How to create a customized profile in W2K8R2/Win7


Back in the old Windows Terminal Server/Citrix PS days, it was quite easy to make a customized profile and copy it over to the default profile or to your profile management application.

But now in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7, this is not that easy any more, because Microsoft has disabled the feature to copy profiles. The only profile they allow you to copy is the default profile.

The Microsoft official supported way to make customized profiles and copy it to the default profile today, is to use sysprep with an unattend.xml file, as explained here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/973289

But this is not the way to go if you like me are using Citrix Profile management, or just don’t want to sysprep your servers every time you need to do a profile change.
I would like to be able to copy the customized profile to a file share, so I can use the Template Profile policy in Citrix Profile Management. Therefore I started testing different ways of copying the profile, but it always went wrong because of either NTFS permissions or registry permissions. But finally I found an easy way/workaround to how this copy can be done without having NTFS or registry permission problems and here is how I do:

NOTE! THIS IS NOT SUPPORTED BY MICROSOFT!

  1. First make a local template user (tempuser) on your TS/XenApp server and this user to the local administrator group.
  2. Now login as this user and customize the profile – change start menu, pinned taskbar, desktop etc.
  3. Logoff and login as another administrator (This can be you domain admin)
  4. Rename the local default userprofile c:\Users\Default to c:\Users\Default_OLD
  5. Rename the template userprofile c:\Users\tempuser to c:\Users\Default
  6. Now go to Advance System Settings –> User Profiles Setings
  7. Select the “Default Profile” in the list and click “Copy To…
  8. Enter the path to where you want the profile to be copied to
  9. Click on “Change” under “Permitted to use” and add an AD user group which all users who should login to the server are member of.
  10. Click “OK” and the profile will be copied and the permissions will be set in the profile
  11. Now rename the profiles back again, c:\Users\Default to c:\Users\tempuser and c:\Users\Default_OLD to c:\Users\Default

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