Migrating Local Profiles to Domain Profiles

KB ID 0001235 


Moving a machine onto a Windows domain, is a simple task, I’ve done this for a lot of clients. The main complaint (post migration,) is that something is missing. This is because your-account-name on your PC or laptop, and your-account-name in the domain are TWO DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS, (even if they have the same name). 

Microsoft have produced some tools help you, but I challenge you to start reading the USMT documentation for  more than 15 minutes without losing the will to live. 

Below is a list of things people have complained to me about losing post migration;

  • Desktop wallpaper.
  • Files & Folders from the desktop.
  • My Documents.
  • Internet Favorites.
  • My Pictures.
  • Outlook Signatures.
  • Outlook Mail Accounts.
  • Word Custom Dictionaries.
  • Work Autocomplete Settings.
  • MS Access Macro settings.

Windows Profile Lost

So I setup a test Windows 10 machine, with all of the above setup, and used two tools to migrate my local profile into my domain profile.



Test 1 ForensIT User Profile Wizard

Software is free (there are paid for versions) but I plumbed for the free one, you don’t have to install anything as it runs from an executable, (which is a bonus if you have a lot to do). Its VERY fast, and simple to use.

I’ve joined my target machine to the new domain and logged on once as the domain user and created a blank profile, then logged back on as the domain admin to carry out the following.

Launch the software > Next > Select the profile you want to copy from.

ForensIT Migrate Local Profile

Select your domain name > Enter the logon name for the ‘DOMAIN USER’ you want to copy the profile to > Next > Next.

003 -local Profile to Domain Profile

Verdict: Of the two, this ones quicker, more intuitive and free.

Test 2 USMT GUI 10

This is a graphical wrapper that sits on-top of the Microsoft USMT tools, I donated $10.00 for the cheapest version, and repeated the tests above. 

First you have to take a backup of the local profile(s).

Backup Local Profiles

I’m just choosing one (Pete) > RUN > My profile was 177Mb and it took about 5 minutes.

USMT Backup Local Profiles

Now resort the profile back to your domain profile, as you can see that’s a little more complicated, but not that difficult > RUN.

USMT Restore Local Profiles

At this point it ran thought and gave me an error, even though it did migrate the profile successfully.

Verdict: Well it does the job, it’s probably a lot more versatile than the first tool, but nowhere near as intuitive, and it costs $10. I know that’s cheap, and the dev deserves to be paid for their hard work, but I prefer the free one.

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Author: PeteLong

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  1. Hi Pete

    In your Forrnsit test,
    Did you check out if you had fx your Firefox + Chrome favorites, Visual Studio settings including custom imported dll’s etc?

    And did you notice that the start menu tiles setup also does not migrate?

    Speed isn’t everything 🙂

    With kind regards

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Thomas,

      Just migrated a local profile to a domain profile including domain join with the tool from Forensit. Didn’t notice any of those problems.
      Firefox and chrome were correctly migrated, I only had to login again with my google account in chrome. Visual Studio still works like a charm and the tiles were also correctly migrated.
      Though I must admit it didn’t feel as fast as advertised here. But it was not about speed. The USMT GUI seems much more versatile, so I’d say there is a use case for both of them.


      Post a Reply

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