Keep local profiles when joining an AD domain

When you have a highly customized Win2k local profile there is indeed a way to preserve it after joining a domain.

This tip was submitted to the SearchWin2000.com Tip Exchange by member Kevin Crandall. Let other users know how useful it is by rating the tip below.


When you have a highly customized Win2k local profile (colors, fonts, printers, persistent mapped drives, active desktop, etc.) and you want to preserve it after joining a domain there are two distinctly different methods, each quite viable.

Method 1 migrates your beloved local profile into the location of your virgin domain profile:

After logging into your new pristine domain profile, which is the standard teal/grey scheme with none of your goodies, logout immediately.

Log in again to your local account, not the domain account. Your beloved profile should load as usual. Go to: 'Start >> Settings >> Control Panel >> System' and then select the 'User Profiles' tab.

Browse or enter: %systemdrive%\Documents and Settings\domain profile folder. [domain name]

Usually this domain profile folder is suffixed by a period and the domain name -- for example: 'kjc.JAX'

Click 'OK' and select 'Permitted to Use'.

Enter or select your Active Directory account: domain/username, and not the account local to your machine.

Click 'OK'.

This could take a while depending on the size of your profile.

Reinstall or repair Office 2000 to fix the icons which are damaged in this process, or recreate the Office shorcuts from scratch. This is the only downside to this migration process.

When complete, logout and login to your domain account. Your beloved profile should be back with a vengance.

Note: Mozilla and Netscape 6/7 profiles will still point to your old local Win2k profile directory. This is actually a decent behavior if you ever waffle between profiles. Do not try to copy the Mozilla/Netscape folders to your new domain profile; they will not migrate well.

Method 2 points your new domain SID to look to the location of your old beloved local profile.

Obtain the SID of your new domain account by using the Win2k Resource Kit utility 'getsid'. i.e.:

c:\getsid \localhost [username] \domaincontroller [username]

Using regedit, drill down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList and find the SID of your domain account. Change the ProfileImagePath to point to your beloved local profile.

Instead of %SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\kjc.JAX change HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\ProfileImagePath to the location of your old beloved local profile, in my case:

%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\kjc

When you next login to your domain account, your beloved profile will be loaded.

This was first published in January 2003
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