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Windows 7: How to completely [really] remove a user account

12 Dec 2010   #1

Windows XP Pro SP3, Windows 7 Pro 32-bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit, Windows XP Home SP3
How to completely [really] remove a user account

Win7 Ultimate x64 on HP DC7600.

I was really surprised that this old Microsoft issue/problem somehow got carried over all the way from the bad old days to new/shiny Windows 7.
I have a main User account with Administrator privileges that is my 'daily driver'.
I recently created a second User Account for Test purposes. [I'm a tech and need to try things sometimes].
A week or so ago I "deleted" the User Account using the proper method... errr... the way MS would have me to, in the UAC settings Control Panel.

Today, due to another issue I am now having [never had before] I got to wondering if the old issue of ever-present zombie User Accounts was in this rig. YES it is. Checked into Documents & Settings and Registry and the account is still there in one state or another.

How do I COMPLETELY eradicate that Account and all its traces?
I need to do this for debug reasons on a Sleep/Wake problem that I never had before.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Dec 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP


Is it still listed in User Accounts? Try deleting it again if so.

I'm not sure what you mean by the account still showing up in "Documents and Settings" or the registry. These could be ghost listings simply needing file deletion or Reg cleanup with CCleaner.

If not, then I would attempt to System Restore to before you created the Account which may leave files to delete but not the Account itself. This is also a fix for sleep issues based on a change made like this.

In fact after fixing sleep I create a System Restore point called "Sleep" then apportion enough HD space (20%) for Restore points that it hangs around.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Dec 2010   #3

Windows XP Pro SP3, Windows 7 Pro 32-bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit, Windows XP Home SP3

this is really common, greg. XP, all editions, Vista... I'm not sure what flips the switch between "deletes for real" and "well.... sorta". But I have seen it a lot, with very widely varying configs & versions & machines. The average user never even notices, but I do. You delete the account, and if you consult the control panel its "gone", but unmask all the files in the system and you'll find its still there, just zombiefied. You can then boot into Safe Mode, into the root/Admin account, and nuke it, but even that does not purge the registry of things set for that User. It is THAT issue that I'm thinking may be at work causing this power-settings/wakeup/etc set of problems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Dec 2010   #4
Microsoft MVP


Yes this is common for the owner's User account set up during install. It cannot be deleted or changed without reinstall. But I have not heard of this with a User account set up after install.

In any case, try System Restoring to before the change to see if it fixes the sleep problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Dec 2010   #5

Windows 7

START > RUN > Control Userpasswords2
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Dec 2010   #6
Coram Daes


I always handle user accounts from Computer management, maybe its a better approach?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How to completely [really] remove a user account

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