How to delete user profiles properly

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 5 April 2007 / Last Updated on 5 April 2007]

The right way and the wrong way of deleting user profiles from a machine.

Whenever a user logs onto a Windows computer, a user profile folder is created for that user under C:\Documents and Settings. If you want to delete any of these user profiles, don’t simply delete the C:\Documents and Settings\user_name folder for that user as it leaves the registry settings for that profile intact and this can confuse the profile service and cause unpredictable results. The right way of deleting a user profile is to use the profile applet, which is accessible from the Advanced tab of the System applet in Control Panel.


Mitch Tulloch was the lead author for the Windows Vista Resource Kit from Microsoft Press, which is THE book for IT pros who want to deploy, maintain and support Windows Vista in mid- and large-sized network environments. For more about Mitch, visit his website

The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a well-known expert on Windows Server administration and cloud computing technologies. He has published over a thousand articles on information technology topics and has written, contributed to or been series editor for over 50 books.

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