When different users log on locally to the same Windows 2000 computer, Windows uses the factory-supplied default user profile as a template to create a profile for each newly logged-on user. However, with a little work it's possible to edit this custom default profile, so that the administrator can provide customizations to the default profile that all users can share.

  1. Log onto the computer in question as the administrator and create a local user account. (Note: Remember to log in as the local administrator, not the domain admin.)


  2. Log off as administrator and then back on again as the newly-created local user. Creating a custom user profile with the administrator account will create problems with permissions, since everything created through the new profile must be accessible to regular users.


  3. Make whatever per-user changes are needed to the profile, such as drive mappings or desktop configurations.


  4. Log off as the local user and back on again as the local administrator.


  5. Make sure hidden files and folders are visible. To do this, go to Tools | Folder Options in Explorer and select View | Advanced Settings | Show Hidden Files and Folders.


  6. Under Control Panel | System, select the User Profiles Tab and then select the newly-created user with the modified profile. Click the Copy To button.


  7. Click the Browse button to select the folder to copy the profile into. Select the Documents and SettingsDefault User folder, and click OK. (Note that the Documents and Settings folder may be in a different drive on each machine, depending on how it was set up.)


  8. Click the Change button under "Permitted to use" and select the Everyone group, then click OK to close all windows.

All newly-created users will now use the customized profile. You can perform these steps as part of the preparation for a desktop system image as well.

Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter. Check out his Windows 2000 blog for his latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators – please share your thoughts as well!


This was first published in August 2003

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