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How CopyProfile really works in Windows 7 Deployments

Oct 19 2011

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.


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.


All Customizations to Default User Profile Lost

Additional Resources

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

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

/ Johan

Happy deployment, and thanks for reading!

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