Domain user account to local w

2010/09/10 by Lassi A. Liikkanen

Migrating domain user account to a local account in Windows 7

If you want to detach a computer from an active directory service and use it as a stand alone, you'll soon find out that your old user account is not accessible any more. The good news is that most of the data remains on your computer, but the bad news is that the specific user account derived from a domain controller server will never be accessible again.

This guide tells you how to migrate most of your settings and all of your application data from a domain account to a local account.

  1. Make sure you have one local user account with administrative privileges (part of local Administrators group) which you can use

  2. Using an administrator account, create a new user account, which will be local. The name can be identical to the domain account. Set the credentials and login once.

  3. Log out and reboot once to make sure there are no remaining file locks.

  4. Using the administrator account copy all data and settings available at c:usersOLD_DOMAIN_USER to newly created c:usersNEW_USER.LOCAL_MACHINE directory. The directory names depend upon which user names you choose and what is the name of your local computer. See Microsoft article in references about the naming conventions. All data cannot be copied. NTUSER.DAT which contains registry entries for your user is one of those and even if you could, it would not work with the old user.

  5. Log in with the new account, your application data and some settings are there but your desktop, start menu and the taskbar need to configured again.

This procedure secures all your data but not all Windows and applications settings which reside in the registry. To get them, you could export parts of the registry and import them for the other user but that's always a bit risky business. Below you'll see an example how you could restore user specific registry settings from existing NTUSER.DAT file by opening them in current registry in a temporary hive from administrator command prompt:

reg load HKLMTempHive "c:usersOLD_USERNTUSER.DAT"
reg export HKLMTempHive "c:usersOLD_USER_REGISTRY.REG"
reg unload HKLMTempHive 

From here on you could go on and select some branches to be imported under your new user profile - effectively restoring the settings lost with the domain user account. But it is quite laborious thing to do really.

References opening up registry file

Related content:
How Windows 7 restore really works, 2014/04/26

Instructions for creating bootable Windows 7 recovery environment on a USB flash device, 2014/03/30

Disabling background software installations and upgrades in Windows, 2013/03/03

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Keywords: [windows] , [computers] Document's status: Ok (Document dates explained)

This document created: 2010/09/08
Modified: 2010/09/10
Published: 2010/09/09

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