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Local profiles are suddenly changing

Our company has recently migrated from an NT 4.0 domain to a Windows 2003 domain. An external company was brought in to perform the migration. This was approximately two weeks ago. Now, we are having issues with local profiles suddenly changing. Of course we can go into each machine and copy the profile info over, but that doesn't copy the registry info. This is slowly hitting every machine including our servers. Is there anything we can do to copy all info over to the new profile?

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This sounds a bit odd. I could see this happening if you built a pristine environment and then migrated users over to the new domain. But, if this were the case the problem should have occurred immediately. What happens is the user account in the old domain is really not the user account in the new domain – despite the names being the same. SIDs (Security Identifiers) is how a Windows operating system really identifies the user, the user profile is selected based on the SID not the username. So a user in the new Windows 2003 domain will have a different SID. This of course is dependent as well on the way that the migration was done. If you used a tool like ADMT.exe then the old SIDS would fall into a SID history on the new domain. AS the SID History is wiped out (if you are taking this step), the access to the user profile may change.

When you copy a user profile, everything should go with it – including the registry. However, if after you copy the profile the permissions are not reset on the profile directory this could create a problem. Check the permissions and make sure that the user has access to the profile.

This was first published in August 2004

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