production.

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This is how I've always done it. – Ward Dec 11 '09 at 7:05
Any registry entries that programs make that refer to the absolute "C:\Documents and Settings\old-local-username-profile-path" are going to be wrong, though. Be ready for problems related to that. – Evan Anderson Dec 11 '09 at 12:52

the User State Migration Tool does a good job at this. It's aimed at migrating local profiles between desktops & versions, but still works well between profiles locally.

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