Posted on 2006-05-23
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
can anyone explain the purpose of ntuser.dat for me please?
Question by:PhilJMcDougall
    1 Comment
    LVL 20

    Accepted Solution

    Basically NTUSER.DAT is a file that windows uses to store your user preferences and setting in.  It loads each time the user logs on and loads any settings the user may have set including permissions and program settings etc.....

    Here are some usefull comments to explain it further.  Found on EE.

    The registry is nothing but files that are handled as input to a program, the registry.  The file ntuser.dat is file where HKCU gets loaded from.

    The ntuser.dat file in the sysdrive:\Documents and Settings\Default User\ directory is whst is used to create the ntuser.dat file for new users and thus is the

    Just like the ntuser.dat file in your directory is what is loaded for your HKCU.  This is merged with the file in the All Users directory to come up with your HKCU.
    Comment from baal32
    Date: 10/19/2005 01:44PM EST
     Author Comment  

    What's the .DEFAULT key in the HKEY_USERS hive in the registry?  It isn't the same as the ntuser.dat file in the Default User folder so I was wondering how and when it gets used, if at all.
    Comment from kbraeckmans
    Date: 10/19/2005 05:12PM EST

    .DEFAULT contains the per−user settings that Windows XP uses to display the desktop before any user logs on to the computer. This isn't the same thing as a default user profile, which Windows XP uses to create settings for users the first time they log on to the computer.
    Comment from baal32
    Date: 10/20/2005 03:23AM EST
     Author Comment  

    Hi Kbraeckmans - how does .DEFAULT contain per-user settings prior to anyone logging in?  And what makes changes (if anyting) to .DEFAULT?  Application installs?
    Comment from kbraeckmans
    Date: 10/20/2005 06:21PM EST

    The [.DEFAULT] key actually governs the state of the computer when no user is logged in. If you want a certain background bitmap to appear behind the Ctrl + Alt + Delete screen, set the Wallpaper value in [HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop].
    In the .DEFAULT you can i.e. change logon keyboard layout, logon screen saver, etc.
    Comment from baal32
    Date: 10/21/2005 02:37AM EST
     Author Comment  

    Cool!  So just to clarify - 1) .DEFAULT doesn't have any relation to new users, and 2) What, if anything, would write to that hive?
    Accepted Answer from kbraeckmans
    Date: 10/21/2005 04:13AM EST
    Grade: A
     Accepted Answer  

    I do not know of applications that use the .DEFAULT.

    I hope this helps


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