Migrating a Windows XP user profile to a new domain without FAST

This technique can be useful when you need to migrate users to a new network domain,  and want to retain all the users profile data for use in the new domain.   Using this simple registry modification saves the time required for a tool like the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard (FAST),  but unlike FAST cannot be used to move a users profile from one PC to another.

1 ) Log in to the PC as the user who’s profile you intend to migrate.  Lets call the account TESTUSER.

2 ) Check the users profile path typically located in C:Documents and SettingsTESTUSER and make note of the exact directory path.

3 ) Login as a user with administrative rights and join the new domain. Reboot the PC.

4 ) Log in after rebooting with the users (TESTUSER) new domain account to create a new profile, the log out.

5 ) Log in with a domain admin account.

6 ) Give the TESTUSER@newdomain account full NTFS permissions to the old account profile path you noted earlier.  It’s best to Apply the changes before pressing Okay,  as I’ve found that they don’t stick when you simply press Okay after adding the permissions.

7 ) Open Regedit and navigate to HKLMsoftwaremicrosoftwindows ntcurrent versionprofile list

8 ) You will see a list of all the profiles on the machine.  Be aware that these profile folders are named according to the user security IDs (SIDs) and not according to the user names.  You should find a number of profiles including the old user profile (TESTUSER) and the new domain user profile (TESTUSER.domain). The easiest way to determine which profile belongs to which user is to compare the ProfileImagePath key data to see which account is referenced in the path.

9 ) Edit the domain user profile (TESTUSER.domain) ProfileImagePath key to point to the old user profile path.  For example:  “C:documents and settingsTESTUSER.domain”  <changes to> “C:documents and settingsTESTUSER”

10 ) Once complete, login using the domain account and test it out. The desktop should change, the My Documents should contain all their documents, etc.  Make sure to check Outlook to confirm the email profile was migrated correctly,  I’ve seen a few instances where this did not happen and Outlook required reconfiguration.