Thursday, September 24, 2009

Solving local users not appearing in the Connect Computer application when adding a computer to the SBS 2008 domain; Part 2

My Problem
(In reference to this issue I had) A user will not show up in the Connect Computer application. After creating a brand new user and ensuring that the new local user can be seen by the Connect Computer application I then moved the old user profile data to the new user profile folder. However, the formerly visible new user profile then becomes invisible to the connect computer app. Removing those files causes the profile to reappear in the Connect Computer app.

In other words, the solution that I used for a previous user account on another computer (documented in the link above) did not work on this machine.

My Solution
This was a bit sneaky and probably not the best way to do it, but I was desperate and so far it seems to work. Created a new local user account and then run the Connect Computer application. The new account should be visible to map a domain account to. Then, without exiting the app, delete all files in the new user profile folder, move all files over from the old user profile folder, switch back to the still running Connect Computer application and clicked "next" without rescanning the profile folders.

This may have some undesirable effects. For instance, The Outlook 2002 preferences of the user were reset, but the pst file was fine. I had to re-create the POP3 mail accounts and reset some of the visual preferences.

The Long Story

When I noticed that the existing user account was not visible in Connect Computer, I created a new local user account (after banging my head on the keyboard) and then checked to make sure the new account was visible in the Connect Computer application. I then deleted all files in the new user profile folder, moved all files over from the old user profile folder, switched back to the still running Connect Computer application and clicked "next" without rescanning the profile folders.

It hung for a while at the "assigning users" step which worried me. I did a ctrl-alt-del from the minimal user interface that the SBS application presents and noticed that it said a user nameed __sbs_netsetup__ was logged on. I launched Task Manager and noticed that MoveUser.exe was indeed taking up CPU cycles. Hmmm... maybe it was just taking a little while because the user's profile was over 60GB. After almost 10 minutes it finished and automatically rebooted.

After rebooting it was logged in automatically as the domain administrator and not the user account that I had ported over. That worried me since all my previous experience had involved the user account that was ported over being logged in after the first reboot.

I logged off and tried to log on as the user and was mercifully greeted with their desktop icons. All looked well, except Outlook (version 2002!) behaved strangely. The POP3 accounts were gone and I had to recreate them. The visual elements like which folder Outlook went to on startup was changed back to default. All in all I accepted it as a success. It's certainly not the most elegant solution and I hope to get to the bottom of things, but it could have been worse...

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