I have several computers at my office that I want to put on our domain. These computers currently are used by employees with local computer accounts and they have information stored under these accounts. When I join their computer to the domain how would or could I keep their current computer accounts and add them to the Active Directory so they could log in as usual access the network resources?

Is this possible or do I need to just start from scratch on all this with their accounts and locally stored files? We are using Windows 2008 R2 and all systems being added have the Windows 7 pro or higher. All I want to really do is add the systems to the domain and have their accounts in the Active Directory so they can log in, access files which are already on their computer, and use network reosoures.

If I can add their computer and then add same username and password to Active Directory to get this all to work that would be fine. I am just looking for minimal impact on the user really to get this done.


There are 2 ways to do this depending on how comfortable you are.

1) User Windows Easy Transfer under Programs -> System Tools.

This method is very easy,

Login as Local user and use the Easy Transfer program to create an Easy Transfer File

Put the machine on the domain.

Login as Domain user and run the Easy Transfer program to unpack the file

The problem with this method is it involves a copy and depending on how much data they have that can take a while. So what's the fastest way to do it?

2) Move the files from the local user profile to the domain user profile.

Using a move operation in Windows 7 as opposed to a copy is much faster if you are moving between locations on the same hard disk.

The first time you log in with a user a profile is created for them under C:\Users The profile for each user is simply a folder in this directory with their username. If you are using the same user names the new folder will be called "username"."yourdomain". So all you have to do is move all the important files from the old profile to the new profile. Now technically you could just do a select all and move literally all the files from one profile to the other, but I would not suggest it as there are system files that can make things a bit wonky if they don't move correctly.

Most of the good stuff will be in the folders Documents, Favorites (assuming you run IE), Pictures, Video, Music and AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook (Appdata is hidden by default) if you have outlook with .PSTs

  • 1
    The correct way to copy one profile to another is via the System Properties, Advanced Settings, User Profiles. If you're only interested in specific pieces of data (such as documents, photos, pst file, etc) then you can "pick" your way through the profile as you've suggested. – joeqwerty Jan 17 '12 at 11:47

I'll give 2 more options:

  • You can tweak their domain profile's profilePath reg key at

    HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Login\ProfileList\

That might not scale well. So, if you have a list of old user names and domain user names, you can simply

  • Use the USMT transfer utility to transfer user profiles. Typically I've only used this on PC Refreshes, but there's no reason the destination profile can't be to the same machine. This is similar to the built in Windows utility for profile transfers, but geared toward enterprises and highly scriptable.

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