Windows NT allows multiple users to work on
the same computer while retaining their individual settings. Each
user has a unique username, and each user has a user profile.
A user profile is a group of files, folders,
and registry entries that “belong” to the user. This includes
environment settings (saved as registry keys) such as colors,
background, shortcuts, Start menu shortcuts, temporary Internet
files, Internet Favorites, user-specific program settings, and
By default, NT stores all profiles in the
X:\WINNT\Profiles\%username% folder, where X:\WINNT is the
directory that contains Windows NT, and %username% is the username
of each user. In addition to directories for each user, you also
have two other folders: All Users and Default User.
The All Users folder includes the settings and
shortcuts available to all users. For example, if you want all
users to have a shortcut to a particular program on the Start menu,
you can place the shortcut to it in the All Users folder.
On the other hand, NT only uses the Default
User folder when a user logs on to a computer for the first time.
NT creates a copy of this folder and saves it in the Profiles
directory under the user’s name. At the second logon, the user has
his or her own profiles folder.
You’ll also find the Ntuser.dat file in each
profile folder. This file includes the user registry settings that
map to HKEY_CURRENT_USER when the user logs on. You can open the
Ntuser.dat file in the Registry Editor and check the settings.
Note: Editing the registry
is risky, so be sure you have a verified backup before making any