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Windows 7: Here's how to create a Default Profile without using SysPrep

10 May 2014   #11

Windows 7

Working on it Now! Let you know how it works!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Aug 2014   #12

Windows 7 Pro, 64 bit

Thanks so much for this nice work.

Swapping steps 16 and 17 help a lot in the clean up process. Also searching just for "44BBA840" found the other items that needed be changed.

This process works sweet. Thanks for sharing it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Dec 2014   #13

windows 7 Enterprise SP1 x64

I know this is a super old thread but I was testing this out since some of the guys at work was trying to implement it. Works alright but I think I may be missing something. When you bulk find and replace all instances of c:\\users\\{username} with the %userprofile% variable and then try to install any apps that would normally drop a configuration/preference folder under the c:\users\{username} directory, it just creates a user folder named %userprofile% and drops the config folder in there.

I did a bunch of research and it appears the registry cannot expand the %userprofile% variable since it is a regular string type in the registry. Only way that seems to work is if you change it to a REG_EXPAND_SZ type but that's where it gets crazy. Did more research on this as well and seems the only way to change it to a REG_EXPAND_SZ type is to manually input the ASCII values as hex values.. so instead of using something like %USERPROFILE%\\appdata\\local\\Microsoft\\Windows Media\\{filename}, I would have to set the value as hex(2):{crazy long hex values}. I have not tested this fully since there are about 15-20 places where I would have to manually convert each string over to hexadecimal and copy it back into the reg file....

Like I said I know it's an old thread but does anyone know what I'm missing or what Im doing wrong? I can't use system/environment variables in the reg edits...
My System SpecsSystem Spec

11 Feb 2015   #14

Win 7 x64
All users writing to C:\Users\Default

I have a few applications that need to write data to the "Users" profile and instead I am noticing that it's writing to c:\Users\Default\...

Is there a way around this?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2015   #15

Windows 7 Pro x64

I think it is important to re-read steps #16 and #17. The only thing I changed was under Step #17. It was indicated to use %USERPROFILE% but instead I used %USERNAME% and all new users logging in under that system with the updated "default" profile are having their information point to their folders now.

When using the %USERPROFILE% under Step 17, I noticed that new users would not have their username automatically populate with software that wanted to save settings to.

Under Step #16 it is important to remember to to change the Username of "to_be_default" to "Default" instead of the %USERPROFILE%.


Step 16: Change the Username of "to_be_default" to "Default" under that one specific registry section

Step 17: Change all "to_be_default" to "%USERNAME%" for all remaining items

Step 19: After you have re-imported the updated registry information, remember to click File | select Unload Hive in the registry. That step was missing from the original steps listed above on Page 1.

Hope this helps. and a Big Thanks to badshah for posting this thread in the first place!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Aug 2015   #16

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Dec 2015   #17

Windows 7 64bit

Although I haven't tested the %username% theory yet, I can say that this method comes very close to actually working. The main issue I have discovered is that when attempting to run the windows 7 backup using a newly created user, the backup will fail. I suspect it has to do with the %userprofile% issue as mentioned above. I exported/edited/imported the entries in the registry: "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Sofware\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders" I simply did a replace all on %userprofile% with the current user profile name eg. c:\\user, and the backup started working again. Problem is I don't want to edit 200 shell folders.. Hopefully the %username% fix above will fix this too. Cheers
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jan 2016   #18

Windows 7 32bits

So, it's an old thread, but I need to tell you something...

When we copy the to_be_default folder, we end up with a folder with lots of files and folders useless to default user. Sometimes, the new user don't 'get' all modifications: it misses some icons, some folders poits to 'to_be_default', and other things.

I think is because the NTFS permissions, or the junctions inside 'default' folder. Maybe the %userprofile% or %username% variable. Maybe all of this.

So, here is how I'm doing for now:
  1. Activate the administrator account and create a new account for testing (let's call new_account);
  2. Log with an existing account (let's call my_account), and make all modifications I need (desktop, icons, homepages, energy, etc);
  3. Login as administrator, run command prompt, and type these commands:
    1. reg load hklm\default_account c:\users\default\ntuser.dat
    2. reg load hklm\my_account c:\users\my_account\ntuser.dat
  4. Now we have both profiles loaded in the registry. Now, we will copy all keys and values we changed with my_account to default_account. Let's take 'folder options' as example:
    1. reg copy hklm\my_account\software\microsoft\widnows\currentversion\explorer\advanced hklm\default_account\software\microsoft\widnows\currentversion\explorer\advanced /f /s
  5. Use the above command to all changes you made. Maybe you need to know wich keys was modified, but this forum have a lot of information about this;
  6. A note: if a key or value uses spaces, type the key with ". For example: "hklm\default_account\software\microsoft\internet explorer";
  7. When you finish copying, unload all hives with:
    1. reg unload hklm\default_account
    2. reg unload hklm\my_account
Thats it. When you log with new_account, it 'pushes' the newly modified NTUSER.DAT from c:\users\default. If you want, you only need to copy c:\users\default\ntuser.dat to another place, for backup or to use in another machine. Don't need to copy the entire Default or new_account folder.

For now, the only thing I can't do with this method is install Microsoft Update. Yes, there is a difference between Windows Update and Microsoft Update. Windows Update install updates for Windows itself, and Microsoft Update install updates to a lot of Microsoft programs, like Office, NET Framework, and others. If you know how install Microsoft Update, or the files and keys it uses, let me know.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2016   #19

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I have been sitting on this article for about 2 years now and finally decided to implement it. Granted, I haven't seen all the updates everyone has been posting. I will implement them on my next test around. I will say that this method did work for my Windows 10 Pro default profile. Everything worked well. Only issue was Start Menu wouldn't come up. Did a restart, and bam, its working. Still testing it, but just want to let everyone know that this method will work on Win 10.

My next build I will do %username% as opposed to %userprofile%. I hadn't seen those posts yet.

Still testing and will let you all know if anything else is broken.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Sep 2016   #20

Windows 7 Pro x64
Process does not seem to be fully working under Windows 10

I tried to use the same procedure that I have been using Successfully with Windows 7 Pro with Windows 10 and I am getting strange issues the Default profile copy having AppData copies containing not all the files in them.

Normally under my "Original" default profile I have something called AppData and then another folder called Application Data

When I follow the process from before, the new "Default" gets AppData and then Appdata - Copy and AppData - Copy (2)

I am not sure what is causing this but I"m sure it has to do with some setting under Windows 10 that I cannot figure out how to change.

Has anyone else had similar issues following this Windows 7 process under a new Windows 10 system?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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