Avatar of Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien
Flag for United States of America asked on

Does deleting the user's profile in windows 7 delete user's data?

Does deleting the user's profile in windows 7 delete user's data?
Thank you!
Microsoft Legacy OSActive DirectoryMicrosoft Server OSSBSWindows Networking

Avatar of undefined
Last Comment
Mark O'Brien

8/22/2022 - Mon
tshearon

Yes, if all the user's data is kept in My Documents and other folders that are part of the profile. So anything under c:\users\<username> is gone.
Predrag Jovic

Depend on your answer to question - Do you want to save data.
Control panel - user accounts - manage another account - delete account
When you are deleting profile you will be asked to decide to flush or keep data.
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
It didnt ask.  Im trying to get the data back now, if possible.
This is the best money I have ever spent. I cannot not tell you how many times these folks have saved my bacon. I learn so much from the contributors.
rwheeler23
Predrag Jovic

Delete dialogAlways asks.

You need to get some recovery tool.
get data back, recuva, active file recovery etc

Use as little system as possible - more you use - less is chance to return data.
When recovering files recover to second partition or another HDD.

Best chances you have if you boot system from another drive and start recovery (boot from USB drive or another HDD drive).
tshearon

Did you have Volume shadow copy enabled? You can restore from previous versions.
Predrag Jovic

At many PC with windows 7 I found that people turn on maintenance and create backup of personal data on D partition (or even whole system partition), and have no idea when they did it. If it is so that could be best but ... usually is not so...
Get an unlimited membership to EE for less than $4 a week.
Unlimited question asking, solutions, articles and more.
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
I never saw the dialog box.  I wonder if it's b/c the computer's here at work on the domain?

Tried Recuva but that didnt find much.  The laptop's been restarted a few times in the meantime though.
Predrag Jovic

The more you use laptop more data you will lose. Turn off laptop, get out HDD drive and attach it to another PC, and then try to recover data.

There are many tools for recovery, I am satisfied with active recovery (saved my b.. more that one time). Many people put their trust in get data back.
You have demo to see if it can find data... and think of buy one :)
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
"active recovery"  where is that?
Experts Exchange is like having an extremely knowledgeable team sitting and waiting for your call. Couldn't do my job half as well as I do without it!
James Murphy
Predrag Jovic

Rob G

Deleting a domain level profile off a machine, does NOT delete the users folders.
c:\users\ whatever the username was

Deleting a local profile and doing a cleanup deletes the local profiles data folder

Using a recovery tool to recover data from a users directory will likely not work, this is due to the UID information in the registry, if you recover and don't roll back, you can likely take ownership of the folder, and possibly get some of the data back, but you will never be able to log into that account again due to registry restrictions. Windows XP - 8.1 use a method of identification of profile data to associated UID's in the registry.

Another issue you will have, is if this is a laptop and encryption was enabled..
Just kiss that data good bye,..
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
Rob, so what you are saying is that if you delete a profile, all the user's data remains?

I had the encryption turned off.
Get an unlimited membership to EE for less than $4 a week.
Unlimited question asking, solutions, articles and more.
Rob G

That's correct.. (2k, XP, Vista, 7) (I don't know in 8 or 8.1 since i refuse to use them)
The User data will remain if you remove the user from the system.. In a domain profile.
In a User, local user profile, if you delete the user off the machine, and do not do a profile cleanup the user data will still exist in the User data folder under the Root of the Installation path.
If you remove the User from a Domain Controller, the User folder on all desktops that user has logged into, will still exist.. Only it may no longer show the users name, and show an unknown UID number. If you were to add another user, with the same username back to AD, however, you will not get the same profile as the UID is specific to each user, and not based on specifically the user name.

In addition to that information,
The UID is stored in the registry under HKLU which will be directly associated with that UID.
As far as i know there is no way to re-associate the UID with a new user, without substantial registry work.

You should however be able to log into the system as a local admin
In 2k and Xp go to C:\Documents and settings\ either the username or UID and take ownership of the folder under the folder security.
In Vista-7 you would go to C:\User\ Either the Username or UID and take ownership there.

NOTE: taking ownership on a HUGE profile can take some time to complete.
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
Where did all his files go then?
Rob G

Did he remove the profile himself?
Or did you do it?
What steps did you do to do it?

Was it a domain profiles?
was it local?
what os?

I can create you a video showing you how i can delete a profile on any OS you want.. and go grab the profile data if you would like?
All of life is about relationships, and EE has made a viirtual community a real community. It lifts everyone's boat
William Peck
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
I removed it in show profiles in Windows 7this is a domain profile. I did not do any registry changes
Rob G

I dunno man..
I just did a test..
Created three accounts, logged into them.. 1 local 1 domain, and one roaming..
Each one still has profile data in the USERS directory after removing them from:

Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\User Accounts\manage user accounts

Sounds like who ever did the removal, deleted the sub-folder under the Users directory..
Mike Sun

So it may be worth a quick check by right-clicking parent folder for the profiles (e.g. c:\users), select "Restore previous versions" then "Open" an older copy if visible. Browsing there will hopefully give you an easy recovery option assuming  your VSS (Volume Shadow copy Service) is working.
Get an unlimited membership to EE for less than $4 a week.
Unlimited question asking, solutions, articles and more.
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
I used System Properties > Settings > User Profiles > Settings.

Nothing in Restore prev versions
Mike Sun

Not under >User Profiles > Settings but using Windows Explorer and right-click e.g. the Users folder where the profiles are usually found...
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
Oh sorry, nothing under prev versions under Users > user.name folder.
Experts Exchange has (a) saved my job multiple times, (b) saved me hours, days, and even weeks of work, and often (c) makes me look like a superhero! This place is MAGIC!
Walt Forbes
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
I thought I remember in the past, deleting the profile and NOT seeing all the user's data gone.

Are we all in agreement on this?
Mike Sun

Deleting the profile is an option when you delete the user but deleting the profile under "System Properties - Advanced tab - User Profiles" will delete all the user's data leaving the user without a profile and ready to receive a new default one...
Predrag Jovic

So, now question is ...
Which method of removing user's profile author did use?
:)
Some methods ask you to keep data, others don't...
Get an unlimited membership to EE for less than $4 a week.
Unlimited question asking, solutions, articles and more.
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
Depends on if it's on a domain
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
This was a domain computer.   I didnt think deleting the profile is supposed to delete the data.  What is everyoen saying tonight?
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
Ok just did a test on a loaner with an end user's account and it does delete all the data in the account.  :(
I started with Experts Exchange in 2004 and it's been a mainstay of my professional computing life since. It helped me launch a career as a programmer / Oracle data analyst
William Peck
Rob G

Mark,
It must be based on your group policy, because on mine, it does not delete the user data when i run a test here..
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
What type of GP settings?
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
We need to change it if it's set like that
Get an unlimited membership to EE for less than $4 a week.
Unlimited question asking, solutions, articles and more.
Rob G

Policies will be located here:
Computer configuration:
Administrative templates:
system:
user profiles:

Or...

User Configuration:
Administrative Template:
system:
User profiles:

The listings in these two locations are the settings in a 2k8R2 AD scenario.

There are more listed in 2k12..


You can alternately follow this link and do the opposite..

http://www.petenetlive.com/KB/Article/0000602.htm
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
Ok Rob, thanks.  I am working with my manager on this to come up with a next step.  Possibly working with the server team
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
Just out of curiosity, why are there people saying that deleting the profile will and will not delete the data?
What's the difference here?
Your help has saved me hundreds of hours of internet surfing.
fblack61
Darr247

You should ask the admins to add the topic area[s] covering the server[s] running your domain.
e.g.

Small Business Server

2003 Server

Server 2008

Server 2012
Craig Beck

If a user has stored data in profile folders and the profile is a local profile (stored on the machine), deleting the profile will delete the user's data which is stored in those folders.  If the user saved in a non-profile folder, such as C:\ (for example) those files will remain.

If a user has a domain-based roaming profile, whichever folders are synced will remain intact on the server.  Any unsynced folders and files will be deleted.

If the user had a mandatory profile, the user's data would likely be stored in a shared folder (much like a home drive), so it will remain intact.

These profile settings will be configured via GPO (in the case of roaming or mandatory).  Local profiles are the default, so if no GPO exists that's what you'll be using.
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
the user's data does not follow them but stays on their one computer in our domain.  Is there any reason the data would disappear in this situation?
Get an unlimited membership to EE for less than $4 a week.
Unlimited question asking, solutions, articles and more.
Craig Beck

Yes.  It sounds like you're using local profiles so delete the profile, delete the data.
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
ok, and you're completely sure of that then?  
We have competing opinions in the thread.
Craig Beck

Yes, unless you store data in folders that aren't My Docs, Pictures, etc.
This is the best money I have ever spent. I cannot not tell you how many times these folks have saved my bacon. I learn so much from the contributors.
rwheeler23
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
Ok thank you.  

Why do we have such competing answers in this thread?
ASKER CERTIFIED SOLUTION
Predrag Jovic

Log in or sign up to see answer
Become an EE member today7-DAY FREE TRIAL
Members can start a 7-Day Free trial then enjoy unlimited access to the platform
Sign up - Free for 7 days
or
Learn why we charge membership fees
We get it - no one likes a content blocker. Take one extra minute and find out why we block content.
Not exactly the question you had in mind?
Sign up for an EE membership and get your own personalized solution. With an EE membership, you can ask unlimited troubleshooting, research, or opinion questions.
ask a question
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
Predrag jovic, Ive never seen that come up when deleting a profile
Predrag Jovic

Create another profile, then log in that profile.
After that log in another profile and go to control panel - user accounts - manage another profile and delete just created profile ... and you will see that message. :)
Get an unlimited membership to EE for less than $4 a week.
Unlimited question asking, solutions, articles and more.
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
Ok so that's different than rightclick Computer > Properties > Adv System Settings > User Profiles > Settings > Delete?
Predrag Jovic

Yes.
Why don't you try both ways yourself?
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
There are six accts on this computer but only one shows up under your way.
Experts Exchange is like having an extremely knowledgeable team sitting and waiting for your call. Couldn't do my job half as well as I do without it!
James Murphy
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
Why is that?
Mark O'Brien

ASKER
This only partially answers the question.