Last Updated on January 3, 2022 by Dave Farquhar
If you built or rebuilt a Windows 11 PC, moving your user profile to the new PC can be a pain. Here’s how to make it easier.
To move your user profile, you need a USB flash drive large enough to hold your profile, and a third party utility. If you’re rebuilding and planning to format the hard drive before installing Windows 11 fresh (a necessity if you’re going to install on officially unsupported hardware), run the utility to copy your user profile first.
It’s not a bad idea to clean up the profile beforehand too. If you have a lot of old downloads, clear out any you don’t need. The more data you move, the longer it takes. It can take several hours to migrate a large profile, but once you answer a few questions, it’s passive work.
Move your user profile to a new Windows 11 PC with a utility
If you use a local account like I do, Microsoft has no help for you. Their official solution is to use a Microsoft account and they’ll move the profile from PC to PC as you log in. But you can use a third party utility called Transwiz (Transfer Wizard) from Forensiti to move local accounts between PCs. Although the publisher hasn’t updated all their pages yet, Transwiz is Windows 11 compatible and will convert old profiles to work in Windows 11.
Install the program on the PC with the profile you want to copy or migrate, then run it. Have it copy your user profile onto a USB drive. Then copy the executable to the USB drive. Then run it on your new computer and write the profile over an existing profile on the Windows 11 computer.
This process makes syncing your accounts between your old PC and your new one much easier.
You profile has a lot of sensitive information in it, so I recommend destroying the file after you finish with it. You can use it to sync multiple PCs, just don’t keep the file laying around when you’re done.
Moving your user profile with Forensiti Transfer Wizard
Install Forensiti Transfer Wizard, then copy the EXE file to your USB drive. When you launch the transfer wizard, the screen looks like below. Select I want to transfer data to another computer and click Next.
Next, choose the user profile you want to transfer, then click Next.
Click Browse to find your USB drive and enter a filename. Choosing Fast Pack should speed things up, but in practice I’m not sure that it helps much. It’s a long process that can take several hours if your profile is large, with or without compression. But at least it automates everything. Click Next to continue.
When it finishes, which can take a while, it will tell you it’s done. Exit the program and eject your USB drive.
Copying your profile to the new computer
Now go to your new computer, insert the USB drive, and run the EXE file. Choose I have tata I want to transfer to this computer and then click Next.
Click Browse to locate the file, then click Next.
And then the wizard copies the data and converts the profile to match the new computer. It takes less time than the initial copy but can still take a while.
20 minutes later I got this screen.
Click Next one last time, and then you get a message stating whether it was successful. Click finish and you’re done!
And that’s all it takes to move your user profile to your new computer. For free. It doesn’t move as much as PC Mover does, but it costs $30 less too. In my case, this free option did what I needed. And now that I know about it, I’ll be a lot more willing to do a clean reinstall on my machines from time to time.
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.