The users on some of our servers used to have user directories named the following:


Since the infrastructure admin did something to "refresh" the user accounts, a bunch of new directories got created named:


... where [domain] is the domain you login to windows with, like MYDOMAIN\username. What would cause Windows to change to these new directory names? It has obviously meant that the user data has gotten reset, though the old directories are still there. Is there a way we can restore the old ones?

1 Answer 1


When Windows tries to create user profile folder (matching username) and the folder already exists, but belongs to another user (with different SID) the system tries to append the domain name. If the username.domain folder exists too, then the system tries to append a three digit counter like username.domain.000.

Since the infrastructure admin did something to "refresh" the user accounts

I assume that the user accounts have been deleted and re-created. At the same time they had to get a new SID (back to the old SID in AD is not possible, except that the recovery from the Recycle Bin if it was enabled, or through an authoritative restore) and most of the access rights to the old directories.

You can easily test this: Open the Security tab in the properties of one of the old user folders - if the SID is displayed instead of the name of the user who was folder owner, then my guess is correct.

  • What's the best way for me to restore the data in the old directories? I'm not the AD admin but do have access to the Administrator account on the machine.
    – Jez
    Jan 10, 2017 at 16:35
  • @Jez, The solution is not trivial, and depends on the version of your operating system. As a starting point you can use the answer to this question The easiest way - just move user documents to their new profile folder, but this option will not survive all the user settings.
    – Slipeer
    Jan 10, 2017 at 16:56

This site is temporarily in read-only mode and not accepting new answers.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .