Easy Windows Profile Migration

Tonight I was at a client site working on an Server 2003 / Exchange 2007 Deployment for a client which required us to disjoin computers from the old domain and add them to the new domain. Well, the trick to a successful deployment of any product is ease of use, for the IT guy’s and the end user. The end user is ultimately affected by what we do so we try to minimize the changes that are actually made to their experience. For the IT guy’s, how can me make this easy, simple, and yet functional. When it comes to profile migration, there are a few tools out there that will do it for you, some cost money, some don’t. For me, those are too complicated to learn and master. Secondly we have the profile copy utilities like xcopy and robocopy which I honestly still use quite often, they work and work well in my opinion, however, the third option is the best and easiest to do. A simple registry hack to change the GUID that you are logged on with as the user, to point to a different profile path. Here are the steps to execute such a plan.

  • Change the local administrator password
  • Disjoin the system from the old domain
  • Use the set command to determine what profile path the user is currently using
  • Reboot the system
  • Login as the local administrator
  • Join the system to the new domain
  • Reboot the system
  • Login as the user on the new domain
  • Logoff and logon as the domain administrator
  • Open regedit and modify ProfileImagePath within “[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionProfileList]”
  • Change the permissions on that profile path within explorer, give the user full control and propagate to the child directories and file.
  • Reboot (Last Time)
  • Login with the user on the domain and you should have the “old” working profile with the new domain user account.

This process took two fairly skilled individuals about 5 hours to complete on 18 systems and that included doing the first “test” machine and troubleshooting any problems that might have come up (missing mapped network drives, incorrect shortcut paths, etc.). Hope this helps you along the way as it did me when I learned it. If you have any suggestions, options, better methods, please let me know. I’m all ears.

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