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How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Oct 18

Written by:
10/18/2011 10:19 PM  RssIcon

There seem to be quite much confusion on how CopyProfile works in Windows 7. The major source for the confusion is that the Windows AIK documentation is incorrect. I felt it was about to write a post on how it really works  :)

The scenario is that you want make configurations to the default user profile. The CopyProfile feature in the unattend.xml file is just one of many ways to do that. In the Resources section I have put links to other methods, not covered in this post.

CopyProfile

In the Windows 7 unattend.xml there is a CopyProfile value you can set to true. If you set the CopyProfile to True in the Specialize Pass of the unattend.xml file used to deploy your image, the administrator profile in your image will be copied to default user.

Please note that the copy happens when you deploy the image, not when sysprep runs (like the WAIK documentation incorrecly states).

Step-by-Step Guide

If you are using MDT 2010 Step 1 - 3 are done automatically, but I explain them anyway

  1. Deploy Windows 7 to a virtual machine, make sure you only have one single enabled account, the local administrator account (see Limitations).
  2. Customize the administrator profile as you want it to be
  3. Sysprep the machine and capture it
  4. Deploy the captured image by running setup.exe with an answer file where the CopyProfile is set to True in the Unattend.xml (Specialize Pass).

Note: Make sure not to have copyprofile at all in the Unattend.xml used to create the reference image. Only in the Unattend.xml used to deploy it.


Update 2013-09-20: Check the MTD 2012 / 2013 tips and tricks videos on how to enable CopyProfile as part of your MDT 2012 / 2013 deployments.





Limitations

All Customizations to Default User Profile Lost

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2101557

Additional Resources

Configuring Default User Settings – Full Update for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

http://blogs.technet.com/b/deploymentguys/archive/2009/10/29/configuring-default-user-settings-full-update-for-windows-7-and-windows-server-2008-r2.aspx

How to customize the default local user profile when you prepare an image of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/973289



/ Johan

27 comment(s) so far...


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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Thank you.

Am I wrong if I say you can't keep the taskbar customization with copyprofile? Such a pity ...

By Martony on   10/20/2011 1:27 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Nope, you're are very much correct... You cannot configure pin to task bar, notification area icons, default list of recently used programs in the start menu, keyboard, language and regional settings in the default profile.

/ Johan

By Arwidmark on   10/20/2011 11:28 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Check out this script:
I have used it in"thick" (applications installed in the WIM) images to pin the items onto a taskbar that the client wants once deployed:
theitbros.com/copy-taskbar-icons-windows-7-sysprep

By stealth on   2/1/2012 9:26 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Our setup:
MDT 2012; Windows 7 and XP clients
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hello Johan,
Please, I need some help here.

Business requirement:

1. set computer name as part of deployment. Namining convension = XXXXLT7LHG5BS ; first four letters are location code, I have created code for remaining part i.e. Is Laptop or Desktop and Serial number
2. a sebset of application to be deployed only to few bunisess units
3. a sebset of application to be deployed only to few countries
4. There should be a option to select language pack and install only if selected.


Technical requirement:

1. Menu for end user to enter four letter location code. This location code is used to frame the computer name as well as deploy some of the application. So we need logic to store the entry and reuse within task sequence conditions.
2. Menu to choose / select business unit. We have 5 business unit. Program/ script should have capability to save the selected bunisess unit variable for application or task execution
3. Menu for end user to enter four letter location code. Program/ script should have capability to save the country variable for application or task execution. Almost like item 1
4. Menu to choose / select language pack. Program/ script should have capability to save the selected language pack if selected, for application or task execution

We cannot use MDT database by the nature of deployment type to be supported i.e. mostly CD or USB based deployments.
TIA.

By saranrajappa on   3/1/2012 3:28 PM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Hi,

The question is outside the scope of this post but i will answer anyway... The MDT framework can absolutely do what you are asking for, without using the database, but you need to customize the wizard because the default wizard (xml/hta) does not have those additional panes.

/ Johan

By Arwidmark on   3/1/2012 10:07 PM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

HI Johan,

I really need great help regarding copy profile; I have successfully copied administrator profile to default and captured the image with WDS. I have deployed the Image through wds the profile works perfectly however when I import this customized WIM to MDT 2010 so that I can deploy this Customized Image with task sequence , after I deploy the Image I don’t see the default profile customized by me it again changes as per the default windows 7 profile. I lose all my settings on desktop including icons and some other settings.
Please help me:

By sahil848 on   8/17/2012 4:02 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

The admin profile is copied during deployment of the image (assuming you have set the copyprofile to true in the MDT unattend.xml).

The only thing you need to do on the reference image (before sysprepping and capture) is to customize the administrator profile (no copying at this point).

/ Johan

By Arwidmark on   8/21/2012 12:12 PM
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skype for windows 7

Does anyone know how to implement skype for windows 7 when working on the virtual machine?
windows7.iyogi.com/news/version-1-of-skype-app-hits-windows-phone/

By robertclan on   12/1/2012 1:25 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Johan, I'm working with windows XP SP3, and I can't seem to get the admin profile to copy to the default user. I've been reading around and I've found information saying to place UpdateServerProfileDirectory=1 into the [unattended] section of the sysprep.ini. I have it placed in the sysprep.ini of my sysprep & capture task sequence, but when I deploy, the admin profile doesn't seem to copy. Is this line supposed to go somewhere else... in my task sequence used in deploying, perhaps? Any help would be great!!

By joe8878 on   2/8/2013 12:34 PM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Setting UpdateServerProfileDirectory=1 is all you need to do, but it needs to be in the sysprep.inf file (not sysprep.ini), and the sysprep.inf that is actually used when deploying the image.

/ Johan

By Arwidmark on   2/11/2013 7:53 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Not sure if this is still live, but here goes..
Using WDS for Win7 deployment. Have sysprep'd/captured Win7 reference PC to WDS, and depoyed that install image to a new machine. In the answer file on WDS I use copyprofile to copy the Administrator account (used to prep the Win 7 box) to the default account. I also include the creation of a new local admin account, sysadmin.
When I try to log in as (local) sysadmin on the newly deployed PC, I get "user profile service failed the logon", profile cannot be loaded.
To my simplistic way of thinking, surely a new local profile should be created for sysadmin, from the default profile, when I first log in?
Any thoughts would be appreciated...

By mikelj on   8/18/2013 9:32 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

I haven't tried having the unattend.xml creating a new user account during the deployment in cómbination with CopyProfile. However, logging in a new domain user after deployment works fine.

/ Johan

By Arwidmark on   8/24/2013 9:49 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Hey... Is it possible to copy the administrator profile into a deployed image? - So we dont have to customize the profile every time we make a new capture?

Michael

By Michael on   9/20/2013 1:01 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

There are a few other option listed in the "Additional Resources" section. I normally use snapshots in my vm's to reduce the time for extra configurations.

/ Johan

By Arwidmark on   9/20/2013 1:09 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Thanks for this post Johan, I've used it and as far as I can tell it's working. For example, the desktop background and screensaver that I set are copied to the new profile.

However, some local policy changes that I made on my golden image aren't being copied to each new profile. I'm not sure if that's expected or not - is there any where to read up more about what is included in Copy Profile and what isn't?

Perhaps I'm approaching this the wrong way, is there a better way to deploy these local policy changes to the deployed machines?
(in this situation, we're preparing some machines that will be living off the domain, so local policy is the only way to reach them - I think!)

Are some of the local policy edits made on the golden image brought across to deployed machines? None?

thanks!

By edanto on   11/7/2013 10:03 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

You can use GPO Packs (create via Security Compliance Manafer) to deploy local policies during a deployment.

As far as listing of what settings that gets captured using copyprofile, I haven't seen any... I did remember seeing a video by Raymond Comvalius covering a few things that was not captured...

/ Johan

By Arwidmark on   11/7/2013 11:41 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Once you've deployed an image with CopyProfile set to true is it possible to revert this setting?

The issue I have is that we have deployed a number of machines and we have discovered that a single application uses an old part of the HKCU area of the registry which gets populated with 'Administrator' items which the logged on user does not have access rights to (in this case a legacy entry point to 'Temporary Internet Files') and each new user that logs on gets the same 'tattooed' items in the registry.

I have tested setting CopyProfile to False on a new build and this resolves the problem but my question remains - does anyone know how to revert this on a machine without rebuilding?

JC

By jonconwayuk on   3/19/2014 1:51 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Hi JC,

Once the profile is created, it's created, but you can script changes to the registry, even permissions.

/ Johan

By Arwidmark on   3/19/2014 3:05 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Yeah I thought that might be the case. The way I've worked around this is to build a machine with CopyProfile set to false. From this 'good' machine I copy the Default User profile to a network share. Any machines that were built with CopyProfile enabled are having to be manually fixed by copying this 'exported' Default User profile over the top of the one on the tainted machine. This has been tested and works fine - any new builds have CopyProfile switched to False now so eventually this issue will go away :-)

By jonconwayuk on   3/20/2014 1:25 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Hey Johan, thanks for the video. Instead of doing the suspend, could you in theory have a VM that you have completed the deploy process on, then afterwards run a sysprep and capture sequence on it?

By jwood.mls on   3/26/2014 12:54 PM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

The sysprep and capture only TS is not very reliable so I have stayed away from it... The Suspend action always works

/ Johan

By Arwidmark on   3/31/2014 3:42 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Systempropertiesperfomance! I need to turn off all of the settings for better perfomance. copy profile works, but doesn't apply the settings for windows 7.

it copies the registry settings as far as I can tell, but doesn't appear to apply them. there has to be a better way!

Scripting perhaps... but in my scenario, I cannot reboot the computer!

By caninekilo on   5/9/2014 3:21 PM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

I have seen a few orgs using AutoIT to set this configuration automatically.

/ Johan

By Arwidmark on   5/19/2014 3:31 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Hello Johan,

Thank you for the article, I was looking at TechNet White Paper, TechNet Forum though I was looking at incorrect instructions on Microsoft Websites. After researching a couple of days then found your article says "Note: Make sure not to have copyprofile at all in the Unattend.xml used to create the reference image. Only in the Unattend.xml used to deploy it." Now It makes sense why this has to be done when deploying an image NOT sysprepping a template.

Just wondered one of the reasons why I need to retain the custom default profile after deploying is to provide input language bar (with 20 different input languages, defaulting EN-AU) to the users. I have searched some of user settings are not inherited through CopyProfile option though would you know if the input languages are?

Thanks in advance,

By Douwa08 on   6/10/2014 12:36 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Language settings are unfortuntately, as you discovered, not part of the copyprofile feature. You have to edit the registry during deployment the predefine those. That being said, some language packs (like Swedish) did have issues initially that has been corrected by updates.

/ Johan

By Arwidmark on   6/10/2014 12:58 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Johan,
Is it possible to do this all in two steps? #1 Do the modifications to admin - sysprep/close image - restart with a copyprofile=true XML. Would you now have a single instance of W7 running with the default profile (as best as W7 is capable) having your customizations? Obviously keeping everything Local/off domain.
#2 Next sysprep/close this single instance up as your gold. No longer needing to manage copyprofile settings but the default profile is setup. Also, if there is a W7 limitation to be addressed you're working on a gold that just requires you to figure out what scripts etc. you need.
Or am I over complicating??

By mi11ard on   7/8/2014 6:17 AM
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Re: How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Nope, you should always capture in image after sysprep, not booting back up... I recommend adding a script to the task sequence that does your config, or use group policy/preferences for the settings.

/ Johan

By Arwidmark on   7/10/2014 3:49 PM