How To Rebuild A Windows User Profile

As users with roaming profiles log onto different computers, their user profile cane become very cluttered. User profiles can also become corrupt and cause lots of issues. These are both good reasons to rebuild a users profile and this article explains how to do this in Windows.

Here is a step-by-step telling you how to rebuild a Windows user profile:

  1. Reboot the computer (This gets rid of any file locks or open files)
  2. Log onto the computer with an administrative account that isn’t the profile you want to rebuild
  3. In Windows Vista or above, go to %SYSTEMDRIVE%\Users (previous versions stored it in %SYSTEMDRIVE%\Documents and Settings) and rename the folder named after the user so it has .old at the end of it. This is better than deleting it because that way you don’t lose the users old files
  4. If the user has a roaming profile, you will have to do the same with their roaming profile too
  5. Run regedit in the command prompt and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
  6. In the registry, you will see lots of folders named after users SIDs (Interesting factoid: SIDs ending with the number 500 are administrative accounts). Open each of these until you find the one that refers to the user whose profile you are trying to rebuild (It will have their user account listed in the ProfileImagePath or CentralProfile path name). Delete the folder that has their SID as its name.
  7. Log off the computer and log on as the user whose profile you have just deleted. Once you have setup the user’s new profile, log off the computer to save it (this will save it to the network if you are rebuilding a roaming profile)
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