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Short Version:

I have a backup of the AppData folder for UserA. The account has been messed up during a Windows 10 Update, but the app data is available. Because of this, I've created a new user account, UserB. Can I copy the AppData/Roaming of UserA to UserB and expect it to work?

Long Version:

I recently updated a PC to Windows 10 Home (from Win7). After doing so, I discovered that the account the PC was being used for (UserA) was the 'built-in Administrator' account and thus was unable to modify any settings.

After failing to find a way to convert the account into a normal Administrator account, I decided to create a new user account (UserB) and copy over the files and settings over from UserA.

I've done all the document/downloads/desktop (pretty easy), but i'm unsure if I can do the same with AppData/Roaming . There are alot of program settings which i'd like to transfer over (in particular Adobe related software).

The question: Can I simply copy the roaming folder from UserA to UserB and thus restore all the program settings? If not, what else might I need to do?

Thanks for any help!

  • Of course you can – Ramhound May 9 '16 at 14:40
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    @Ramhound thanks for the strait forward answer. I suppose the question shouldn't be 'can I?', but more 'will all the software work?' – David May 9 '16 at 14:44
  • You should copy the files and then run the programs. I can't answer, "will they work", that question cannot be answered based on the information you provided. – Ramhound May 9 '16 at 14:49
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Yes, the roaming profile (%AppData%, defaults to %UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming) is designed to be transferred between computers (in a domain environment) and backing it up then restoring it should preserve most user settings for most programs. I actually did that pretty recently myself.

Note that some programs will incorrectly expect parts of the local appdata folder (%LocalAppData%, defaults to %UserProfile%\AppData\Local) to be restored as well. Unfortunately, this is really case-by-case and you'll have to deal with them as they come up. Generally, you can just remove the offending application's data from the roaming folder if necessary. You could also try restoring the whole local appdata folder if you have a backup of it.

Another thing you might be missing are registry entries, which are partially stored in the profile root (%UserProfile%\NTUSER.DAT). Some programs will store their settings there, which will not be restored with the roaming profile. You may wish to restore this file too, but copying it to a different user might not work. If there are specific settings you need, you can export the relevant subkeys from HKEY_CURRENT_USER and import them to the new profile (or mount the file inside regedit if you can't log in as the user).

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