How to Reset Windows user Profile

Reset Windows user profile

The Windows Registry stores all the connections between created Windows users and their corresponding user profile data on the hard disk. Removing these shortcuts can effectively reset Windows Profile to its default settings.

This process allows you to start fresh and create a new profile without any previous customizations or preferences.


How To Reset Windows Profile

Reset Windows User profile via registry.

The following tip is often given on the Internet under the heading Delete Windows user profile described. In my view, however, this is only partially true.

The user profile is not deleted, but all links between the user and the user profile are removed so that a new user profile is created on the hard disk the next time you log on. Therefore, I prefer to speak of resetting the Windows user profile, as this is more likely.

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In the Windows Registry, you will find under

HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionProfileList

a list of all Windows user profiles linked to the local system.

Three user profiles are the same on every system and should never be deleted:

  • S-1-5-18: System Profile
  • S-1-5-19: Local service
  • S-1-5-20: Network Service

All other user profiles follow and always start with S-1-5-21. If you click on one of these keys, you can see on the right side which Windows user it is. The exact profile path is below ProfileImagePath.

If you cannot determine the user from this, you can view the authorizations by right-clicking on the respective key (S-1-5-21-….). The user is usually involved here.

Reset Windows User Profile – By removing a registry key. You can reset Windows user profiles to “factory settings.”

If you now remove one of these keys in the ProfileList, all links between the user and the saved user profile will be deleted. You can use this to reset the Windows user profile, and the user will receive a new user profile the next time they log in.

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Windows user profile is not deleted.

As described initially, the old user profile is not removed and remains under C: Users. It then has to be manually deleted there. Theoretically, a Windows user profile could be reset and then “filled” with individual files and folders from the old profile. This would have only deleted the settings but kept the files.

This intervention is justified, especially with older people’s terminal server environments, in which the user profile data carriers are not yet used. If a user is registered with a temporary profile, the key is found in the key ProfileList in addition to the actual user profile, another one with the addition bake. This must be removed manually before the user can log in again with his actual user profile.

Rohit is a certified Microsoft Windows expert with a passion for simplifying technology. With years of hands-on experience and a knack for problem-solving, He is dedicated to helping individuals and businesses make the most of their Windows systems. Whether it's troubleshooting, optimization, or sharing expert insights,