Question How Do I Convert My Local Windows Account To A Domain Account And Keep My Desktop, Settings, And Everything Else?

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,308
1,187
126
Somebody should know the answer to my question. I've fallen behind in my reading, because I have big burdens at home.

The last server I built was configured with Windows 2012 Essentials R2, upgrading from Windows Home Server 2011. We had always organized our home computer systems in the WORKGROUP paradigm, then "Home Group" under Win Svr 2011. Win 2012 R2 wants your computers to be in a Domain, and many of us hesitated. Someone discovered a simple hack so you could access your server without joining its domain.

Now I've discovered why Win 2012 was backing up our Windows 7 computers just fine, but wouldn't back up my Windows 10 flagship system. I DIDN'T have TIME to troubleshoot this, as I took over caring form my 97-year-old Moms five years ago. I've had less and less time to myself.

So when I acquired a new laptop last summer, I was mystified and confused how it just joined our network so easily and was being backed up by our server. And when I finally upgraded one of our Win 7 systems to Win 10 so that it absorbed my software and settings and desktop and everything else, it too was being backed up -- but my original Win 10 flagship system would never back up successfully.

A little investigation helped me discover that the laptop and the formerly Win 7 system upgraded to Win 10 were somehow configured under a domain, while my sig system was still set up with a local account in "Workgroup" mode.

So installing the server connector software on the flagship gives me access to all the files on the server alright, but the system doesn't back up to the server as the others do.

Now I've figured out how to install the connector so that my local account name and password are used in the domain, but it creates a new desktop as if this were a new 'local" account.

I was in a panic about this, so (praise Jee-sus) I have a great backup system on the Win 10 flagship system, and I restored the boot drive to what it was this morning.

Now I can go forward again, and get this client workstation PC to rejoin the Domain. But how do I migrate my desktop, settings and everything else to the new account?

In other words, I started out with a local account -- call it "Michael Smith" with the password "BonzaiDuck". When working through the connector software -- having already set up "Michael Smith" as an account on the Win 2012 server with the Domain-name "HomeServer", my local account is now converted to "HomeServer.Michael Smith" or "Michael Smith.Homeserver", with a separate entry under the local boot-disk folder "Users".

But I need to know how I can migrate everything from my local account to the new domain account.

SOMEBODY GOT TO KNOW THE ANSWER TO THIS. MAYBE THERE'S SOME SORT OF MIGRATION SOFTWARE. BUT -- I NEED TO DO THIS! I NEED TO DO THIS! SOMEBODY HAS TO KNOW HOW i CAN DO IT! I HAVEN'T GOT TIME FOR "EXPERIMENTING" AS A STRATEGY FOR FIXING THINGS ANYMORE!
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
15,296
5,432
136
IIRC I have never tried to do this, but if I were to try and attempt it, I'd consider one of two approaches:

1: In Windows' "Advanced System Settings" there's a user profiles settings button which opens this window:

Btw, you can't copy a profile that is already logged in so you'd need to create/use another admin user to affect this sort of migration. What I think you might have to do is a bait and switch - sign in as the domain user, have Windows create a new profile, then log out and switch the profile folders using this feature, then sign back in as the domain user.

A weirder hybrid of this approach would be to tell your Windows Server that your source profile folder should be used as the template for new users (read up about creating a default Windows profile), and temporarily have the user profile you wish to migrate as the template.

2: I've used a freeware program called 'transwiz' before in a situation where I wanted to migrate a user from one PC to another. I don't recall it having any issues. I don't know whether it can be made to fit the bill in your situation.

Obviously before I attempted any of this I'd back up your user profile very very thoroughly / belt-and-braces first and ideally leave things in place for a nigh-on complete rollback. I see no reason that you'd have to delete the source profile's location at any point.

Also make sure the permissions are sound (ie. DOMAIN\user has appropriate privs to access the 'new' user profile folder).

I wish I knew why Windows doesn't just let one drop a user profile folder in place and run with whatever's in that folder. It reminds me of how whiny Outlook gets if you pull a bait-and-switch on the main PST file.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,308
1,187
126
OK . . . OK . . . I'm going to try this free program:
IIRC I have never tried to do this, but if I were to try and attempt it, I'd consider one of two approaches:

1: In Windows' "Advanced System Settings" there's a user profiles settings button which opens this window:

Btw, you can't copy a profile that is already logged in so you'd need to create/use another admin user to affect this sort of migration. What I think you might have to do is a bait and switch - sign in as the domain user, have Windows create a new profile, then log out and switch the profile folders using this feature, then sign back in as the domain user.

A weirder hybrid of this approach would be to tell your Windows Server that your source profile folder should be used as the template for new users (read up about creating a default Windows profile), and temporarily have the user profile you wish to migrate as the template.

2: I've used a freeware program called 'transwiz' before in a situation where I wanted to migrate a user from one PC to another. I don't recall it having any issues. I don't know whether it can be made to fit the bill in your situation.

Obviously before I attempted any of this I'd back up your user profile very very thoroughly / belt-and-braces first and ideally leave things in place for a nigh-on complete rollback. I see no reason that you'd have to delete the source profile's location at any point.

Also make sure the permissions are sound (ie. DOMAIN\user has appropriate privs to access the 'new' user profile folder).

I wish I knew why Windows doesn't just let one drop a user profile folder in place and run with whatever's in that folder. It reminds me of how whiny Outlook gets if you pull a bait-and-switch on the main PST file.
First -- I deem your response here to be swift and helpful -- stellar. It would've been more than just helpful.

But -- with the normal sort of panic amid other life distractions -- I was in too much of a hurry, and didn't wait until I could return to this thread.

I downloaded the Transwiz program, and I now wish I'd logged on under a different user account -- perfectly logical, as you suggested. I have a handful of variants to my name as users on the server and this or that PC -- all administrator accounts.

Without benefit of your veteran insight and tutelage, after scanning through piles of material on Windows Server for the related issues, I finally just decided to revert all machine-accounts to WORKGROUP. [I may have always been a quick study for absorbing print, but I'm going to be scheduled for cataract surgery at end of May. My growing difficulties with the morning newspaper make it imperative.]

I had recently barked my dismay about the confusion one has between the MS Account, a Local Account, and a Domain Account -- or how to integrate these things to avoid annoying log-in pop-ups (at the very least!).

So here's what happened. The system that was perfectly installed and backing up under a domain account that had somehow (SOMEHOW!) been integrated with my Windows account was supposed to be the PC that didn't require attention to this issue. But in choosing to revert to a WORKGROUP approach, I deleted the machine (or "device" from the server dashboard list, so I could reinstall the connector software cleanly.

Once I deleted the "device" (PC) from the server, I went back to the client system to be reverted to WORKGROUP, and rebooted. Windows 10 comes up immediately telling me that "a device has been removed" or is missing, the boot drive is locked, and Windows won't boot.

There I am, thinking about a million other things, knowing that the locked boot drive only contained the OS (mostly), and that all my MS software and licenses, and all other software install programs and licenses were in a "Computer Resources" directory on a storage drive.

So I chose to reinstall Windows 10 from scratch. License still activated. Quicken and MS Office Pro 13-Plus all reinstalled and activated. I just need to reinstall certain drivers and other things. Some of the original Win 7 drivers for this old motherboard will still install under Win 10, and the Intel hardware is better revealed through their drivers as opposed to Microsoft's.

I probably could've used the Windows Install USB to repair the locked boot drive. OK, though -- the original Win 7 that was elegantly shoe-horned with the Win 10 upgrade had too much other crap installed. It's going to be a media and TV box, and just as well to install and configure cleanly.

I sure wish I'd waited for your observations, even so. OF course, this just points out the troubles and frustrations some may have for wanting a local account or domain account, and needing an MS account. Maybe the number of folks with LANs in their home is relatively small compared to the massive customer-base of mainstreamers, but there should've been some simple guides published to deal with the network-savvy situations.

There's also that decision-point when one installs Windows 10, where it asks you if your computer is in a "school or business" or "belongs solely to you". I had always selected the business option, even if I don't have "a business". And that's similar to the reason I still insist on having a server on my LAN: I was the IT-go-to guy during my other life of a day-job in the '90s. Easy enough to carry that mindset into retirement and keep it.

HA! YES! -- TLTR!! WELL -- HERE'S A FOOTNOTE.


One of my systems -- the PC with the trail of recent treads about random shutdowns (likely now determined to be corrupted OS) -- was set up by selecting the "Business or School" option at time of Win 10 installation. The one I mentioned in this post was somehow auto-setup as a member of the server domain, and that's the one where I lost the boot drive to being "locked" because it was removed from the server. When Win 10 was installed on this second machine, I decided to "try" the other option: "I own this PC".

Win 10 offers you the option of being in a "HomeGroup" in this latter scenario. With the "business or school" selection, HomeGroup doesn't appear as an option. But both Win 10 installations allow for the traditional "WorkGroup" option. Somehow, with the Windows account setup under the "personal" selection, your system is somehow on a "Public" network when you want it to be on a "Private" network. At least -- you can easily change that.
 
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