Windows has created a new profile for my user?!

Posted January 26th, 2010 by bryanr

I have experienced this problem on several occations, in different senarios.  Windows XP will at times create a new local profile for a user and they don’t have access to their old files or settings.  This can happen when a user is re-added to a Windows domain and the user id is changed.  The problem can also occur if there is corruption in the original profile.

So, in any case, you need to restore the users’ profile to the original folder.  I have tested three solutions, of which only one seemed to work correctly.

1. Login with an administrator account and simply rename the old profile folder to the new name, after deleting the new profile.
%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\OldUsername
is changed to
%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\NewUsername
2. You can change the profile path for any user in the system with a change in the registry.  First, you will have to find the users’ SID; I used this handy little tool: Next, find this registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ ProfileList, which contain a subset of keys that are named based on the user SIDs.  Change the ProfileImagePath value to reflect the folder path for the correct profile.
3. The obvious option is to copy the files/folders from the old profile to the new profile.  If you show hidden files in Windows, you can also copy the Application Data folder, which contains the majority of the users’ preferences for applications.
Of the three options, the first two resulted in numerous problems.  ei: I was not able to change internet explorer settings and the start menu would not display recently used applications.  The Windows XP theme would not display correctly either.  From my experience, option three is your best choice even though the process will take a little more time.

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