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Is there a way to initialize an AD account on a computer without needing the user log in?

The main thing needed from this new process is the user directory that is created. This would allow us to directly copy the users documents to the new device before we deploy/replace the computer.

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  • I don't think there's a real concept of "initialize" in AD. Why not just create the user directory manually? May 30, 2018 at 20:47
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    @ToddWilcox I think the OP is asking about generation of the local user profile, and the local caching of the account. IE if you wanted to pre-cache a profile and authentication for a person on a loaner laptop before you ship it out to user at a site that wouldn't have direct access to the AD or something. AFAIK the answer is it isn't possible, but maybe someone else knows of a way.
    – Zoredache
    May 30, 2018 at 22:12
  • There's no "deploy user $here" function. There are ways to do automated user login, but none of them would pass a security audit (nor should they).
    – Colyn1337
    May 31, 2018 at 17:16
  • I ended up finding the USMT from Microsoft and it does EXACTLY what I needed! Thanks for the help though! Jun 1, 2018 at 12:00

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The problem i see here is that you are asking a question based off what you think is necessary to get what you want, which is that a user's documents roam with them wherever they go. A more specific question would be "How do i get a user's content to be available on any PC they log onto"

Roaming Profiles is the answer here.

When a user logs in the first time on a different PC which is joined to the domain, it will just take a little longer while it copies over that data from a centralized server on the network.

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    I'd be looking at using Roaming Profiles in combination with Folder Redirection.
    – joeqwerty
    May 31, 2018 at 1:38
  • Unfortunately, I believe Microsoft are no longer supporting roaming profiles? At any rate, they didn't work in Windows 10 v1607 when it was released (e.g., the Start Menu was completely nonfunctional) though perhaps more recent versions have corrected these problems. May 31, 2018 at 4:09
  • ... and of course there are potential disadvantages to having everybody's documents living on the file server, e.g., increased network load, reduced performance, server storage is usually more expensive, and so on. May 31, 2018 at 4:15
  • I ended up using the User State Migration Tool. But many thanks! May 31, 2018 at 16:31
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I ended up finding the tool to use in order to accomplish what I needed. So I am posting an answer for other people that might run across this.

User State Migration Tool

You can use User State Migration Tool (USMT) 10.0 to streamline and simplify user state migration during large deployments of Windows operating systems. USMT captures user accounts, user files, operating system settings, and application settings, and then migrates them to a new Windows installation. You can use USMT for both PC replacement and PC refresh migrations.

Use scanstate to save the user state to a share, then use loadstate on the replacement device.

The USMT comes with the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit


Here is the syntax for a batch script I used that is run from a fixlet in our systems-management software:

{SHARE} and {DOMAIN} are replaced with our information ;)

This will create a folder on the share for the respective hostname where the USMT puts the migration data.

\\{SHARE}\Share\USMT\x64\scanstate.exe \\{SHARE}\Share\Migrate\%ComputerName% /ue:*\* /ui:{DOMAIN}\* /i:\\{SHARE}\Share\USMT\x64\MigUser.xml /o

On the replacement device I run the following batch script:

It prompts for the hostname of the original device.

@ECHO OFF
CLS
SETLOCAL enabledelayedexpansion
SET /P varHostName=What is the name of the original PC?: 
\\{SHARE}\Share\USMT\x64\loadstate.exe \\{SHARE}\Share\Migrate\!varHostName! /i:\\{SHARE}\Share\USMT\x64\MigUser.xml
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Theoretically, yes.

I don't know if there is an existing Microsoft or third-party utility using that API. You could write one in-house if you have any coders on deck, it would be almost trivial.

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