- Sun, Jan 12 2020 at 1:55 am #1554456
I’d like to work on a script that would be able to backup/restore most of user specific settings during Windows upgrade or reinstallation, like Outlook accounts, etc. For that I would need your help.
Please comment what common application you manage for your users, what are the user specific settings and where are those settings stored (registry key, file path).
- Sun, Jan 12 2020 at 7:10 pm #1554458
Most of these settings are stored in ntuser.dat in the user profile. When a user logs on, Windows loads this in into HKEY_CURRENT_USER. If you want to inspect the ntuser.dat of a specific user you can load it into you registry editor.
If you want to see where your applications store changes, you can use Process Monitor.
The problem is that is these changes can be quite complex. I somehow doubt that you can really solve this problem with a script. It might work for a while if your environment is simple, but you will always be busy adapting your script.
In theory, Windows should use these settings after an upgrade if you load the user profile, for instance, if you work with roaming user profiles. However, in my experience this process is very unreliable because the entire concept is flawed.
The best way is to minimize what users can configure and deploy everything with Group Policy.0
- Sun, Jan 12 2020 at 10:31 pm #1554459
The initiative here is more less for random user coming to your door from time to time asking for PC reinstallation.
For example I was trying to search for my imap server configured in my Outlook profile in registry, but did not find anything.. Weird .)0
- Mon, Jan 13 2020 at 1:16 am #1554472
You can run Process Monitor and then add an IMAP account to Outlook.
If you don’t want to work with roaming user profiles, you have to restore ntuser.dat after reinstalling Windows.0
- Mon, Jan 13 2020 at 1:18 am #1554473
Hm, have you ever tried that? Won’t there be any issue if some application will be missing in the new installation?
I guess such option would not be usable if the case was Windows 7 to Windows 10 upgrade.0
- Mon, Jan 13 2020 at 2:08 am #1554474
This is what happening if you work with roaming user profiles. When the user logs on the first time after an upgrade, the old user profile including ntuser.dat will be downloaded. We did this many times. Sometimes it can cause problems. Then you have to delete the user profile locally and on the server and restore user files without ntuser.dat. If you didn’t automate the deployment of user settings with Group Policy, you have to manually configure the machine.0
- Mon, Jan 13 2020 at 7:33 am #1554475
In my experience, roaming profiles are difficult to use without sometimes having unexpected problems. I prefer to configure user profile and store user data to the cloud. So when you have to move user profile to a new pc, you will have only to migrate few user local data, instead data and mail will be deployed form the cloud to the new computer.0
- Mon, Jan 13 2020 at 9:27 am #1554476
Maybe I did not express myself correctly. The intention is to be able to migrate profile settings of home user/random customer coming to my door, who has no domain or GPO 🙂
So I guess that would not be possible with NTUSER.DAT restore as the SID is different after reinstallation.0
- Mon, Jan 13 2020 at 5:45 pm #1554478
- Mon, Jan 13 2020 at 7:48 pm #1554479
Leos, in this case the standard procedure is to simply upgrade Windows. All settings should be available after the installation.
If you want a clean install, then really do a clean install and allow the applications to store their settings in the registry. Guessing what settings you need to transfer and then mess with the registry using a script will most likely create an unstable system.0
- Tue, Jan 14 2020 at 12:37 am #1554481
@Michael, Thanks. I supposed that something was not working on nested comments. 🙂0
- Tue, Jan 14 2020 at 2:37 am #1554491
@Leos, in case of a simply upgrade all existing data will have maintained after Windows 10 upgrad, unless of course if you proceed with a clean installation.
In case you have to migrate data to a new pc there are different items to backup like Personal folders, User’s Desktop (files, folders, shortcuts), My Documents, My Pictures, My Music and My Videos, download folder and User’s desktop wall papers.
Hope it helps.0
- Tue, Jan 14 2020 at 2:40 am #1554492
I dont like the in-place upgrade and never did like it 🙂 I have seen a lot of troubles due to such procedure.
About the folders its clear. I am more thinking like a person having several mailboxes in Outlook, etc. This is quite cumbersome to transfer manually 🙁0
- Tue, Jan 14 2020 at 2:42 am #1554493
And other items to backup on enterprise computers :
Network drives connections
Java security sites exceptions list0
- Tue, Jan 14 2020 at 2:47 am #1554494
Hi Leos, in this case it could be a good idea use a specific tool , for example PC Mover by Laplink. Good tool to move all data including Outlook mailboxes. 🙂0
- Tue, Jan 14 2020 at 2:49 am #1554495
Hehe noone from home users will pay extra 30-50$ to have everything exactly as it was .)0
- Tue, Jan 14 2020 at 4:53 am #1554497
ok, try User Profile Wizard 3.17 by ForensIT, a free tool for personal use. I don’t think is able to migrate Outlook PST files, but it can help you to migrate the main user data.0
- Tue, Jan 14 2020 at 9:58 am #1554503
Thanks I will try that and let you know 🙂0
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