User profile partially "corrupted", how to migrate to a new one?


  1. Posts : 72
    Windows 10
       #1

    User profile partially "corrupted", how to migrate to a new one?


    It seems that sometimes Windows 10 user profiles get corrupted. Small problems here and there. Nothing fixes the problems and you have to create a new profile. What is the best way to "copy" or "clone" stuff from the old profile to the new one?

    I already have most programs installed for "All users", I think. So it's more about all the tons of customizations I have done. Like Windows Settings, taskbar customization, startup items etc. How do I transfer all that to a new user profile?

    (I tried already ForensiT User Profile Wizard but that went horribly wrong. For some reason it completely destroyed my profile and didn't copy anything useful to a new one. Luckily a System Restore was able to restore things for me.)

    Bonus question: once the new profile is working perfectly (with all old settings and everything), is there a way to delete the broken profile and then rename the new profile's user folder to the old C:\Users\Username folder?
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  2. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,035
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #2

    Hi, answer to last part is.. you've won a tutorial
    Change Name of User Profile Folder in Windows 10 | Windows 10 Tutorials

    from
    Windows 10 Tutorial Index | Windows 10 Tutorials
    - which you can browse and search -worth bookmarking.

    I've not experienced problems as you describe with user profiles, fortunately.
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  3. Posts : 72
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #3

    I read that thread. So, it is high risk stuff changing the name of the user profile folder. This is supposed to be a new, stable computer so I don't think I can take that kind of risks.

    I started trying to build my settings into a new user profile. It's almost the same as reinstalling the whole windows. All my audio (DAW) settings are gone etc., so much is gone in a new user profile. 3 weeks of set up work, too much.

    Is it theoretically possible to clone a profile so that everything is in place in the clone? (Not cloning whole Windows but just a profile in Windows.)
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  4. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,035
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #4

    Realistically your only options are the usual ones.

    a. System Restore- if you have a suitable restore point and you know roughly when the problem occurred and you notice the problem before your oldest relevant restore point has been replaced by a later one...and if restoring actually succeeds -it's rather unreliable.

    b. Use disk imaging routinely - e.g. Macrium Reflect (free).
    This can be run manually or on a schedule.

    As this typically uses a base image (initial image) + subsequent 'updates') - differential (free) or incremental (licensed only) images, the base image is always retained unless you choose to delete it.

    However, restoring an image means restoring EVERyTHING on the partition to as it was at the date of the image- including data.

    The very act of imaging a partition verifies the integrity (CRC checks) of the used part of the partition, so can alert you to corruption.

    A user profile is very complex, from the registry through numerous folders under the user profile to the relevant permissions, desktop, start menu....

    Another thing worth doing is to run a disk monitor program that alerts you to disk degradation and potential failure.

    Discussion:
    copying user profile or cloning a user account windows 10 - Microsoft Community
    Windows Easy Transfer in windows 10 - Microsoft Community

    There are 3rd party tools that migrate whole installations including user profiles of course to another Windows installation. (Easeus, Laplink). I've done this 2 or 3 times and it's been mostly very successful.

    That includes programs, settings, data...

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  5. Posts : 72
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #5

    Wow that's some very good information. It happens that I was now able to pinpoint the source of my problem with Event Viewer so I got it! However, it's really good to understand the contents of a user profile and the risks involved in migrating. Very interesting, if it is indeed sometimes possible to migrate without problems or without causing greater instability.
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  6. Posts : 38,421
    windows 10 professional version 1607 build 14393.969 64 bit
       #6

    What was found in the event viewer?

    If there is no image backup and if there is no system restore point that predates the corruption:
    One option is to perform an in place upgrade repair to start from a fresh baseline.
    Repair Install Windows 10 with an In-place Upgrade | Windows 10 Tutorials
    Then create a new user and spend the time to customize the new user account.
    The corrupted user account is no longer used.
    Unfortunately this takes time but it is a work around to the corrupted users account.

    Before working in the registry it is best to have important files backed up an a backup image.
    In addition make a fresh registry backup.

    If you choose to delete the corrupted users profile see this link:
    Corrupt User Profile: Fix for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10
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  7. Posts : 72
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #7

    nvcontainer.exe did something in the "bad" user profile that it did not do at all in the new user profile. I found out that by comparing Event Viewer listings. So that revealed a more specific source to the problem (while the initial error message only mentioned explorer.exe).

    I think in this case it is more like a bug in software rather than unresolvable corruption (well, it's a question of how to define it). For the system restore, I was at the very beginning of my new Windows installation process when there was yet no error. Then the error appeared but I continued installations because it was very difficult to guess at that point that it would be so difficult to get rid of that problem. I had so many unrelated simultaneous problems, it was impossible to know what to do next. And before long, I was at point where it didn't make a difference whether to do system restore or complete clean installation of Windows. Also, clean installation is very close to creating a new profile.

    In-place upgrade: that might've possibly worked. I'm actually not sure what I would've lost (assuming the problem itself would've gone away), not sure if audio programs (DAW) would've lost plugin installations or not etc. Maybe I would've not lost much, but maybe the problem would've not gone away either.

    But anyway, this has all been educational. I'm going to set up a complete (maybe weekly) backup of C: next.
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  8. Posts : 38,421
    windows 10 professional version 1607 build 14393.969 64 bit
       #8

    The in place upgrade repair typically fixes operating system problems.
    It may fix some registry problems but cannot be used as a tool to fix registry problems.
    It may fix some problems with the start menu.

    The in place upgrade repair resets customized settings to default.
    So any customized settings need to be reset.

    If you have any further problems you can run the BETA log collector and the log files can be troubleshooted.
    There are two log collectors DM and BETA.
    The beta log collector is near the bottom of this web page:
    BSOD - Posting Instructions - Windows 10 Forums
    (extract all > open)


    There is another method to go back in time if the registry is corrupted ( a problem with a user)
    That is using regback.
    The regback method is used most often for failure to boot when all other steps fail.
    The regback can be scheduled or performed manually.
    If the date of the regback predates the problem with the user this may be a method to fix the problematic user.
    It is a step that I thought about but had never needed. Others may have used this method but I've not yet seen the method used in this fashion.
    Last edited by zbook; 06 Oct 2018 at 19:38.
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  9. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,035
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #9

    There is another method to go back in time if the registry is corrupted ( a problem with a user)
    That is using regback.
    The regback method is used most often for failure to boot when all other steps fail.
    The regback can be scheduled or performed manually.
    If the date of the regback predates the problem with the user this may be a method to fix the problematic user.
    It is a step that I thought about but had never needed. Others may have used this method but I've not yet seen the method used in this fashion.
    I did actually have a poster use this a couple of times where the PC became unbootable, successfully. However, as I've recently discovered, perhaps starting with 1709, the scheduled task RegIdleBackup may no longer have a trigger assigned, so no backup is created.

    Restoring the registry backup alone is not ideal, as it could lead to inconsistencies, depending on what was under way when the PC became unbootable.

    I've confirmed the missing trigger now with 3 members, and by inference, in another recent thread.
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