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Cannot Copy Local Profiles in Win7

    Question

  • Copying local profiles - This has carried through a number of recent builds of Win7 and now is in the RC, 7100 build.   Not sure if this is a change in functionality or a bug.  If you want to copy the profile of a local user, you can login to the PC (Vista and earlier) as the local Administrator, go to System Properties > User Profiles, choose a user's profile, then click the Copy To button to copy that profile to another profile.  In Win7, the Copy To button is grayed out when you choose another user's profile.  All you can choose from is Change Type or Delete.  What happened here?


    Sunday, May 03, 2009 5:05 AM

All replies

  • I don't have a "Copy to" selection on my contects menu, nor in the Explorer window at the profile location.  This is a fresh install with minimum customizations (UAC is disabled).  I am able to copy profiles using the "Copy to folder..." option, and am able to Ctrl drag a profile to create a copy.

    I wonder if there's some customization, security tool, or system policy preventing this on your system?
    - John
    Sunday, May 03, 2009 11:42 AM
    Answerer
  • You need to read my post.  "System Properties > User Profiles, choose a user's profile, then click the Copy To button to copy that profile to another profile".  This is the standard way of copying a profile from one user to another.  To get to System Properites:  Control Panel > System > Advanced System Settings (in the left pane) > Advanced tab > User Profiles, click the Settings button.
    Sunday, May 03, 2009 5:59 PM
  • Hi UkonCornelias

    Have you been able to find a solution to this inconvenience? I'm trying to do the same thing and having the same problem. Someone wrote that activating administrator and doing it from that profile ought to work but it didn't for me. Copy to was still greyed out.

    Moe
    Friday, May 08, 2009 7:27 PM
  • I am hoping someone from MS might see this and provide an answer.  And yes, I have tried logging in using the local administrator account and a user account added to the local administrators group, and both accounts had the same problem.
    Sunday, May 10, 2009 2:01 AM
  • If all else fails, you might be able to use the Windows Easy Transfer application to copy a profile.
    Sunday, May 10, 2009 2:52 AM
  • Hey UconCornelias,
    we have the same behavior on Server 2008 R2 RC. It looks like a general Bug.
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 5:23 AM
  • Thanks.  You are probably right.  There are a still a few bugs in Win7 (and 2008 R2) MS will hopefully get fixed in the next couple of months.
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009 10:09 PM
  • I really hope MS comes up with an answer for this- we have XP machines with up to 20 locally-stored domain user profiles and I can't imagine trying to duplicate each one manually. It's for sure a reason to delay moving to W7. My other gripe is the inability to get a 'classic' username/password/domain logon screen- something without the switching-user hoops to jump through and without the cute little user icons/avatars/whatever-they-are.
    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 12:25 AM
  • On my Windows 7 7100, I find that the "Default Profile" can be copied, but no others.

    It seems to be a change.
    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 12:39 AM
  • I am just not sure what the point would be to having only the "default" profile with the ability to copy. What would that be used for as it is the profile that gets copied for every new user? Please bring back the profile copy. Not all of us use sysprep to put out images to our corporate clients.
    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 4:06 PM
  • Djsp, that's exactly what I was thinking.
    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 10:04 PM
  • sometimes it might be better to not fix that which is not broken.  this bug is putting a serious hamper in testing in my site ( a high school). guess that's why its a RC so we can find he real world bugs.
    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 10:25 PM
  • Can we get someone to take another look at this?
    Tuesday, May 19, 2009 6:19 PM
  • Hi there,
    i opened a new Thread "Cannot Copy Local Profiles in Server 2008 R2 RC" in Windows Server 2008 R2 General for the same behavior in Server 2008 R2 RC. Hopefully we get an answer from MS, because a Server-Product with this bug (feature)!! is not useable.

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009 6:41 PM
  • Cool. Hopefully we can get an answer in one of the forums.
    Tuesday, May 19, 2009 11:19 PM
  • Hi,

    I have the same problem so I can't continue to test Windows 7 for my company. I 'm using the "Copy" button to setup my default user profile in Win XP so I hope MS will not oblige us to use sysprep to setup a default user in Win 7.
    Wednesday, May 20, 2009 1:20 PM
  • Still nothing on this? This is a very important issue to many of us in enterprise settings.
    Thursday, May 28, 2009 6:07 PM
  • Hello, That scenario that was used to replace the Default User Profile was unsupported in Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 and unsupported in Windows XP. There were many issues with it in the prior OSes, even though those issues were not always apparent, they did exist and caused inconsistencies and lingering problems. This article points to the supported way of updating the Default User profile which is the only profile that should be used to for creation of the new user profile. 959753 How to customize the default local user profile when you prepare an image of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003 http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;959753
    Thanks, Darrell Gorter[MSFT] This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Friday, May 29, 2009 6:14 PM
  • Not sure where you got your information from, but using System Properties > User Profiles is the preferred way to copy profiles, always has been, and I have never had any problems with it.  The KB article you refer to is fine if you are creating images for deployment, but it does not cover copying profiles on a Windows PC where you want to copy one profile to another profile, on the same PC.

    Here is the KB article for XP that describes creating a Custom Default Profile.  This has been the standard way of doing this for Windows OSes since XP (maybe even before):  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/319974

    Sunday, May 31, 2009 6:48 PM
  • Thank you Ukon, you beat me to it. This is in the MS KB, so in my mind it is an acknowledged solution. It has been shut down, and in my eyes we need a solution to continue the way we have be personalizing our builds for the past 10+ years. I just don't see the logic in changing this. And as for issues, I have not seen them.
    Monday, June 01, 2009 3:23 PM
  • Hello,
    The information came from Windows product group.
    Yes people have been doing this for a number years, however that doesn't mean that it doesn't have issues.
    This blog page has serveral links on this subject, including some of the issues that your profiles will have.
    http://blogs.technet.com/deploymentguys/archive/tags/Default+User/default.aspx
    The process predates Windows XP. This process worked in Windows NT 4.0 however ever since that release, the issues with using that process have increased. 
    The only supported method is with using KB959753, we need to remove 319974 from the knowledgebase. 
    Thanks, Darrell Gorter[MSFT] This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Monday, June 01, 2009 4:50 PM
  • I will not belabor this after this post, but again, you are referring to deploying images and OSes.  This does not help anyone who needs to copy profiles on an already configured PC or PCs.  This is not an answer.
    Wednesday, June 03, 2009 2:57 AM
  • I would like to ask some questions about replacing the Default User Profile to better understand the scenarios and reasons why it is being replaced.
    Certainly details would be appreciated on the scenarios.
    If you prefer to send directly to me that is fine as well
    Darrellg@online.microsoft.com
    remove the online from the address to send to me
    ·         Why is there a need to update the default profile so often?
    ·         What types of customizations are you doing?
    ·         What types of profiles are being customizing?  Mandatory, network default, local default?
    ·         Why is sysprep inadequate for this?
    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Tuesday, June 09, 2009 1:39 AM
  • I will answer your last question first.  Sysprep is used for deployments.  There are times, I'm sure often, when it is either wanted or needed to just copy a profile from one user to another, on the same PC.  Sysprep and the copyProfile option in WSIM are fine, again, if you are deploying images, setting up new PCs or re-imaging PCs.  Keep in mind too, not everyone is an Enterprise customer.  There are small businesses, schools, non-profits, home users, etc. that don't have the technical staff/knowledge or time needed to create, manage and maintain a deployment environment.

    Why would you want to copy a profile from one user to another on the same PC?  There could be many reasons.

    1.  You have multiple users using the same PC.  You want everyone to have the same profile for mangement and security reasons.  This could be true in a home, small business, school, etc.
    2.  A user's profile becomes corrupt.  You can delete the profile and user and either start with your standardized Default profile or copy another user's profile on the same PC.
    3.  In a test environment.  You setup your test PC, install your test OS, setup a base user account, create a default profile from that account, and then as you login in and out as different test users, you have the same profile.  (Keep in mind, all this happens prior to creating images.)
    4.  In that same test environment, you might make changes to your base profile and want that propogated to the other test user profiles.
    5.  You could be a school that you want to daily or periodically clean up the user profiles on the 3 PCs you have to share among students.  You can delete all the profiles and then as the students login again, a new one is created and you know what they will have available to them.  From a support perspective, this is a must have.

    You could go on and on with reasons, I am sure.  If MS is really going to remove this functionality from Windows, they need to NOT do this.  As I said, not everyone is an Enterprise customer.  And Please return the original XP KB article that was  removed.  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/319974   That was just silly to remove that. 
    • Proposed as answer by djsp Wednesday, June 10, 2009 11:51 PM
    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 11:49 AM
  • Well I can speak for my side.
    1. There is not a need to do this often. I need it to create the base image that I give out to my employees to build servers, workstations, etc.
    2. Customization in any form. Icons on desktop, task bar settings, all personal settings that we want in place for every user that logs on.
    3. Local default. That is it.
    4. I know Microsoft pushes sysprep, but there are many of us who don't use it. My company uses Acronis. Have for many years. It is nice to have an image joined to the workgroup with all the settings you want that you can copy off a hard drive and bring up in 15 minutes with no further configuration needed unless you need to join the domain. On the desktop side, we are an engineering firm, and we have specific ways that we set up our default profile so that all of our applications can work together. It is no small task. So we are not looking for any further configuration to happen once the computer hits the desk.
    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 11:50 PM
  • Let me just add a few words...

    I'm also surprised why this profile "Copy to" option is no longer there.
    I am no big IT administrator, just a regular home user - setting up computers for my family. But often after installing the os, setting up everything the way I like, I used to copy my (admin) profile to another user (mom's, dad's etc.) so I DON'T have go through all those settings again (setting up desktop, taskbar, start menu, disabling various notifications etc.). This is done just once after installing the system, usually before the profile gets cluttered by different programs.

    So, PLEASE Microsoft, restore that profile "Copy To" option!  Or at least an equivalent of that.

    Of course, we all know this might not always work as expected. For example: if an app stores an absolute path to some files in the profile - I don't expect this to rewrite all those paths automatically. But why on earth would you just drop that functionality!?  I'm sure everyone who did use this, was aware of the risks. And even if not - the new copied profile *might* not work exactly as expected... So what? It shouldn't affect rest of the system. Just give us a warning and go through with it.



    One more question for Darrell...
    I've found the same answer from you in many threads on this forum:
    "There were many issues with it in the prior OSes, even though those issues were not always apparent, they did exist and caused inconsistencies and lingering problems".
    Could you be a LITTLE more specific, please?
    Provide us with those mysterious "issues, inconsistencies, problems". Any examples?
    Perhaps then we'll all admit we were wrong and ask this no more... ;)
    Saturday, June 13, 2009 5:40 PM
  • Hello,

    The forum page requires me to post in four separate places on this thread or I cannot post.  Some sort of bug in the forums with this thread only.
    Sorry


    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Sunday, June 14, 2009 6:59 PM
  • Hello,
    What is wrong with this thread?  It did not take my posting from yesterday, or rather it took the text from the other 3 windows that insist on opening up.

    Here is the blog on the subject as well
    http://blogs.technet.com/deploymentguys/archive/tags/Default+User/default.aspx
    Which has a link that includes a list of some of the issues:
    http://blogs.technet.com/deploymentguys/archive/2008/02/18/configuring-default-user-and-computer-settings-for-windows-image-deployment.aspx


    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights
    Monday, June 15, 2009 5:05 PM
  • Yes Darrell, it's very confusing.

    Just use the edit window that is given focus, where the cursor is.  It ends up putting the post in the right place, not the position you edit.

    It is also being discussed in the Suggestions and Feedback for the Forums forum.

    To see the edit correctly, you have to leave the thread and come back to it, or refresh it.
    Monday, June 15, 2009 6:32 PM
  • So per the blog here are the issues?:

    "However, there are problems with using this procedure.  These issues include:

     

    1.      It is very old procedure from NT4, when the shell was much simpler.  The shell is more complicated for Windows 2000 and higher.

    2.      The process seems to work but you will find subtle problems.  Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 have made those subtle problems more visible.  This process will copy settings that should not be copied to the default user profile such as:

    a.                Their list of most frequently run programs

    b.                Whether the user has been introduced to the Start menu (will be set to TRUE for the source account, but should be FALSE for new users).  Windows Explorer does some special things the first time you log on to introduce you to the Start menu and other new features.

    c.                Whether the user is an administrator (and should therefore see the Administrative Tools, etc).

    d.                The personalized name for “My Documents” will be incorrect.  All users documents folders will be called “Administrator's Documents”.  This is documented in the Knowledge Base article “The Desktop.ini File Does Not Work Correctly When You Create a Custom Default Profile” (http://support.microsoft.com/?id=321281 ).

    e.                The default download directory for IE will be set to the Administrator's Desktop folder.

    f.                 The default Save and Open locations for some application with point to the Administrator's documents folder

    3.      Sysprep may cause some settings to go back to defaults.

     

    Because of these issues, I believe this process should be discouraged. "

    These "issues" are easy to deal with. If this is all we are up against, I really don't see the need to get rid of the copy to. This seems to be a case of removing features and calling it an improvement. Once again, not all of us use sysprep, nor are we interested in using it.
    Tuesday, June 16, 2009 3:39 PM
  • I would like to copy a profile to the local defualt profile.
    Wednesday, July 01, 2009 4:01 PM
  • Well, I am sad to say that MS did not change this behavior with the RTM/Retal version of Win7.  You still cannot copy a profile from one user to another, using System Properties > User Profiles.  This will be missed by many people, and leave them scratching their head about what they are supposed to do to copy profiles.  Instead of removing this functionality, MS should have fixed the problems with it (minor as they were) and left it.  I am disappointed.

    Strangely, the one profile you can copy to another profile, is the Default profile ??  If you can copy that nearly useless profile, why not the others?!  Perhaps some clever programmer will come up with a fix or utility to bring this needed functionality back.
    • Marked as answer by UkonCornelias Sunday, August 09, 2009 8:19 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by UkonCornelias Sunday, August 09, 2009 8:20 PM
    Sunday, August 09, 2009 8:19 PM
  • UkonCornelias, I have started the initial process of creating the Windows 7 clone image we will use in our organization.  (around 10,000 computers)  In our build pc, we have used the "Copy To" function to copy a pre-configured user profile to the 'Default User' profile for Windows XP and also Windows Vista.  We would then edit the registry hive for the default user to fix a few things.  However, with Windows 7 RTM, I too today just found out that the "Copy To" function has been disabled in Windows 7.  This is extrememly disappointing that Microsoft doesn't provide a functional way to configure the default user profile.
    Friday, August 14, 2009 8:26 PM
  • Scenario:
    Application A gets installed and gets configured by Admin. Application A makes changes to/adds keys to the Registry CURRENT_USER hive and places files into the users profile, somewhere. I wish to propogate those changes to ALL future users of the machine without Sysprepping the machine. Why? Because it is time consuming to sit and wait for the draconian sysprep process to complete. It will also reset all my good work I would have done previously. No! Group Policy is not always the answer. The "Copy To" functionality allows all of us to do this without SYSPREP for an OS up to Win7/2008R2. If this method is not supported then WHY was it able to be done in Vista? WHY was it able to be done in Windows XP regardless of the flaws in the process. Also, WHY can I copy the Default User profile to another user profile in win 7 if this process is flawed? WHY is it still available for the REVERSE action of copying default user to user X in Win7?
    I understand the reasoning behind the sysprep method and that is all great for deployment but a lot of the time we are talking about post-deployment situations where the "Copy To" is used. IF this is such an issue why can't MSFT give us a tool that allows you to do exactly what the sysprep method does but without all the resetting behaviour that the average sysprep process involves? You can do it for adding drivers into pre-deployment WIM images so why can't you do it for User Profile configuration? sysprep /copytodefaultprf:<profilename> . How hard is that? Strips out the rubbish listed in the Blog and sets the permissions on everything as expected! The problem here is steps 5. and 6. in the article KB959753. I don't want to /generalise, I don't want to build the image and I don't want to redeploy the image back to the machine I just changed. That is just impracticle in my mind.

    Please address the Post-Deployment scenario or you will once again have many frustrated Volume Customers in the Corporate and Education sector that will stay with XP regardless of the MSFT push to something newer and better(?). MSFT made mistakes with Vista that stopped many of us from using it. We thought things would be addressed and improved in 7. It would appear this is going to be simply more of the same..

    This is one University that will not be riding the Win 7 wave until MSFT addresses this seriously. At the moment Vista SP2 is my fall back position for moving forward until this issue improves and I don't consider that a very good fallback position.... My MSFT TAM is going to become rather frustrated with me over the next few months I am sure. His ears are already ringing.

    Friday, August 21, 2009 4:27 AM
  • This option must be re-enable simply for ONE major reason. 

    Senario.
    User upgrading to a New PC.  Same OS and Applications, but with New Hardware, all setting must stay the same.

    In XP/Vista: Copy the user profile(via Control Panel to insure profile won't be corrupted) to a network location-->Deploy the PC-->Copy the Profile back.  Done.

    What was MS developers thinking?

    And Darrell, can you provide a solution to this?
    Thursday, September 03, 2009 2:42 AM
  • Darrel's just a talking head. He doesn't work for MS so you won't get any answers from him. He asked a couple of months ago why & how we used this feature. Several of us jumped in  and gave our scenarios in this posting and others but after asking the question Darrel hasn't been seen since and obviously no one from MS cares. If they don't care about losing thousands of sales to us I guess I don't care either.
    Thursday, September 17, 2009 8:23 PM
  • Hi, We just got the MAP discs for Win7
    We setup home client PC's with the default user creation listed in UkonCornelias 's post; going through system properties. Windows 7 Deployment, stupid thing is greyed out. I don't want to have to image a PC and then Sysprep it and re set it up. Seems a bit roundy bouty for me and wastes a bit to much time. So I have a temporary fix till we (The masses) figure out the best solution in this case (New OS guys, some of the bugs need to be crinkled out, its pretty slick but we have to be patient)
    The program below essentially, enables greyed out buttons. So that 'copy to' button thats greyed out for everyone, will be enabled with this program.

     I just tested it now and it worked bar one set back, the theme was not applied. So I had to go into the Personalize option and set my theme, small price to pay for convienience. I also put some money on some unseen problems in the future. But till this has been sorted out, Im going to use this.



    http://www.angelfire.com/falcon/speedload/Enabler.htm

    Hope it helps. I'll be monitoring this thread and the many others in an effort to find the solution to our problems. And just to make sure we're clear on what the problem is.

    We want to create a default user profile easily, so the family of 5 can each have a user and have the all the same settings applied in a managable fashion from the start.
    • Proposed as answer by EspioNZ Monday, September 21, 2009 9:47 AM
    Sunday, September 20, 2009 3:14 AM
  • Hi, We just got the MAP discs for Win7
    We setup home client PC's with the default user creation listed in UkonCornelias 's post; going through system properties. Windows 7 Deployment, stupid thing is greyed out. I don't want to have to image a PC and then Sysprep it and re set it up. Seems a bit roundy bouty for me and wastes a bit to much time. So I have a temporary fix till we (The masses) figure out the best solution in this case (New OS guys, some of the bugs need to be crinkled out, its pretty slick but we have to be patient)
    The program below essentially, enables greyed out buttons. So that 'copy to' button thats greyed out for everyone, will be enabled with this program.

     I just tested it now and it worked bar one set back, the theme was not applied. So I had to go into the Personalize option and set my theme, small price to pay for convienience. I also put some money on some unseen problems in the future. But till this has been sorted out, Im going to use this.



    http://www.angelfire.com/falcon/speedload/Enabler.htm

    Hope it helps. I'll be monitoring this thread and the many others in an effort to find the solution to our problems. And just to make sure we're clear on what the problem is.

    We want to create a default user profile easily, so the family of 5 can each have a user and have the all the same settings applied in a managable fashion from the start.

    You should give credit to Imfusio, the original poster of this solution back on August 21, 2009 in another thread.
    Tuesday, September 22, 2009 6:37 PM
  • I have read about the Enabler program, but the fact that something as basic as the wallpaper is missing from the copied profile gives me pause.  Yes, you can manually set the wallpaper again, but I would be careful about using this in a production environment for multiple users without thorough testing. 

    The Copy Profile problem reminds me very much of the problem that appeared in Vista with not being able to manually set the Computer Name during an unattended install.  Many, many people were asking why this functionality was removed and waited, and waited and waited for MS to bring it back/fix it, but they never did.  And MS never explained why it no longer worked.  I expect the same thing from MS about the Copy Profile issue....Crickets.   
    Monday, September 28, 2009 10:50 AM
  • I have read about the Enabler program, but the fact that something as basic as the wallpaper is missing from the copied profile gives me pause.  Yes, you can manually set the wallpaper again, but I would be careful about using this in a production environment for multiple users without thorough testing. 

    The Copy Profile problem reminds me very much of the problem that appeared in Vista with not being able to manually set the Computer Name during an unattended install.  Many, many people were asking why this functionality was removed and waited, and waited and waited for MS to bring it back/fix it, but they never did.  And MS never explained why it no longer worked.  I expect the same thing from MS about the Copy Profile issue....Crickets.   

    Have you even tried to use the program? It works perfectly for me. Everything is there,  printers, desktop settings and everything else I have tried, including the wallpaper. I have absolutely no problems with it.

    As for MS, they have shifted all of their focus to the home user. They're more worried about those MAC ad's than the corporate customers they are ____ off.
    Wednesday, September 30, 2009 11:47 AM
  • Actually I have.  Also, the program was designed for Windows XP and earlier MS operating systems.  I'm only advocating caution.
    Saturday, October 03, 2009 12:13 PM
  • MS has a habit of breaking things every time they move 2 steps forward they take a step back (or 4 in the case of vista).   With Exchange 2007 they left things out of the GUI that were easy in the 2003 and previous versions such as seeing the mailbox sizes.   I'm sure this is an attempt by the DOS team (aka powershell) to tell you how easy it is in 20 simple arcane powershell (DOS) commands to copy profiles vs the complicated three click gui method of opening computer properties, going to profiles and click copy.
    Friday, October 16, 2009 2:46 PM
  • I'm having the same problems - the Copy To button is greyed out. Worked fine in XP Pro. Microsoft helpfully provides a set of instructions for manually copying the files over from one profile to another - except that when you come to paste the files, the paste button fails to work. Despite logging on as Admin and performing the copy/paste on two other profiles, I simply get a warning that I need permission from the profile account holder. I can't see a way around it. Painful.

    This is a seriously annoying bug and I'm amazed that, after all the testing, MS saw fit not to fix it.
    Sunday, October 25, 2009 9:14 PM
  • It's not a bug.  It was intentional.  The ability to copy profiles was available in the early BETA builds of Win7, and at some point MS decided to remove this.  No doubt the silence from MS about removing this is due to the fact they have nothing to replace this functionality.  Ostensibly, "this never worked right" according to MS (I guess for the last 10+ years it never worked right) so they removed it.  Perhaps fixing it was just too hard for them.
    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 2:10 AM
  • It is a shame they can't hire developers smart enough to fix what worked fine in previous versions of Windows.   Likewise it is too bad their developers for Exchange couldn't figure out how to put mailbox sizes back into Exchange Management which worked fine in previous versions.   I NEVER want to have to use powershell/DOS.   DOS wasn't bad as you usually typed deltree, copy, xcopy etc.   with powershell you have to type 20 lines of code for some commands to work.   If people wanted to type things, unix and dos would be popular.   Linux made inroads when they added more gui functions.   How lazy are the MS programmers getting - will powershell be replaced with superassembly or ultrabinary?
    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 4:32 PM
  • Update:

    Here is a MS Win7 KB article explaining how to customize the Default Profile in Windows 7:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/973289/en-us

    Towards the bottom of the article it says, "Note Previously it was possible to copy profiles by using the System Control Panel Item. This copy to default profile option is now disabled as it could add data that made the profile unusable."

    Also, I ran across an article on the WindowsSecrets web site: http://windowssecrets.com/2009/11/05/03-Early-adopter-of-Windows-7-shares-his-secrets

    "A Microsoft tech-support engineer told us Microsoft's stance is that user profiles shouldn't be copied all the way down through Windows 2000. So with Windows 7 you just can't."

    Looks like this functionality is gone.  End of story.  You can still contact MS and tell them to bring it back.  Who knows, they might just listen.
    • Proposed as answer by Brian Borg Sunday, November 08, 2009 10:35 PM
    Saturday, November 07, 2009 1:24 PM
  • Yes, we know that this article exists. I read it when it was first released, back in the day. The procedure is all well and good. It even works, most of the time. However, I think MS are missing the point with all this. Sysprep is part of a Deployment procedure. Configuring a Desktop and then deploying that generic image to a bunch of other desktops using the Sysprep and WAIK Tools/WDS/SCCM is all fine and I understand this.

    This procedure falls down when it comes to configuring desktops after the fact. Syspreping a machine is just non-sense in that senario.
    The question is also to be asked. If it is depricated since Win 2000, WHY, oh WHY has it been enabled until now? What is so "unusable" in Windows 7 that was not "unusable" in Vista. Same stuff in my book. You can make profiles for Roaming and Mandatory which simply copy to the current profile. They are just Network located Default profiles to me.

    Incidently, using the Sysprep tool to copy the template Admin profile to Default still results in all the rubbish being transferred to the Default profile. Settings in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders are still hard coded to the original Profile. Some Lazy Dufus has placed a value at the top that says "!Do not use the registry key" and set the value to "Use the SHGetFolderPAth or SHGetKnownFolderPath function instead". May be this guy should now go around to every software vendor and force them to change everything in their existing applications to now use these calls. This seems just lazy to me and reflects a general attitude to the customer base. Both IT Pro and user alike.

    So, after this rant. This is what we do and this is successful.

    - Download the "WindowEnabler" from the URL above. Unpack and place onto Network Share or USB device.
    - Install your Windows 7 OS on said hard disk.
    - Log on with an accoutn that has Admin privileges. Let's call them Admin1.
    - Adjust membership of local Admin, User groups etc etc. I assume you are using AD for authentication, of course.
    - Install your software, configure your answers to stupid user based "do you want to join our spam list" type questions, using your template admin user.
    - Edit your registry for the template user (Admin1) and substitute the username in ShellFolders etc with %USERNAME%. Thus "C:\Users\user1\Searches" becomes "C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Searches" or even "%USERPROFILE%\Searches" so that things track well.
    - Restart the machine and logon as another Admin.
    - Fire up the Enabler to undo all of Microsofts excellent work and copy your profile from Admin1 to Default. (Well done you hacker type you). 
    - Kill your enabler.
    - Restart and clean up your User Profiles as needed.
    - If you are going to image this machine now that you are done then off you go. Otherwise, just restart and let the next user enjoy your changes.

    Things will continue as they have before.

    Run your little enabler to turn on your Copy button everytime you wish to make changes like the above. Maybe, just maybe, Microsoft will see fit to buy the code off the author of the "Enabler" to eliminate the competition?!!? Thank goodness for choice.  :-P

    Sigh..
     

    Monday, November 16, 2009 5:40 AM
  • As stated earlier in this thread, the scenario that was previously used to replace the Default User Profile (overwriting via the User Profile Control Panel applet) was unsupported in Windows Vista and unsupported in Windows XP.  There were many issues with it in the prior OS’s, even though those issues were not always apparent, they did exist and caused inconsistencies and lingering problems.

    For Domain joined systems, an alternative exists that in many cases will provide a centralized way to update user profiles and accomplish the same tasks that many of you are seeking: Group Policy Preferences. In contrast to policy settings, preferences allow users to change them after you’ve deployed them, they are unmanaged. Additionally, deploying some preferences for users could be a necessity in locked-down environments. Organizations have deployed preferences in a variety of ways, most commonly default user profiles, reg files, and logon scripts. Including preferences in Windows images is also common. In any case, most methods for deploying preferences are decentralized and ‘high touch’.

     

    In contrast to the less IT-friendly methods for deploying preferences, Group Policy preferences add to Group Policy a centralized system for deploying preferences. It provides the means to simplify deployment, reduce configuration errors, and reduce IT costs. Rather than using the steps described earlier to deploy mapped drives, for example, you simply create a Group Policy object and edit its Drive Maps preference item.

     

    Group Policy preferences do not require you to install any services on servers. Windows Server 2008 includes Group Policy preferences by default as part of the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC). Administrators will also be able to configure and deploy Group Policy preferences in a Windows Server 2003 environment by installing the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) on a computer running Windows Vista with SP1.

    You can download the whitepaper that describes Group Policy Preferences here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=42e30e3f-6f01-4610-9d6e-f6e0fb7a0790&displaylang=en. This white paper describes Group Policy preferences—its features, the differences between policy settings and preferences, and the many benefits of using this new technology.

     

    If there are specific customizations that you made using the old method to replace the Default User Profile that you cannot make with Group Policy Preferences, you can email them to me: PLeBlanc@*microsoft.com (remove the *)

     

    Note that Group Policy preferences will not address creation of Mandatory Profiles and some other settings may still require the supported method of customizing the Default User profile. This article points to the supported way of updating the Default User profile:
    959753 How to customize the default local user profile when you prepare an image of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;959753


    Paul LeBlanc MSFT
    Thursday, May 20, 2010 11:05 AM
  • I find this interesting that this thread is marked "Answered" when it is not in fact answered.

    I have been dealing with this issue for a long time now because it has impeded our ability to deploy Windows 7.

    I have, just today, successfully come up with a quick and easy solution.

    I have created a video on how to convert Windows XP profiles (copied using the Copy button) into Windows 7 mandatory profiles. I have tested it and it works well.

    I create a video and a webpage to outline the steps.

    http://www.sd61.bc.ca/windows2000/Windows7/Profiles.html


    lforbes
    Wednesday, October 06, 2010 11:07 PM
  • Here's a very simple and practical reason for re-enabling this functionality: Converting a user's profile from a local profile to a roaming profile. Nothing to do with Sysprep or default profiles.

    How this used to work on XP was I'd copy a user's profile to my roaming profile's network share, change the account to use the new roaming profile, then log the user on to more than one PC to test it. "Change type" doesn't convert an already local-only profile to a roaming profile; the profile has to already be a roaming one first.

    Even without roaming profiles if I want to replace a user's PC, it's a very quick and efficient way to copy their documents and settings without using USMT. It also deliberately skips the "local" things like browser caches and temp folders, saving me from guesswork as to what to and what not to copy.

    Sure I could hand-copy the user's profile files to my roaming profile's share, but the "copy to" function knows what's supposed to be copied and what's not.

    And "WindowEnabler" worked. :-p

    This decision ranks right up there with removing Group Policy-based install capability from Office 2010.

     

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011 3:13 PM