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On 4 May 2013

Tech Notes

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This post covers how to redirect a users login to a different profile to that which was originally defined by the Operating System.

If a user has been logging in locally to  machine for a while, and you now want to add the machine to the domain, or if you need to move a machine from one domain to another; you may have the need to effectively give the user a new account, whilst maintaining the original desktop that they are used to.


This procedure assumes you’re adding a machine to a new domain (either the machine was previously standalone, or is being moved from one domain to another).  Though it doesn’t really matter, all that’s important that the user’s underlying SID is changing, but they want to retain their existing desktop profile.

In the procedure below, replace NewUser with your user’s new username, and OldUser with your user’s old username.  Bear in mind that a user’s profile path can sometimes contain the user’s Workgroup or Domain, for example C:\Users\OldName.DOMAIN.

  1. Migrate the machine to its new home (new domain, network etc)
  2. Get the user to login with their new login (eg NewUser)
    • This will log the user into a default profile, and (most importantly) create a ProfileList SID key in the registry
  3. Get the user to logout
  4. Log in as an administrator
    • Local or domain, you need to be a member of the machines local Administrators group
  5. Open the registry editor
    • Press Start + R, and then type regedit
  6. Locate the key
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
  7. Locate the SID key for the OldUser login (go through the SID’s listed).
    • The key your looking for will have a ProfileImagePath value of something like C:\Users\OldUser
  8. Copy the data of the ProfileImagePath value for the user’s original login name (something like C:\Users\OldUser)
  9. Locate the SID key for the NewUser login (go through the SID’s listed).
    • Tthe key’s ProfileImagePath will be something like C:\Users\NewUser
  10. Paste the copied data into the ProfileImagePath value
  11. Go into Users and Groups management (Start | right-click over Computer | Manage, then find Local Users and Groups)
  12. Add the NewUser into the Administrators group
    • This is to ensure NewUser has rights to use OldUser‘s profile
  13. Logout, and get the user login as NewUser
    • They should get logged into their old profile


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