Create a Custom Default User Profile in Windows XP

    When creating my own build of Windows XP using nlite , I needed some settings, which are usually stored in HKEY_CURRENT_USER, to apply to all future users.

    It would be logical to assume that the registry branch HKEY_USERS \ .DEFAULT stores a copy of the registry for new users, but it turned out that this is far from the case. Googling a little, I found out that it stores the Local System user profile.

    Further study of the materiel led to finding two ways:

    a)Run regedit, select the HKEY_USERS section, then click File-> Load Hive (File-> Load Hive). Select the file% systemdrive% \ Documents and Settings \ Default User \ ntuser.dat. Give the "bush" any free name. That's it - you have in your hands a copy of HKEY_CURRENT_USER for future users. Set up everything we want, then select our “bush”, and then click File-> Unload Bush. Voila - everything is ready.

    b) Another method is published on the Microsoft website :
    1. Log in using the administrator account and create a local user account.
    2. End the session and log in using the account you created in the previous step.

    Attention! Creating a custom user profile as an administrator leads to incorrect assignment of access rights.

    3. Make the necessary settings for the profile. For example, you can install printers and map network drives.
    4. End the session and log in using your administrator account.
    5. Since some profile files that must be copied to the created Default User custom profile are hidden, you must enable the Show hidden files and folders option.

    6. Replace the current Default User profile with the created user profile.

    To do this, follow these steps:
    a. In Control Panel, double-click the System icon.
    b. In the System Properties window, click the Advanced tab.
    c. In the User Profiles group, click the Options button.
    d. In the User Profiles dialog box, select the newly created profile and click the Copy Profile button.
    e. In the Copy Profile dialog box, in the Copy profile on group of options, click the Browse button, select the \ Documents and Settings \ Default User folder, and click OK.
    f. In the Allow use group, click the Change button, select the All group in the list and click OK. If the All group is not available, click the Advanced button, then the Find button, select the All group and click OK.

    After that, this profile will be used to create profiles for all new users.

    Note.The created and configured Default User profile can be used on another computer running Windows XP. To do this, copy the profile saved in the C: \ Documents and Settings \ Default User folder to a similar folder on another computer.

    For myself, I chose the first method, because I had to adjust only a few keys.

    PS I was wondering why the “bush” (“hive”). According to this note:

    Почему файл системного реестра называют "кустом"? Потому что один из первых разработчиков Windows NT ненавидел пчёл. В связи с этим разработчик, который отвечал на тот момент за системный реестр, сделал так много упоминаний пчёл, как только мог. Файл системного реестра называют "ульем" ("hive"), а данные системного реестра хранятся в "ячейках" ("cells").

    In the Russian translation, the word “hive” was translated as “bush”, although “Download the hive” in regedit would be much more exotic :-)

    UPD: Empirically, it was found that changes to HKEY_CURRENT_USER during the installation of Windows XP (step “register components”) are saved exactly in% systemdrive% \ Documents and Settings \ Default User \ ntuser.dat

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