Skip navigation

How can I configure default settings for new users?

A. A. When a new user logs in for the first time a copy of the default user profile (ntuser.dat) is copied into the users profile. To set default settings for a user you can edit the default ntuser.dat file. Anything you define under HKEY_CURRENT_USER can be changed by editing ntuser.dat.

To change default settings for a new user on a workstation perform the following:

  1. Start the registry editor (regedt32.exe)
  2. Select the "HKEY_USERS on Local Machine" window
  3. Select "Load Hive" from the Registry menu
  4. Move to %systemroot%\Profiles\Default User (e.g. d:\winnt\Profiles\Default User)
  5. Select Ntuser.dat and click Open
  6. When it asks for a key name enter anything, e.g. defuser
  7. Now select the username (e.g. defuser) in the "HKEY_USERS on Local Machine" window and make the changes (for example you could change the wallpaper by changing defuser\Control Panel\Desktop\Wallpaper )
    Note - If you add new keys make sure everyone has at least read access otherwise it will not be copied
  8. When you have made the changes select "Unload Hive" from the Registry menu
  9. Close the registry editor

Anyone logging onto the machine will now pick up these default settings.

To configure a default NTUSER.DAT for a domain perform the above and logon as a user to take these settings. You now need to export these out to the PDC.

  1. Logon as an Administrator
  2. Start the System Control Panel Applet (Start - Settings - Control Panel - System)
  3. Click the User Profiles tab
  4. You will see a list of all the profiles stored on the machine. Select the one which has the settings you wish to use as the default for the domain
  5. Click the "Copy to" button
  6. In the "Copy profile to" enter the location of the Netlogon share of the PDC (usually %systemroot%\system32\Repl\Export\Scripts, you want the Export area not Import as anything in Export is copied to the import by the replication process), e.g. h:\winnt\system32\repl\export\scripts (if h was mapped to the c$ drive of the PDC).
    In the "Permitted to use" click Change. Select Everyone and click Add, then click OK.
  7. Click OK to start the copy.
  8. You should then check that the file ntuser.dat has been created where you selected.

If you have trouble exporting a profile see Q. I get an error when I try to export a profile other than Administrator. (I did :-) )

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.