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Migrate windows users profiles from a workgroup to a domain
I had to create an active directory domain for a company which is already in business for years with about 200 Desktop / Laptop computers. All of them were standalone computers and even no specific workgroup. We had to implement special services which require a domain to have a repository for account and be able to manage user settings. It seemed easy at the beginning as there was no special considerations such as migrating or upgrading or moving from old domain.
A standard practice for situations like this when you need to join these computers to the new constructed domain, you will simply join the machine to the domain then you wiil need to login to the domain with the new user account to create the new profile, then you will have to manually move all files from My Documents, Desktop, Email settings, PST files , and so on. This is a very time consuming task and will make IT support staff hate the idea of having a domain, especially that they lived for years without knowing what domain is.
I had to find a solution to do that in a simple way, as I thought if the files are stored on the hard disk, and the profile specific configuration is stored in the registry, then by making a change in the registry then the mission will be acomplished.
I started to search for topics on this issue, and found a lot of discussions on the internet by several IT proffisionals facing the same issues, and explaining how to make registry change, login/logoff/login/logoff then copy move,……. It seems very difficult and risky, as we can not afford to loose (or forget to move a file) from users profiles. And if we wanted to be wise, we should do it in the classical way. Till I found a post in a forum from a user simply advice the users to use a a tool designed for that.
I decided to to give it a try, and it was amzing to see how it did it in miniutes without errors.
The tool is “User Profile Wizard – profwiz.exe” and you can download it from http://www.forensit.com and the great thing that it is FREE.
If you download its manual, you will find that it has a lot of options and a configuration that can be saved and used later and many things. And honestly if you read it and try all the feature you will waste alot of time, while it simply can do the tasks in minutes. You can simply do the following.
Copy the tool to the computer you want to join the domain, Double Click it, the window of user account infomation will ask you about the domain you want to join and the Domain User Name. For eaxmple, if the computer has local user profile “User” and the Domain name is “CompanyDomain” and the created Domain username is “DomainUser”, then you will enter “CompanyDomain” in the field “Enter the Domain”. And enter the DomainUser in the field “Enter The Account name” – Check the box of “Join Domain” to let Profile Wizard join the computer to the domain in addition of creating the new profile.
Click Next to open the “Select User Profile Window”. In this window you will choose the local user profile that you want to migrate to the domain. The window will list all local profiles, you can select only one at a time (if you have more then one profile you can run Profwiz.exe again without checking the box of join domain and select another local profile to migrate). Then Click Next.
The next window will ask you for the Domain User account, which is the account with permission to join the domain, it could be a domain administrator account or an IT user with privilge to joint the computer to the domain.
Normally the above procedure will not take more than few minutes depending on the size of the local profile files, and when finished you will need to restart the computer and then the user can login to the domain with all his old profile setting.