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How To: Transfer User Profiles to a New Computer September 10, 2006

Posted by selkowitz in How-To.
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Lets say you bought a new Windows PC, here’s the easiest process to switching.

Overview
With the advent of Windows 2000 and XP, each user of the system got a “profile” which contains all their files, settings, emails, favorites, etc. Not long ago we found a way to copy these profiles so setup would take less time as all the user’s stuff would remain the same.

Programs are not transferred in this process, those must be reinstalled by CD/download again. You can try to copy the programs folder, but the programs won’t actually work.

These directions work for Windows 2000 and XP only and will work between them – for example transferring from 2000 to XP or XP Home to Pro. Macs already have an easier and more powerful migration tool built-in.

The Steps:

  1. Setup the new computer and make accounts for any users you want on the machine.
  2. Remove the hard drive from the old PC
  3. Connect the hard drive to the new PC via the internal hard drive connectors (don’t disconnect the new drive) or even easier use an external USB2 hard drive adapter.
  4. Once the old drive is mounted, open up two explorer windows to the ‘Documents and Settings’ folders – one to the new drive and one to the old drive.
  5. In the documents and settings folder you’ll see the profiles for each user, copy from the old machine to the new one.
  6. Download Forensit’s “User Profile Manager,” install it, and reboot.
  7. Open up the User Profile Manager in the Control Panels. Check the “Show Unassigned Profiles” checkbox. Select one of the unassigned profiles you copied over, then click assign. Enter the name of the user you created in step 1 to assign the profile to.
  8. Assign all the profiles, log out, log back in as one of the users who’s profile was migrated – prepare to be amazed!