I just rolled out a new domain controller. I want to join all the PCS to this new domein (the PCs were never on a domain just a regular workgroup). When I join a PC to the new domain it creates a new profile. How can I migrate (or whats an easy way) the local profile to this new domain profile?

Can I keep all settings, desktop layout, outlook 2003 settings etc while doing this?

  1. Log on using the domain username (this is so that the local copy of the domain profile has been created)
  2. Log off
  3. Log on with a different profile (a local administrator account works well)
  4. Rename the newly created profile from \Documents and Settings\ (XP), or \Users\ (Vista/7) to something else (keep a note of what it was though, you'll need it in a minute)
  5. Rename the old local profile to the name that the domain one had
  6. Log off
  7. Profit!

Another alternative way is to do steps 1->4, but use a mklink to link the Domain and the Local profile folders to eachother so that if you ever remove the machine from the domain the local profile is still up to date.

If you're using roaming profiles, your milage may vary.

  • I'll give this a shot. I am staying away from roaming profile...had bad experiences with it. – Saif Khan May 21 '10 at 4:39
  • I have folder re-direction setup on My Documents folder for the new domain. Should I turn this off during this process and after the profiles are corrected then enable this? – Saif Khan May 21 '10 at 4:42
  • If you're using folder redirection, then you will need to copy the My Documents and My Pictures, etc, to the location on the network manually. You will still need to do the other steps though to get the rest of the settings. – Mark Henderson May 21 '10 at 4:46
  • If you simply copy and then turn folder redirection back on, then their documents will automagically dissapear. – Mark Henderson May 21 '10 at 4:46
  • Don't you have to reset the permissions? And Arn't SID's embedded in the USER.DAT folder? or does the inheritable permissions on the user folder take care of all that? – Jason May 21 '10 at 12:06

I hate to disagree with Farseeker on this one but the proper method (which will account for permissiones, etc) is to follow Farseeker's steps 1, 2, and 3 but in step 4 you're going to want to access the User Profiles through the system properties, select the old profile (listed as the old username) and click the Copy To button, then browse to the new domain profile folder and select it, then click the Change permissions button, and add the domain user (or alternately the Everyone group) to the permissions. When you log back on as the domain user the profile should be an exact duplicate of the old profile.


You might want to do what Microsoft says and try MoveUser.exe (XP) or the Win32_Userpofile WMI class (so script or batch solution in Windows 7). They have a KB article about it and everything.

Disclaimer: I have not tried this myself. I know the ghetto way from Farseeker works, but MSFT made this for a reason.


going off of Evan Anderson comment on my similar question and alharaka answer in this thread, I went looking for a way to use Win32_Userprofile to migrate local user to domain user.

I found a Visual Basic script at Vista’s MoveUser.exe replacement

When ran from a third account with both local admin and domain admin rights, and before logging in with the new domain user account, the script worked great.

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