NTUSER.dat - can i extract data from it?

Posted on 2011-05-07
Last Modified: 2012-08-13

I would like to be able to extract information/data from ntuser.dat files.  For example, I would like to get printers, my network places and network drives from each profile on a pc and then export that information to the same users profiles on a new machine - without logging on as the users.

Additionally, does anyone know?  Are there any (ideally free) tools that can be used to view, edit/modify ntuser.dat files?

Thanks in advance and kind regards, Ian
Question by:isjones
    LVL 9

    Accepted Solution

    The utuser.dat is the registry file for the user. You cam mount and browse the file using regedit.

       1. Open Regedit (in windows 2000 you have to use Regedt32.exe)
       2. Select HKLM or HKU in the key pane
       3. From File menu select Load Hive
       4. Select the hive file in the File Name dialog box and press OK
       5. Type any name you want in the Key Name dialog box
       6. You will find a new key with the name you select contains the subkeys saved in the hive file you load
    After loading hive file you can browse its contents normally in Regedit. While the file is loaded you cannot do anything with it before you unload it (like copy or move). To unload hive file:
       1. Select the subkey which contain the hive file in key pane
       2. From File menu select Unload Hive

    ITS VERY important to unload the hive !


    Author Comment

    HI dipazza,

    I am aware of load/unload but ideally I would like to, for example, create a script that simply runs through the ntuser.dat files on a pc and extracts the printers, etc for each user and then creates a file for each user with the data that can then be used with another script to modify the new copy of ntuser on the new machine.  

    I think what I am asking for is a way to convert/open the .dat file, as say, a Notepad file to get/return the data.

    LVL 11

    Assisted Solution


    Unfortunately this file data is stored in the registry as Dipazza mentioned. You can use a third party software to export this data because you cannot cut/paste or export data from the registry using REGEDIT for security purposes.  However I have used this product in the past, this will allow you to export the data to say Notepad or another text editor.


    Author Closing Comment

    the replies confirmed my thinking that the solution I wished to pursue is currently probably impractical..  I did hope maybe if an admin was logged on there could be a way for them to have sufficient privileges to do this as mentioned via  script however the use of a 3rd party tool will have to do.  Many thanks to the contributors

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