Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Windows Profile Woes

After struggling for months with folders magically changing ownership (first noticed when iTunes couldn't save podcasts) and messages saying the roaming profile did not synchronize completely, I believe I've found the problem. Apparently, Windows profiles changed (though I don't understand how this affects me since although I did an upgrade install of Win7 from Vista, my machine never ran XP or earlier). The migration was failing because there wasn't enough hard drive space to copy all my music, documents, everything twice to do the migration. Though even once I resolved the issues preventing the sync (by moving to a temporary folder in C), it still didn't perform the sync. What I ended up having to do is create a new user, then copy everything over, take ownership, then delete the old user. This problem was also the cause of the mysterious S-{A bunch of meaningless numbers} user and the messages saying I wasn't the owner even though the username of the owner was my username. This was my user account's SID, which it apparently uses as part of the migration.
 
I also learned that there is no Windows equivalent of Linux's usermod (let alone a GUI like Gnome and KDE have) when it comes to renaming accounts and their homes. My plan was to create a new account named Keegan2 then delete the original and rename the new to the old name after I was sure everything was moved over. While you can rename accounts in Windows, it doesn't change the profile path as part of the renaming. There is a registry hack that can be done, but this method gave me issues (all kinds of software installed for all users was still looking in the old place). When I tested this with XP, when I removed the renamed user it didn't remove the files. It would seem like it should be possible to run a script similar to the initialization Windows does the first time a user logs in before migrating to the new name.  This explains the laptop that was re-purposed a few times, but still had all the old usernames in 'Documents and Settings'.

It's a Windows world, but I find the longer I live in it, the more I suffer. Vive Linux!