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How to migrate local user profiles to domain profiles (programs, too!) - Windows 10, 8 or 7

Learn how to transfer user profiles and applications from one domain to another, including to Windows 10, 8 or 7.

In this article, we'll see how to automatically copy and migrate users from local profiles to domain profiles. You will be able to migrate their files, settings, profile data, and even programs (if needed).

Do you need to switch from one domain to another domain? That guide is here.
Are you looking for a way to migrate an actual Windows server, and not just end-users?
Check out our tutorial for server migration.

When switching from local to domain profiles, you unfortunately do not get to enjoy the usual convenience of domain profiles, roaming profiles, GPOs and other tools that make transitions within a domain that much easier.

The product we will use to simplify our local-to-domain migration is Zinstall Migration Kit Pro. It allows to migrate all contents of the local profile into a domain profile, including files, profiles, settings, personalization, even applications. You can even migrate the user's local Outlook accounts and emails into his new domain Outlook setup (just don't create an Outlook profile on the domain account before the migration, otherwise it will block the local profile).

This process works for Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, 7, Vista and XP (yes, you can transfer Windows 7 local profiles to a Windows 10 domain!)

This process does not disrupt the profile SIDs, and transfers settings in a way that is identical to a human operator manually transferring data and reconfiguring settings.

Zinstall Enterprise Migration Suite

The only caveat is that since you are going from local to domain, you can only migrate one profile at a time - not all profiles on the source machine in one shot.

Note: The guide below assumes that you are transferring from an old workstation with the local profile to a new domain machine. If the migration is happening on same physical machine, the process is still the same, you will just use the Kit to capture the source machine into a container backup stored on shared storage, before deploying back to target machine.

How to transfer from local user to domain profile

  1. Log in as the intended local user (WORKGROUP\USER) on the source machine
  2. Log in as the replacement, new domain user (NEW-DOMAIN\USER) on the target machine
  3. Run Zinstall Migration Kit Pro on both machines
    Note: You can find the Kit's user guide here.
  4. You can do the transfer either directly between the machines (over the network), or first capture the source into a container, store it on a network share, and then deploy on the target. This last option works even if the machines are not in the same physical location, or if you are doing an in-place switch on the same physical machine.
  5. If you do NOT want to transfer programs, and are only interested in a profile transfer, switch the radio button on the main screen to "profile and settings only" mode.
  6. If you'd like to select exactly what you want to transfer, press the Advanced menu. If you just want to transfer everything, you don't need to go to the Advanced menu.
  7. Press "Go" on the new computer to start the transfer
  8. The transfer will take a while (depending on how much data you have to transfer), and report to you when done.

Note that you can also use the Kit in a command-line mode, which is useful in SCCM and other management tools integration.

That's it! The profile contents are transferred to the new domain's user profile - and the migration is complete.

Ready to transfer your users to a new domain? Get Zinstall Migration Kit Pro here (or contact us for volume discounts).

Video tutorial - migrating local user profiles and programs to a new computer