My computer with Windows XP (SP3) was member in a (Windows-NT) domain and has been moved into a Windows workgroup. A lot of settings are lost now: desktop configuration and design, windows explorer configuration, browser favorites, authentication cookies, Outlook configuration (email accounts, emails themselves, etc.), and so on.

I can see that in "c:\documents and settings" is a folder named "MyUserName.DomainName" that apparently represents my old profile when I was part of the domain. Also there is a new folder named "MyUserName" which is my new profile as a workgroup member now.

I was hoping I could restore the old user profile via the system control panel. But in the user profiles dialog the list of profiles stored locally on my computer does not show my domain profile (although it is stored locally as well).

Is there a way to restore my old profile somehow? Does a brute force copy of the content of my domain profile folder "MyUserName.DomainName" and overwriting the content of my workgroup folder "MyUserName" have chances of success? Or maybe even simply renaming the folders?

Thanks for help!


Renaming the folder wouldn't be the best choice, as it contains registry settings that are specific to your domain user. Plus permissions would have to be changed, although that's not a huge deal if you're a local admin.

Trying to change it over would result in quirks and weirdness, in my experience, and in the long run it will be a pain.

What you can do that works a little better is copy over specific items that you want. Export your Outlook mail to a file and import it to your new setup, or if it's IMAP, you don't need to do anything but reconnect to your mail server. Copy files from the documents folder over to the new profile. Basically copy files between the two.

Some settings will still need to be rebuilt, like your desktop preferences.

  • Sorry for late reply, I had some trouble to come back (meta.serverfault.com/questions/3525/…). I followed your procedure and it worked for email, desktop settings, browser favorites, etc. Some problems with applications still (especially SQL Server), but I'm already running through other stackexchange sites to find solutions for this. Thanks for your help! – Tom Aug 4 '12 at 18:09

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