ARCHIVED: In Windows, what is a user profile, and how do I copy one user profile to another?

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A Microsoft Windows user profile describes the Windows configuration for a specific user, including the user's environment and preference settings relating to installed applications, desktop icons, and color options. The profile is built in part from System Policy information (e.g., things that a user has access to and things that the user can and cannot change), and in part from permitted, saved changes that a user makes to customize the desktop.

If you have administrative privileges, you can copy one user profile to another; follow the steps below for your operating system.

Security of Information Technology Resources policy (IT-12) requires that you normally refrain from running your Windows computer as an administrator. For more, see About the principle of least privilege.

Note: As copying one profile to another will completely overwrite the target profile, you should back up any important data before copying over a profile. It's also a good idea to test these steps on a test profile before copying over a profile in use.

Windows 8, 7, and Vista

  1. In Windows 8, from the Desktop, press Win-c, and choose Settings and then Control Panel.

    In Windows 7 and Vista, from the Start menu, click Control Panel.

  2. Change to Category view, if necessary; then select System and Security, and then System.
  3. Click Advanced System Settings.
  4. Under "User Profiles", click Settings.
  5. Select the profile you want to copy.
  6. Click Copy to, and then enter the name of, or browse to, the profile you want to overwrite. This will usually be in C:\Users\username, where username is the name of the profile to which you are copying.
  7. Click Permitted to use, and then add all user accounts to which you want to give full profile control. Click OK.

Windows XP

Note: If this doesn't match what you see, refer to Get around in Windows.

  1. From the Start menu, select Settings, and then Control Panel. Double-click System.
  2. Click the Advanced tab, and then, under "User Profiles", click Settings.
  3. Click the profile you want to copy, and then click Copy to.
  4. In the Copy To dialog box, click Browse to select the directory to which you want to copy the profile. This will usually be C:\winnt\profiles\username or C:\Documents and Settings\username, where username is the username of the profile to which you are copying. When you've selected the directory, click OK.
  5. Under "Permitted to Use", click Change.
  6. In the field labeled "Enter the object name to select:", enter the username of the user who needs to have rights to view this profile. Click Check Names to make sure that the user is found. If the user is not found, you may need to click Locations... to select the correct domain (or, if it is a local account, to select the computer name), and then click OK.
  7. Click OK twice.
  8. If you are prompted to continue, click Yes. Allow a minute for the system to copy the profile.
  9. In the User Profiles window, click OK, and then click OK again in the System Properties window.

This is document aidk in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2018-01-18 12:33:22.

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