A Bit More on Knowing When Account Migration is Needed, and When it is NOT Needed

After my last article about Account Migration here, I realized that I missed out a quick and easy way to tell if a user needs to have their account migrated or not…

So without further ado, here is what you need:

  1. The AD user’s username
  2. The AD user’s UID
  3. The attributes of the home folder on the local Mac.

Go to the Mac, open the Terminal and run two commands:

adquery user -u [ad_username]

ls -ln /Users/

(Subsitute [ad_username] for the username of the AD account)

Mac OS X Terminal - Account Migration


In the example above, my AD username is “alpha1”, while my local account was named “alpha_one”.

The first adquery command returns the UID of the AD account, while the second ls -ln command shows a list of the home folders in the /Users/ directory with their owner’s UID in the third column.

The output above shows that alpha_one’s UID was 502.

Account Migration is only needed if one or both of the following do NOT match:


– AD username vs local home folder name

In the above example, both the UIDs and the home folder name do not match, so Account Migration is needed.

Remember that even if the home folder is the same as the AD username, if the UIDs still don’t match, then Account Migration is still needed:


These are the only situations where Account Migration is needed.

So when is Account Migration NOT needed?

All other situations.

i.e. the UIDs, folder and usernames all match up with each other.


A special note should be made to mention that anytime a network home folder is in play, then avoid Account Migration at all costs!

Account Migration essentially “tricks” OS X into thinking the AD user logging in is actually a local user by overriding a few of its account attributes with values stored on the local Mac.

This means that AD accounts with network home folders configured won’t need this, and Mobile Accounts which require Home Syncing abilities need to avoid migration as well if they want to keep their syncing abilities.

Hopefully that clears up some confusion and now you can regard yourselves as experts on the subject of Account Migration!