Desktop Program Icons (Shortcuts) Malfunctioning

John Nork 231 Reputation points

We have a small domain network. The server uses Windows 2012 R2 Server Essentials (no problems there). The workstations all use Windows 10 Pro for their OS. One staff member recently left the company. Her computer was assigned to her replacement. Initially the process of changing primary users seemed simple (delete the user in Windows Server 2012R2 Essentials Dashboard, then add the replacement user (login credentials new) to the network as an authorized user in the dashboard.. So far, so good.

The previous user had a very full profile in terms of the desktop icons, documents, etc. In the case of the desktop program icons, what she had was almost identical to what the new user wanted. So, the decision was made to manually copy the previous user's sub-folders over to the new user. Is that the best way to copy an existing user profile to a new user? Both of these are domain profiles, by the way, which enable access to the server (among other things)..

We had numerous, quirky problems with this arrangement. The majority of the new user's icons were program shortcuts, and were not Windows system icons (like the recycle bin, for example). However, when we tried to run the programs from the icons, they behaved very oddly. The MS Office programs, for example, all behaved like they were brand new and had to be manually set up from scratch. QuickBooks was unable to find/see its company data files, which are stored on the data partition of the server. QuickBooks acted like it had never been used before. The DYMO label printing program had no templates, again it acted like a brand new, just installed, never configured program.

Also, some users profiles had nothing or very little in the Desktop folder under Users. Yet numerous program shortcut/desktop icons showed up anyway. I always thought (incorrectly it seems) that the underlying contents of the Users/User Name/Desktop folder would indicate what would show up on the user's desktop (supplemented by the Public profile directory, which would add its icons to all users). In some cases, too few shortcut icons showed up and in other cases too many.

Is there a written document anywhere that describes and details how the Windows system and (especially ) the program shortcut icons get placed in the proper users' desktops and whether or not it matters if the icon files are manually placed in WIndows'\Users\Desktop (as opposed to being added manually one at a time for each program shortcut).

Sorry for the long question. Thanks very much for any assistance or guidance you can offer.

Windows 10
Windows 10
A Microsoft operating system that runs on personal computers and tablets.
10,966 questions
Windows Server
Windows Server
A family of Microsoft server operating systems that support enterprise-level management, data storage, applications, and communications.
12,436 questions
Windows 10 Setup
Windows 10 Setup
Windows 10: A Microsoft operating system that runs on personal computers and tablets.Setup: The procedures involved in preparing a software program or application to operate within a computer or mobile device.
1,918 questions
0 comments No comments
{count} votes

Accepted answer
  1. Dave Patrick 426.3K Reputation points MVP

    Depends on what was copied. Many are not actual folders but are symbolic links to other locations. Generally copying shortcuts from
    %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
    should not be a problem.'

    --please don't forget to Accept as answer if the reply is helpful--

    0 comments No comments

1 additional answer

Sort by: Most helpful
  1. Dale Kudusi 3,226 Reputation points

    Is that the best way to copy an existing user profile to a new user?

    You can use the CopyProfile setting to customize a user profile and then copy that profile to the default user profile. Windows uses the default user profile as a template to assign a profile to each new user. By customizing the default user profile, you can configure settings for all user accounts that are created on the computer. By using CopyProfile, you can customize installed applications, drivers, desktop backgrounds, internet explorer settings, and other configurations.

    Best regards.

    If the Answer is helpful, please click "Accept Answer" and upvote it.
    Note: Please follow the steps in our documentation to enable e-mail notifications if you want to receive the related email notification for this thread.

    0 comments No comments