NTUSER.DAT

Sunday, June 8, 2008

NTUSER.DAT

When you format C: drive and reinstall Windows XP, you will lose all your settings (screen resolution, taskbar options etc...).

There is one little file (not always little) which you can copy to retain lots of ur settings. It is called NTUSER.DAT, in Documents and Settings\[Username]. You backup that and restore after installation, you will get back your settings. That is what I do. But you can't copy it when logged into your account. You need to login to another user or use another OS to backup the file.

I have been restoring the file a couple of times now. It slowly keeps on growing. For me, it is now 11 MB. There is lot of crap inside the file. But since I use the same file, the crap still remains (which may include corrupt settings). So, I searched for a way to cleanup the file. I found it...

From an account with Administrator level access (not the same login account)

1) Click Start, Run and enter REGEDIT
WARNING!!! Editing Registry is always very dangerous !!!
2) In Regedit, highlight the HKEY_USERS key and go to File, Load Hive.
3) Use the File Open dialog to go to the Documents and Settings\[Username] folder, where [Username] is the account you wish to modify.
4) Highlight the NTUSER.DAT file in this folder (usually a hidden file) and select Open.
5) You'll be prompted to enter a "Key name". You can use whatever you wish.
6) You can now expand the Hive you just loaded and make any needed changes.
7) When finished, highlight this Hive again and go to File, Unload Hive.

ATTENTION!!! You MUST unload the Hive prior to logging on to the users account. Otherwise XP may have trouble loading the user's profile.

See also... » Speedup Windows XP without Reinstalling, in 10 minutes!!!


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