TechRepublic FastAnswer: Deleting User Accounts Without
Deleting Data Files

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The problem

When you delete a user account on Windows XP, you wipe out
everything about that user, including all of the user’s data in My Documents
and other folders.

The cause

Windows XP ties certain data locations on a workstation to
individual user accounts. These accounts have ownership over the files. When
you tell Windows XP to delete a file, it automatically deletes all files
associated with the user ID. This includes any data stored on the Desktop or
within My Document folders.

The solution

You can save a
user’s files during the deletion process by taking just a few extra steps. Bring up the User Accounts screen by clicking
Start | Control Panel | User Accounts.

First you will need
to select the account you want to delete and click Remove. A prompt will appear
asking if you want to delete the account. Click Ok. Another prompt will automatically pop up that
will ask what you wish to do with the user’s My Document folder. Select the Keep
Files button followed by the Delete Account.
A folder will then appear on your desktop with the deleted user’s My Document
folder content in it.