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  1. #1
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    Duplicating User Accounts (Pro)

    Well I finally got time to try copying one user settings to another via (my computer - properties - advanced - user profiles. I wasn't very successful! Here are my conclusions:

    1. The same job can be achieved by right clicking on the start button opening up the documents and settings folder and copying settings from one user to another - I still think you need to be logged on as a third user. Also I'm currently showing all files and folders even hidden ones.

    2. Copying settings only seems to work if the user accounts are at the same level. I tried to copy from an account with administrator privileges to one with 'power user' privileges and a lot of stuff was missing after copying (read nearly everything).

    3. I copied settings from one account with full administrative privileges to another and then change the privileges on the second account to that of 'power user' - the desktop changed from classic to Windows XP and most of the programs, shortcuts, desktop layout etc disappeared again.

    Basically I can't find a way to copy settings from one kind of account to another unless they have the same privileges - but the whole point of the exercise was to end up with the same settings in an account that had less privileges - as a security measure.

    Has anyone else had any greater success migrating/duplicating user settings? Perhaps I should copied the settings into the 'all users' folder?

    I'm stuck again! <img src=/S/confused.gif border=0 alt=confused width=15 height=20>

    Chris

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Duplicating User Accounts (Pro)

    Chris, let me have another go at it here and let you know what happens. A few months ago, I went in through My Computer, Properties, Advanced, User Profiles and it worked OK. I was logged on as the built-in Administrator and copied MY profile to my SON's with what I thought was success. I have administrator privileges and his is a limited account. I must admit I don't remember if I checked every aspect of his bootup, but I do remember looking at the desktop, start menu and systray and all seemed to be the same as mine. I also looked at Users to make sure his account was still listed as "limited" and it was. I will do the process again and see what happens. May not get to it today, though.

    On a similar note, I often set up multi-user computers at work for teacher assistants and interns to use. I usually do all the setup and software installation while logged on to the DOMAIN as myself (I'm a domain administrator). When I get ready, I have each user logon (since we don't share passwords) and logoff. I then do the above procedure to make each profile look the same at that starting point. Seems to work OK there in a domain environment also.

    I'll be back.....

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Duplicating User Accounts (Pro)

    I lied - I'm back! Couldn't stand the suspense. I hope this doesn't become too long winded, but here goes. In order to do something I've been meaning to do for some time, I logged on as built-in Administrator and created a NEW user account called BigAl for everyday use (limited account, with password). Then I logged off as Administrator and logged on as BigAl, since the logon is what creates the profile directory in Documents and Settings. Again logged off as BigAl and back on as Administrator and COPIED my AEH profile to BigAl. The AEH profile has full administrator privileges. There's a double-shot attachment showing the user profile copying screen and another of the in-process copying function, since I want to ask you two questions about your attempt at this.

    After you did your browse to locate the destination profile, did you click on that CHANGE button and type in the name of the user permitted to use this profile? I don't know if the process would fail or work incorrectly if you did not. Also, when the copying process starts, it takes several minutes to complete but you may not see the hourglass if you move your mouse pointer off the window. I had to watch the hard drive light to make sure I KNEW that it was still copying. Here too, I don't know what would happen if you click OK and it's still copying files.

    As for after the fact, I logged on as BigAl and as far as I can tell, everything is an exact dupe of my AEH profile - desktop, start menu, startup programs, QuickLaunch, tray, etc. I tried to delete a few files on a data storage partition and XP wouldn't let me do it because they were placed there as "AEH" - just some data files! Good behaviour for a limited account! I opened Users in Control Panel and all it shows me is BigAl, no one else. I then opened Computer Management, Users and Groups and attempted to assign a "description" field to the BigAl profile and was denied. All of which tells me that the BigAl profile DOES NOT carry the administrator privileges of AEH - which is what I intended.

    Whew! Take a breath, Al..... What'cha say, do you think it's worth trying again? If you do, maybe we could talk some more about what nuances you see between the two profiles.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
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    Re: Duplicating User Accounts (Pro)

    Thanks, Big Al. I'll have another go. I didn't use the change button - without that it appears there are no nuances in the differences between the two accounts, just Grand Canyon sized holes. XP didn't even manage to get the kind of startup menu right (changing it from classic to default XP). Actually, I didn't log on and off but I did restart the computer - I found that just logging on and logging back on wasn't sufficient - the copy button remained greyed out. Anyway, I'll let you know what happens! <img src=/S/crossfingers.gif border=0 alt=crossfingers width=17 height=16>

    Chris

  5. #5
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    Re: Duplicating User Accounts (Pro)

    Well I had a go and met with partial success. The desktop settings and taskbar look were carried over, but most of the programs and program shortcuts are missing. I'm beginning to wonder if I require another strategy. The idea is to be using a limited account when I go online for added security. I'd still like to be able to customise programs and see those customisations reflected in all accounts. I feel I should be using the all-user account but I'm not sure how. I guess my understanding remains limited. <img src=/S/frown.gif border=0 alt=frown width=15 height=15>

    Chris

  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Duplicating User Accounts (Pro)

    Ahhh, the <img src=/w3timages/censored.gif alt=censored border=0> Start Menu and Desktop phenom again! My experience with that started a few years ago when I had my first hands-on with Windows 2000, so I was a bit prepared when XP came along. As far as I know, you can do the following without danger. What I did was via Windows Explorer, even if you want to open two instances, vertically tile 'em and do a little dragging and dropping. I did it by right button-dragging (move, not copy) ALL the contents of each {user} Start Menu and Desktop to the {all users} Start Menu and Desktop. Just answer YES or OK to any dupe warnings. The only file I wasn't sure about was the blasted desktop.ini file, so I deleted it and let XP re-create it for me.

    From that point on, I just periodically review the Start Menu and Desktop folders to make sure things stay in line. Did you make a check or two like I did to make sure your "daily" account is, in fact, a limited one? Sounds to me like you're pretty close to "there!"

  7. #7
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    Re: Duplicating User Accounts (Pro)

    Hi Big Al - I think today has been a case of one step forward five steps backwards! I did as you suggested regarding moving the contents of the start menus and destops to the All Users account (?) and need up with a horrible mess. I seemed to ave two of everything on my administrative level desktop - what was really weird was the names were exactly the same - I thought that was impossible! When I checked the limited user account there was nothing there at all and the start menu had switched from Classic to XP default again. A couple of programs started acting funny and I traced it to the fact that they don't like their shortcuts being in the All-Users program start-up menu! In the end I had to hit system restore to undo the mess. Foolishly I'd forgotten to do a system restore before launching into the process and my latest restore point was before I'd created the Limited User account so I'm back where I started! <img src=/S/brickwall.gif border=0 alt=brickwall width=25 height=15> I hope I remember to use system restore in future. Actually I was advised on the Acid user's forum to disable system restore as apparently it can interfere with music making - though I'm not sure how.

    But not everything was doom and gloom. I got hooked up to a broadband connection today and that is out of this world compared to a 56 KB modem. I'm more aware than ever of the need to secure my computer with high speed connections on the go. I'm pretty sure I can work out what I did wrong and I'm aiming to fix it tomorrow. I'll let you know how I get on. I suspect the desktop went extra funny because I wasn't careful enough about the desktop.ini files. Any road up, it's a learning experience! <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    All the best,

    Chris

  8. #8
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    Re: Duplicating User Accounts (Pro)

    From the description of the duplication on the desktop, Chris, it sounds like you COPIED, not MOVED. That was how I learned - I initially ended up with dupe icons on the desktop. As far as the Start Menu shortcuts, I don't understand that one. But, you said only a couple that you traced the problem. What did you look at that showed you the problem. Start Menu shortcuts should point to the file and folder of the program they execute. I dunno, maybe it was the .INI file. Or maybe you have some stuff on your start menu that DOES point to the user folder - which would mean a little editing. Whew! Sorry this is not going more easily for you.

  9. #9
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    Re: Duplicating User Accounts (Pro)

    Nope - I definitely moved! After I finished there were no folders in the default Administrator folder and the user folders I had created. Everything was in the All Users folder. Regarding the two programs - Wordweb and Creative Element Power Tools (CEPT) they were opening automatically rather than being present. From past correspondence with Creative Element I discovered that the shortcut for that program shouldn't be in the All-Users folder and the same seems to go for Wordweb. It must be something to do with the way these two programs install themselves. I'll crack it!

    All the best,

    Chris

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