Migrating from a Domain to Workgroup (Windows XP)
A little while ago I had the pleasure of moving a handful of computers that at one time had been part of a domain (which was no longer available) to a workgroup. This in itself is not a big deal but the problem was that every user had their settings which I knew could possibly be lost by doing this. It wasn't without glitches but here is what I did:
It is important that you first backup the current user. You should still be able
to login to the computer under the domain which has all the correct settings for
the user. Open up the registry editor by going to Start, Run and typing in
regedit. Once in the registry editor click on the
HKEY_CURRENT_USER and then
export the entire key by going to File, Export and saving the file on the
computer where you'll find it again if needed. I suggest creating a folder for
this specific exercise (e.g.
Next go to Start->All Programs->Accessories->System Tools and
open the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard. Once the program opens click
next and select Old Computer, click next and it will analyze your computer. Once
you're at the Select Transfer method screen select Other, click Browse... and
choose a folder where to store all your settings. Make sure it is in a folder
that will be easily accessible and don't put it on the desktop or my documents
folder as this might become unavailable after you've moved off the domain.
C:\temp\settings is a good idea. Click next and it will ask you
what to transfer, select Both files and settings and click next. It will then
collect all of your settings and save them to the folder you indicated. Once
you've completed this, reboot the computer.
After the computer reboots, login in as Administrator. Once logged in open My
Computer and navigate to
C:\Documents and Settings. There should be a folder
within there named after the username you want to switch over. For example, if
your username on the domain was jsmith and the domain name was ABC then there
should be a folder in
C:\Documents and Settings called
jsmith.ABC or maybe
jsmith. I suggest copying any user folder that contains jsmith. Right
click the folder(s) and select copy. Then go to your backup folder and paste the
folders. You should now have a backup of the registry, the Documents and
Settings Folders, and the backup from the Files and Settings Transfer
Wizard. Make sure if you use a mail program other than Outlook Express that
you know the password for the email account because it might be reset after the
Note: Some program settings may not make the transfer. So if you're favorite program is setup just the way you like it you may want to try exporting the settings yourself or find which registry key holds that information.
You can login in as Administrator or the user, it shouldn't matter.
Right click My Computer, and then click Properties. Click on the Computer Name tab and then click Change... You can rename the computer to anything you like but the important part is that you change the selection from Domain to Workgroup. You can name the workgroup anything you want. For example, in a small business it may make sense to group all sales computers into the Sales workgroup and all management computers into the Management workgroup. When you're done click OK, it may ask you for a password to remove yourself from the domain. The password should be that of an administrator account on the domain. After that you'll have to restart the computer. When it restarts make sure to log back in as Administrator.
Now we have to create a new user. It is possible that a local user already exists under the same username as your domain account so it's up to you it you want to delete that account and start fresh or continue using it. Open the Control Panel again and open User Accounts. Add a new user and by following the screens and when you're done logoff and then log back in using the account you just created.
Click Start->All Programs->Accessories->System Tools and open the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard. Once the program opens click next and select New Computer, click next and it will analyze your computer. On the next screen select the last option, I don't need the Wizard Disk. I have already collected my files and settings from my old computer and click next. Then it will ask you to locate the files and settings, select Other and click Browse... Browse to the folder where you saved all your settings in the Backup step and click Next. The folder name usually contains something like USMT. The program will begin copying your settings over and will then ask you to logoff the account. When you log back in you should have all your settings and files back to normal.
If you use the Outlook email client (not Outlook Express) and your email didn't
make the switch then you'll want to copy over all the files you backed up from
the Documents and Settings folder. I suggest restarting the computer, login as
administrator. Go into the folder where you backed up your Documents and
Settings from your previous account, select all files and folders, right-click
and then click copy. Then navigate to your new accounts Documents and
Settings folder and paste the files and folders into there. An example using
the same names from above: before the switch you backed up
C:\Documents and Settings\jsmith.ABC. After the switch you created a new user
account called jsmith. This created a folder in
C:\Documents and Settings
jsmith. Go into the folder where you backed the old account,
C:\temp\settings\jsmith.ABC and select all the files and folders in that
folder (CTRL-a), and copy (CTRL-c). Navigate to
C:\Documents and Settings\jsmith and paste the files and folders (CTRL-v).
When you log back into your new account the email should now be there.
Lastly, you want to setup any programs that may have lost their settings and map any network drives that may have been disconnected.