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Windows 7: Windows 7 - Default Profile. How can I edit it?

03 Jun 2010   #91

Win7, XP, OS-X

Just came across this and hopefully can share some good news. Here is what works for me:

**I know a lot of this looks familiar but please try anyway, follow the steps EXACTLY as Windows is very finicky with this. This is how I recently started my migration to 7 and so far with these steps, it works every time***

1. Install fresh copy of Win7

2. At first boot and screen where it asks to enter a username, enter audit mode by pressing ctrl+shift+F3

3. Configure what will be the default profile on the account that comes up in audit mode

4. Now create a unattend.xml file in WAIK:
-This does not have to be done on the machine you are configuring the default profile on.
-****WAIK Will most likely not work correctly unless it is installed on a Win7 or Server 2008 OS/Always use the latest version of WAIK you can find!***
-You will need a matching Win7 disk to pull the ctl/img whatever file to build the catalog in WAIK
-When building the xml file, it is a little confusing for me so I only add the CopyProfile parameter and nothing else.
-All I add is amd64_MS_Win_Shell-Setup component to "4 specialize" and change copyprofile to true.

5. Move the unattend.xml file to the machine you will be sysprepping (if need be) I just throw it on the root of C

6. Open a command prompt and type "cd c:\WINDOWS\system32\sysprep"

7. Next command is "sysprep.exe /oobe /reboot /generalize /unattend:c:\unattend.xml" (change the last part to match the path to wherever you put your xml file.

8.Do a test run first and just let it reboot, you will know it was successful if when it first logs in you see your changes you made to the profile instead of the Win7 default Aero theme and /or background.
Then use a PE to image/ghost it. Hopefully this works for everybody and can solve some headaches!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jun 2010   #92

Windows 7

Well here goes nothing. BEST OF LUCK TO ALL.
I use norton ghost to make images for my college and so far this setup has worked for me.
Go to the following registry entry
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

Then change the Default REG_EXPAND_SZ value data to your custom profile instead of default\

I.E. if Fred is the account your customized the it would read %SystemDrive%\Users\Fred

This has worked so far for me, it even takes my networked printers with it, I'm sure that it's just a windows update away from being messed up. So good look.


The only micorsoft supported copy profile is the sysprep.exe step, at least thats all I could find, it works well with roaming profile but who wants that overhead on their network.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2010   #93

Win 7


Long time reader, first time poster.

First thanks to all your wonderful information. This is a great site.

Now, I am still having issues with this default profile thing.

I used the non-supported way, ie copy over the default profile etc...
This works for the most part. We just run into a random error "Your profile is not available creating a temporary profile, yadda, yadda"

This is really just a gnat problem.

So i have started exploring this sysprep idea. I have never dealt with sysprep prior to win7, so yeah.

Using How to Sysprep a Windows 7 Machine - Start to Finish V2 | guide i went through, but not everything transfered. In fact... the only thing that did transfer was just printer defaults and stuff.

So what i am asking is there a more detailed step-by-step on creating an "unattended.xml" that can edit the default profile after a Win7 is installed. Everything i have seen has been to customize it while creating a "first time install"

Here is some more information to hopefully make my self clear.
140 computers in a Lab setting
Each computer has two local accounts (Admin and Instructor)
All students who use the lab machines use their Active Directory login.
We use Centurion Technology "CompUGaurd" to keep the system in a "sealed" state.
The profile the students use should be identical to the instructor machine.
Once the student logs off (restarts the machine) the system is restored to a prior state and their profile is gone.

At least this is what supposed to happen.

Any information would be great!

Any information would be great.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Jun 2010   #94

Win7 Ultimate x64 retail


We also looked for a way to added the default user profile for deploying.

There are two ways. First setup Windows 7 and use the real Administrator account. Manage all the things that you have to do and than deploy. In the answer file point to the profile that you want to copy. How to do this: search the Microsoft knowledge base for Windows 7 Deployment and answer files.

The next solution is a commercial, but it seams to be a little bit easier for many user here.

Setup Windows 7 and many you real admin aacount the way it should look for the default user (new user). Than go to forsenit (ForensiT Home Page) and regsiter and download the User Profile Wizard.

Install the little program and choose the profile that you want to copy over the default user profile.

Deploy you installation with sysprep or create a new user and see if the new user profile look the same as you first managed master profile (from the Administrator). We did this a lot of times and it works great. These are the only two ways you have for a new user and the default user profile.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jun 2010   #95

Win 7

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Purecut View Post

We also looked for a way to added the default user profile for deploying.

There are two ways. First setup Windows 7 and use the real Administrator account. Manage all the things that you have to do and than deploy. In the answer file point to the profile that you want to copy. How to do this: search the Microsoft knowledge base for Windows 7 Deployment and answer files.

The next solution is a commercial, but it seams to be a little bit easier for many user here.

See i have looked into that. I have read KB 973289 and others that talk about customizing default profiles in Win7.
In these searches they all talk about the Copy=True statement in the .xml file. This is all fine and dandy, and i have tried that. But i am still running into issues with this. Mainly it seems like all the post out there say you have to create a new image each time you want to change the default profile. Also when i did a sysprep only the printers copied over.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jul 2010   #96

xp vista seven

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Purecut View Post

Setup Windows 7 and many you real admin aacount the way it should look for the default user (new user). Than go to forsenit (ForensiT Home Page) and regsiter and download the User Profile Wizard.
Didnt work last time.
Stopped with error:
"The default profile could not be created".
And they ask for money.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jul 2010   #97

xp vista seven

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Roasted View Post
Is there still no official way to handle the profiles in a practical manner? We're nearing the time frame where we want to mass deploy Windows 7, yet the profile situation is the one thing holding us back.

We are even starting to consider other operating systems in the mix as a result.

Still very disappointed in MS for not making this a little more logically set up...
What for?
Me for example, doing mass production of windows seven with all software like firefox with addons, opera, kmplayer, openoffice and other preinstalled.
That is why i need copy to default user profile.
Image restoring is being done by Acronis UR.
No WAIK or insane sysprep needed.

If W7 cant support profile coping - let it be so... show to a world the system with only one good tuned profile. and when people will ask - send them to M$.
In $atan they trust.

They done it not because of complexity - they dont want you to be able to do it.
Only "Authorized" personell are allowed, only who paid them $3000 for 2 days seminar.

If reliability and stability can not be guaranteed - then what happened to windows?
In XP it can be guaranteed fine.

Pay more, Get less. Read more, become stupid. Waste more time for education, achieve worse results. Work more, become poorer.
Everything is very logical. But logic is not that important in todays windows world.
The most important to make more troubles and complications.

Did you upgraded to Seven from XP - You did it wrong
Do you wish to throw old laptop to garbage - you did it wrong again, you cant install XP on new laptops burning not your chipset of VGA card.

But problem not even in MS. Problem with all of us. Why we so recklessly put our fantasies on computers? they were made for handling and retreeval of information.
What kind or really important information can you get today?
Almost none. And for that which still exists windows XP will suffice fine .
Oh no wait, they will patch it with frameworks of all kind to make it fat and slow.

That is good, - noone can create safe software just from the start and till the very end.

Neo will tell you, let's get into linux cmd matrix!
I tried many linuxes many times. Never could understand them.

And today we left without OS.
This is the end. END of the past world.
No more need in Core I7.
Nothing to install.

After 30 years computer standed still a typewriter with device for input coordinates called mouse.
(And even that last is lost, - made conclusion after FREEBSD install and config video manual)

Ok, now how i did it:


download that forsenit tool.
Try it. It will break your system, - security services will consume 100% of your cpu speed.
If that happens - and that happens, - recover back.
(you may skip this step)

Download "windows enabler 1.1".
Log into dummy admin.
Make copy of Default Profile.
Launch windows enabler.
Choose profile you prepared
Enable copy button.
Copy profile to Default Profile.
(This copies just startup programs settings)
And, it happens somwhow, - size of the Default has increased.
test it by login as new user.

Launch Total Commander.
Enter the profile folder and default prifile folder.
Mark all files except those with uniqe IDs.
Copy profile to Default with option to skip existing files.
Create anpther testuser account.
Log into.
Here you go.
Now chase the bugs.
If they are - format your HDD and install XP.

Here is another technique by irongeek_adc:


The Steps: After setting up the profile for one user, lets call the account "adrian", do the following:

0. Login as an admin user, but NOT Adrian (you don't want the files in the profile to be locked).

1. Go to c: drive in Explorer (or whatever your system drive is), hit the ALT key, go to the Tools Menu-> Folder Options and start unchecking "Hides" so Explorer sees all files (system, hidden and what not).

2. Go to Users\ and rename "Default" to "Default Back" (we want to keep the old one around in case things go south and we need to but the original Default profile back).

3. Make a copy of "adrian", then rename the copy of "adrian" (not the original!!!) to "Default".

4. Right click on "Default" and set the permissions so that the "Everyone" and "Users" groups have "Read & Execute", "List Folder Content" and "Read" NTFS permissions (this was the default already when I tested). At this point, you can use the Right click Computer -> "Properties"-> "Advanced System Settings"->"User Profiles" tool to delete the Adrian profile if you like.

5. Try to login as an account that does not already have a profile. If the new user's profile looks like the setting you did for "adrian", all is good in the hood.

I have no idea what other problems may crop up later with this method, and keep in mind this is not the way Microsoft wants you to copy profiles. Use at your own risk, but so far these instructions have worked fine when I try to overwrite the Default user profile.

Next minor bug may(and will) appear:

When you initiate new user by log in, wallpaper will be what currently set in profile you made copy from.
Fix is such:
Edit key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
There you will find path to TranscodedWallpaper.jpg.
Set WallPaper key to %USERPROFILE%\rest of path
(Instead of lame default C:\Users\admin (for example))

Do it before copying or edit regestry DAT file of the ready Default profile.
Of course you also have to add that directory and file to Default profile folder.

Glance at My System Specs - have fun
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Aug 2010   #98

Win7 32bit

Hey Roasted-

I have been following this thread, trying to resolve the same issue. I do not know how indepth a "default profile" you are trying to create, but here are two things I learned that may be of assistance.

To add desktop shortcuts to all new users:
1. Open up windows explorer.
2. Press alt, go to tools -> folder options, click on view tab, make sure "Show hidden files, folders and drives" is selected.
2. Go to C:\users\default\desktop
3. Add shortcuts to this folder

This will create the desktop on all new users that log into that computer

To set your default background I would suggest this method that I found on another thread:

Windows 7 user profile creation overwrites custom wallpaper

Original Post by (Grover11010010)

The file it pulls from is:


Make your background 1920 x 1200 pixels

96 dpi

24 bit

Boot up from a boot-disk CD or USB drive. A graphic file manager is probably easiest. I used a Win& PE disk, and just used the copy command.

Replace the the img0.jpg with your version named img0.jpg.

The default background wallpaper will now be yours for any new user.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2010   #99

windows 7 Enterprise
This works for me...

  1. Fresh install of Win7.
  2. Install all required applications.
  3. Login as a user and setup desktop appearance, shortcuts, and other preferences.
  4. Restart PC.
  5. Login as administrator.
  6. Browse to c:\users\default and change folder settings to show hidden files.
  7. Open User Profiles in advanced system settings.
  8. Select the profile to copy.
  9. Enable the copy button with Windows Enabler W7 SP0 Only
  10. Change permissions to allow 'everyone' to use the profile.
  11. Copy to C:\users\default.
  12. Browse to c:\users\default and change folder settings to show hidden files and protected OS files.
  13. Open regedit and load the default user hive (C:\users\default\ntuser.dat)
  14. Export the default hive to a .reg file.
  15. With notepad edit the .reg file. Find and replace the username used to create the profile with 'default' (replace all)
  16. Close the .reg file saving changes and merge it into the registry.
  17. Unload the default user hive.
Should be good to go. Please reply if you see any potential problems!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Oct 2010   #100

Windows 7 Enterprise

This method is very similar to my previous post however possible potential problems in your method could be?:
  1. Re: Step 9. I have tried this method in the past but the personalization settings failed to apply correctly for a standard user account. Have you tested this with a standard account?
  2. Re: Step 15. Check if shell folders values are present. If they are, and you set them to default, then all users that login will have their shell folders pointing to the default user, which is NOT good! (See steps 6 and 7 in my previous post.)
Since my previous post back in May 2010, I have refined the way I create a Default profile in Windows 7. This method I have used requires no third party software and has been proven to work for me (and others). I have used this method and have rolled out Windows 7 to hundreds of machines at the University where I work. This includes staff and student machines, PC's, laptops, and dual booting Macs.

Attached below is a detailed step-by-step how to pdf. Enjoy

Attached Files
File Type: pdf How to create a Default profile in Windows 7 v2.pdf (642.7 KB, 462 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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