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All Users.WINNT and Default User.WINNT folders.  What should I do?

Posted on 2005-03-29
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I have been through this before with server 2003.  A was advised to reinstall which I did.  

Now I have just discovered the same issue on my main win2000 PC.  Since installing W2000 I have installed at least 50 other programs and taken Ghost images at regular intervals.  All with the intention of sending the final image out to 17 identical PCs.  I DO NOT WANT TO REINSTALL WIN2000.

I have read all previous topics on this issue in Experts exchange and the following Microsoft article:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/q242258/

which contains no recommendation.

I have used this PC in a workgroup now for some months without problems at all.
It will be used in a domain soon.

MUST I REINSTALL AND LOSE WEEKS OF WORK, OR CAN I USE IT TO CREATE MASTER IMAGES FOR ROLLING OUT?

This is very important.
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Question by:Alistair7
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20 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:Alistair7
ID: 13652730
I forgot to mention that it is the 2 folders ending with ".WINNT" that are used by the system.  The other 2 without the ".WINNT" ending are empty and clearly not used.
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Nirmal Sharma
ID: 13652817
>>>I forgot to mention that it is the 2 folders ending with ".WINNT" that are used by the system.  The other 2 without the ".WINNT" ending are empty and clearly not used.

First of all you need to remove these two folder's refrence from Registry. By default system assumes that these folders are the main folders which will be used to created default profile for the user. What all folders you see in \Documents and Settings except your user profile?

Let me know.

Thanks
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Nirmal Sharma
ID: 13652844
Goto this location in registry and check this entry defined in Right Pane for these two folders: -
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

Do you see these two folders in this list?
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Nirmal Sharma
ID: 13652974
There is some conflict with "All Users" and "Default User" folder in your system because when you install Windows 2000 for the very first time you will see only these two folders (All Users and Default User). So to remove this conflict you need to change the Shell folder location or their path to somewhere else. Do you see "All Users" and "Default User" folders in \Documents and Settings\?

One more thing...i think when you try to delete them you can't. Right? If yes then windows is assuming these two folders as system folders and not ordinary.
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Author Comment

by:Alistair7
ID: 13653321
Can I just leave everything as it is now???

MUST I remove the 2 WINNT folders???

The computer has been working fine.   Is it actually necessary to change anything??

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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Nirmal Sharma
ID: 13653357
>>>Can I just leave everything as it is now??? The computer has been working fine.   Is it actually necessary to change anything??

If it is working properly then do not change anything and go ahead.

>>>MUST I remove the 2 WINNT folders???

That's what i was asking....do you have another two folders "All Users" and "Default User" in \Documents and Settings?

Thanks for your reply.
SystmProg



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Author Comment

by:Alistair7
ID: 13653386
Yes I have the following:

All users
Default
All users.WINNT
Default.WINNT
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Author Comment

by:Alistair7
ID: 13653533
Sorry, spelling mistake.

All users
Default users
All users.WINNT
Default users.WINNT
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Nirmal Sharma
ID: 13654043
No prob :-)

So you have these folders. When you try to delete All Users.WINNT or Default Users.WINNT do you get "Access is Deniend"?

And also list the entries in this key from registry: -

HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

Its late night...i will post tommo.

Thanks
SystmProg

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Author Comment

by:Alistair7
ID: 13654789
I think you may have misunderstood what I wrote above.

I do not want to delete any folders.  I do NOT want to delete "All users.WINNT" or "Default.WINNT".  As I wrote above, they are being used by windows.

Can I just leave all 4 folders as they are?

I do not understand why you suggest that I delete these folders.  It will corrupt windows.
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Nirmal Sharma
ID: 13660531
I am not asking you to delete any folder.....i just wan to confirm or want to know which one is the SYSTEM Folder...either All Users.WINNT or All Users.

You can leave it as it is and please go proceed nothing will happen.

Thank You
SystmProg
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Author Comment

by:Alistair7
ID: 13672477
All users.WINNT is used by windows.  Not All users.
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Nirmal Sharma
ID: 13680068
Ok. no problem.

Please proceed and let me know. I am out of office till this saturday.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:ScrptMasta
ID: 13775588
Not sure I understand what the problem is here. Are you simply wanting to know why these folders exist ? What is it that you are trying to achieve exactly ?
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Author Comment

by:Alistair7
ID: 13780352
ScrptMasta

I understand why the 2 folders ("All users.WINNT" or "Default.WINNT") have been created.  A mistake on my part when installing win2000.

But the bottom line is that they are not really meant to be there.  The system should be using the 2 folders called "All users" and "Default" instead which remain empty.  But the system is in fact using the 2 folders ending with .WINNT.  Does this matter???

Will this issue create problems in the future when I start operating under a 2003 domain? (which I do not have yet)  

Can you see problems of any kind arising in the future because of this?  Or can I go ahead and ignor these unusual folders, roll out an image of this PC to 17 other PCs and then connect them all to a 2003 domain with active directory?
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LVL 35

Assisted Solution

by:Nirmal Sharma
Nirmal Sharma earned 1000 total points
ID: 13780879
I have already told you. You will not face any problem because this is just a system folder for windows. How a windows operating system can know that All Users and Default Users are system folders and not ordinary folders? how? with the help of Registry key set. So you can't delete these two folders from your system. Windows has added .WINNT if the folder already exists or some other problem. So in your case you already have these folders: -

1.All Users
2.Default User
3.All Users.WINNT        
4.Default User.WINNT

3 and 4 are set in registry. So windows will assume that these are system folders and user profiles will be created from these folders rather than 1 and 2. So if you think that you may face any problem is future then make your 1 and 2 as system folders from registry key listed in this thread.

And when you migrate to Windows 2003 then Profile Folder Location (Shell Folders) will not move somewhere else. Windows will upgrade All Users.WINNT as system folder.

And why you will face problem???
There is nothing to worry because these two folders are required to create a new profile and That's it!!!. There is nothing to do with these folders.

Hope this make sense.

Thanks
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LVL 7

Accepted Solution

by:
ScrptMasta earned 1000 total points
ID: 13783547
You can roll out the image just fine, it's not going to cause any problems. Regaurdless of how many of those folders exist the system is only going to make use of the ones that the registry tells it to. You can decide to delete the ones that aren't being used or not it doesn't matter, it's not going to cause problems or conflicts either way.

Changing the registry to use the other folders however is not recommended, the system decided to create these folders during setup for a reason and you should let the OS use what it likes as long as no problems or errors exist.

When moving the computers to the 2003 domain the OS will again look at what is in those folders and upgrade the ones that the registry is telling it to use so to answer your question it will not cause any problems.

This can also happen to user profiles that were on the pc before a domain change has taken place. When you move a pc into a diferent domain but still use the same user name it will create a folder in the with the username.domain however even though there will be two folders there with the same user name its only going to use the one created after the move to the new domain.

You don not have to re-install anything nor delete any folders nor change any registry settings and there wont be any problems with either imaging or moving into the new domain.

If you are wanting to keep user profiles the same when moving from wk2 to wk2003 domain however there is a tool that can do this for you with ease.

Active Directory Migration Tool v.2.0
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=788975b1-5849-4707-9817-8c9773c25c6c&DisplayLang=en

Windows User State Migration Tool (USMT) version 2.6
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=4AF2D2C9-F16C-4C52-A203-8DAF944DD555&displaylang=en

Microsoft File Server Migration Toolkit
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/upgrading/nt4/tooldocs/msfsc.mspx
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Author Comment

by:Alistair7
ID: 13788916
Thank you very much to both of you for all you have written.  A great help and a big relief.  I'm sorry I can't give you both 500 points.
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Nirmal Sharma
ID: 13789207
You were simply worrying about it.
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Author Comment

by:Alistair7
ID: 13831907
ScrptMasta

Sorry to bother you again so soon.  But I have another serious problem which I posted under win 2003 server two days ago.  Unfortunately nobody has given a response.  Your advice has always been both very clear and helpful.  Could I drag you away from your work again?  If you could afford the time I'd be very grateful.

I cannot continue installing the 2003 server until I have resolved this issue.

The question is called:  "Image backup of Raid 1, Service partition, Ghost/Deploy Center, Fujitsu Siemens Econel 40"

Cheers
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