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Having an issue trying to copy user profiles in Windows 7?

Have you tried to copy a profile in Windows 7? Well if you have then you have seen this issue before where the copy command is grayed out as seen below:

I originally had a desktop not connected to my internal domain and as you can tell from my posts, I do a lot of tests on SQL Server. So, it was getting old having to log in and out my local account to my domain account to verify things. I wanted to use just one profile and maintain what I had on my oldest profile. A lot of articles on the internet were pointing me to this Microsoft KB: How to customize the default local user profile when you prepare an image of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2 but I was also seeing a lot of confusion on this process, but more importantly I did not want to run sysprep for such a simple task and possibly mess up my computer account in my domain. (By accidentally choosing the wrong option and resetting my SID)

Then I found a great tool called Windows Enabler 1.1 which will allow you to unlock these feature and just do your copy as we got used to doing in Windows XP. (This is a very handy and portable utility, which you can keep on a thumb drive or even network utilities folder) All that is needed is to unzip the files and then have both the “Windows Enabler.exe” and “EnablerDLL.dll” together in a folder. Then follow these simple steps:

1. Run Windows Enabler *as Administrator* and this icon will show up in your system tray.

2. You will now see the Windows Enabler icon in your system tray, and it should look like this:


3.  Click (one time) on the Windows Enabler icon in your system tray, and it should say “On”

4. Click once on the “Copy To” button, and it should un-gray the button

Now, that the Copy To button is working again! You can copy user profiles as you normally would, and then try logging in as the new user.

As in most cases, please make sure you test these features before you do this on any production system. I highly recommend that you review this technet article beforehand: Configuring Default User Settings – Full Update for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Please note that manual copies are unsupported and here are some of the highlights from that technet blog:

The manual profile copy process can cause issues such as:

  • Their list of most frequently run programs is not cleared
  • 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.
  • Whether the user is an administrator (and should therefore see the Administrative Tools, etc).
  • 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).
  • The default download directory for IE will be set to the Administrator’s Desktop folder.
  • The default Save and Open locations for some application with point to the Administrator’s documents folder.
  • Windows 7 Libraries are broken.

Because of these issues, this process is no longer supported in Windows XP and all later operating systems. Unfortunately, the ability to copy a profile over the Default User profile was not blocked in Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, or Windows Server 2008. This allowed many administrators to continue using the process and putting their Windows installations into an unsupported state. To prevent this, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 now block this scenario by having the Control Panel System applet gray out the option to overwrite the Default User profile.

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One Response to “Having an issue trying to copy user profiles in Windows 7?”

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