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Lost user profile

Windows Vista Business

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-17-2009

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Lost user profile
My laptop (running vista business) was part of my old company's network. I have since left the company, but made no changes to my laptop user account which showed my user account as belonging to the company's network domain. I wished to create a home workgroup, so changed the computer name/domain by clicking start - computer (right click) - properties - advanced system settings - computer name - change and then changed from 'member of (my company domain)' to 'workgroup (my new home workgroup)'.

On reboot my old company user logon was not available. I logged onto the computer using an old user account, but now don't have access to any of the files etc that were created using the network domain user account. The user account has disappeared from the list of users in user account settings.

I had taken the precaution of creating a backup of all files prior to doing this, but restoring the files does not give me access to those I have lost.

I seem to have lost everything I have worked on for the last 6 months, so it is rather important that I recover the data. Any clues please?

Last edited by confusus : 03-17-2009 at 11:44. Reason: spulling mistale
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Old 03-17-2009

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Re: Lost user profile
OK, after some fiddling I have found that I can access my old data by using Windows Explorer and looking under computer\c:\users\username.DOMAIN, as I have administrator rights. I have sucessully copied my desktop, favorites and contacts to my new local user account, but for some reason there is not a folder marked 'documents' as there is for all of the local users. Where do I find my documents for this user?
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Old 03-31-2009

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Re: Lost user profile
its a new technology, will hope to get bigger soon. its a good post.
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Old 06-25-2009

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Re: Lost user profile
I joined Vistaheads today specifically to post a solution to the problem outlined above -- losing user account(s) / login(s) / profile(s) upon switching from belonging to a domain to belonging to a workgroup.

I made this switch and didn't realize the implications until afterward.

I found a lot of misinformation on this topic so please be careful.

There is a simple solution that worked for me:

0) When Windows Vista boots up you should have the option to login in as "admin" or "administrator" -- either choice will work but the word will start with little "a". On my machine, I also had the option to logon as "Administrator" (capital "A") however that was password-protected and I did not know the password. "admin" or "administrator" should have no password protection, just select one and if it asks for password, leave it blank and hit Enter.

1) Go to System Restore and choose a restore point before you switched from a domain to a workgroup. (I tried this step a few times with various restore points but my system was unable to restore the previous settings this way).

2) If Step #1 does not work, reboot your PC and tap the F8 key a few times right before Windows starts up. This will take you to a DOS-like screen with options that include "Safe Mode".

3) While there are variants of Safe Mode (e.g., Safe Mode with Networking...) choose the simple "Safe Mode" and hit Enter.

4) Your machine will boot into Windows Vista. Don't worry that screen resolution (and other things) looks ugly.

5) Now run System Restore and, again, choose a restore date before you changed from a domain to a workgroup.

6) let System Restore run (it takes awhile), eventually your machine will reboot and it should take you to the CTL-ALT-DEL screen.

7) Hold down these three keys (Control, Alt, Delete) simultaneously (yes, I know this is Windows 101) and it should take you to your original login screen and you will once again be part of the domain you were previously part of.

8) All of your user settings, desktop icons, browser favorites, etc., should be back to normal.

The benefit of this approach is that, if for some reason it does not work, you can always back in System Restore and select Undo.

Please DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT edit the registry (regedit) unless you have considerable experience working with the registry. If you don't have expertise in registry editing, chances are you will do 10x damage to your system than you have already done. Find someone with this expertise if you think editing the registry is required.

My next step is figuring out how to access by home network printer without having to change my settings from domain to workgroup...

If I do that successfully, I will post that here.
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Old 06-26-2009

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Re: Lost user profile
As promised, I'm replying with the answer re: how to access my home network printer without having to change my settings from domain to workgroup...

First of all, someone at Microsoft should lose their job for all of this. It's just ridiculously complicated and there is a trail of blood and tears all over the internet due to this.

The general solution that seems to work for most people can be found at the following link:

Consider It Fixed: Printer Sharing Problem in Windows Vista

Of course, the general solution did not work for me. If the general solution above does not work for you, print out the article above.

Follow each step in the general solution until you get to the part where it says:

"manually add a new Local Port as follows: \\computer_name\shared_printer_name"

If this does not work, you get an error, a security warning, etc., do the following:

0) Make sure your Windows Vista PC and Windows XP PC are both connected to the network.

1) Shut down your firewall

2) Go to your Windows XP computer

3) Start

4) Run

5) Type "cmd" in the box

6) Type "ipcong"

7) Write down your IP Address (example:

8) Type "exit"

9) Start button

10) Settings

11) Control Panel

12) Printers and Faxes

13) Click on the Sharing tab

14) Write down the EXACT name of the printer shown there. (Important note: for me, the printer name was slightly different from what was showing up on my Windows Vista PC after I installed the drivers per the article above.

After this, I was able to go to my Windows Vista machine where I left off from the article posted above and type the path my IP address and printer name:

Example: \\\LaserJet 1200

and finally connect to my home network printer from my Windows Vista PC and start printing.

Absolutely crazy...
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