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How to customize the default local user profile when you prepare an image of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2

INTRODUCTION

This article discusses how to customize the default local user profile settings when you create an image on a computer that is running one of the following operating systems:

  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 R2

Note If you are having issues logging on to a user profile, click the following links to view the article on the Microsoft website:
Fix a corrupted user profile (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/Windows7/Fix-a-corrupted-user-profile)
Create a user account (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/Windows7/Create-a-user-account)

After you deploy the image, these settings are applied to all new users who log on to the computer.

Note This article supersedes all previously published procedures for customizing default local user profiles when you prepare images.

For more information about the steps to customize the default local user profile when you prepare an image for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 959753 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/959753/ ) How to customize the default local user profile when you prepare an image of Windows XP or Windows Server 2003
To customize a default user profile or a mandatory user profile, you must first customize the default user profile. Then, the default user profile can be copied to the appropriate shared folder to make that user profile either the default user profile or a mandatory user profile.

When the default user profile is customized in the manner that is described in this article, it reconstructs the source profile in a format that is appropriate for use by multiple users. This is the only supported method of customizing the default user profile for the Windows operating system. If you try to use other methods to customize the default user profile, it may result in extraneous information being included in this new default user profile. Such extraneous information could lead to serious problems with applications and system stability.
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MORE INFORMATION

How to customize a default user profile in Windows 7, in Windows Vista, in Windows Server 2008, and in Windows Server 2008 R2

You can customize the default user profile by using the following Copy Profile parameter in the Unattend.xml answer file that is passed to the Sysprep.exe tool:Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup\CopyProfile
To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Use the built-in local Administrator account, and log on to Windows. Note You cannot use a domain account for this process. This is because, when sysprep is executed, it deletes that profile and the copying of the profile occurs during the specialize phase on first bootup of the image. If you use a domain account, the copy profile process will copy the profile with the latest time/date stamp.
  2. Open the User Accounts control panel, and remove all added user accounts except for the one Administrator-level user account that you used when you logged on.

    Note If there are multiple user profiles, Windows sysprep may choose an unexpected profile to copy to the default user profile. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 2101557 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2101557/ ) All customizations to default user profile lost
  3. Configure the settings that you want to copy to the default user profile. This includes desktop settings, favorites, and Start menu options.

    Note Customizing the Start menu and the Taskbar is limited in Windows 7. For more information, visit the following Microsoft website: http://blogs.technet.com/askcore/archive/2010/03/16/how-to-customize-the-windows-7-start-menu-and-taskbar-using-unattend-xml.aspx(http://blogs.technet.com/askcore/archive/2010/03/16/how-to-customize-the-windows-7-start-menu-and-taskbar-using-unattend-xml.aspx)
  4. Create an Unattend.xml file that contains the Copy Profile parameter. By using this Copy Profile parameter, the settings of the user who is currently logged on are copied to the default user profile. This parameter must be set to "true" in the specialize pass. Here is an example of the CopyProfile property in a .xml file that was created by using Windows System Image Manager (WSIM) for Windows 7 for an x86 version of Windows 7 Enterprise:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <unattend> <settings pass="specialize"> <component name="Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup" processorArchitecture="x86" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" language="neutral" versionScope="nonSxS" xmlns:wcm="http://schemas.microsoft.com/WMIConfig/2002/State" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"> <CopyProfile>true</CopyProfile> </component> </settings> <cpi:offlineImage cpi:source="wim://<computerName>/g$sources/install.wim#Windows 7 ENTERPRISE" xmlns:cpi="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:cpi" /> </unattend>

    Use the Windows System Image Manager tool to create the Unattend.xml file. The Windows System Image Manager tool is included as part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK). For more information about Windows AIK, visit the following Microsoft website: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd349343.aspx (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd349343.aspx)
    For more information about how to create an answer file, see the Help information that is included with Windows AIK, and then visit the following Microsoft website: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd744394(WS.10).aspx (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd744394(WS.10).aspx)
  5. At an elevated command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER: %systemroot%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /oobe /reboot /generalize /unattend:c:\answerfile\unattend.xml
    Sysprep.exe is located in the %systemdrive%\Windows\System32\sysprep directory. For more information about Sysprep, visit the following Microsoft website: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766049.aspx (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766049.aspx)
    Note You must use the /generalize switch so that the Copy Profile parameter can be used. The /unattend option is used to point to the desired Unattend.xml file. Therefore, in this example, the Unattend.xml file is located in the c:\answerfile folder.

    To confirm that the CopyProfile command successfully completed, open the following file: %systemroot%\panther\unattendgc\setupact.log
    Search for lines that resemble the following (in the ''specialize'' pass): [shell unattend] CopyProfileDirectory from c:\Users\Administrator succeeded.
    [shell unattend] CopyProfile succeeded.
    Notice that this line confirms whether the CopyProfile command succeeded and which user profile was copied to the default user profile.
  6. Capture the image.
  7. Deploy the image.

Notes

  • The built-in administrator account profile is deleted when you perform a clean Windows installation or when you run the Sysprep tool. The CopyProfile setting is processed before the built-in administrator account is deleted. Therefore, any customizations that you make will appear in the new user account profile. This includes the built-in administrator account profile settings.
  • Not all customizations will propagate to new profiles. Some settings are reset by the new user logon process. To configure those settings, use Group Policy settings or scripting.

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What to consider when you use Automated Image Build and Deployment Systems

The behavior and the instance when the custom settings are copied to the default user profile have changed in Windows Vista, in Windows Server 2008, in Windows 7, and in Windows Server 2008 R2. Therefore, the location of the setting in the answer file that controls the instance of the profile copy must also be different.

When you use tools such as the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit or System Center Configuration Manager, the CopyProfile setting is not required when you run the Sysprep command. These tools usually replace or change the Unattend.xml file after the image is deployed to the disk but before the operating system has started for the first time after you run the Sysprep command. Therefore, the Unattend.xml file that is used in the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit or System Center Configuration Manager deployment process must contain the CopyProfile setting.

Note If you set the CopyProfile setting to true when you run Setup from the Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2008 R2 installation media during the image build process, the administrator profile settings may be unintentionally copied into the default user profile. The administrator profile settings are typically present in the Install.wim file on the installation media.
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REFERENCES

For more information about how to configure default local user profile settings, visit the following Microsoft website: http://blogs.technet.com/deploymentguys/archive/2008/02/18/configuring-default-user-and-computer-settings-for-windows-image-deployment.aspx(http://blogs.technet.com/deploymentguys/archive/2008/02/18/configuring-default-user-and-computer-settings-for-windows-image-deployment.aspx)

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How to turn the default user profile into a network default user profile in Windows 7, in Windows Vista, in Windows Server 2008, and in Windows Server 2008 R2

  1. Log on to the computer that has the customized default user profile by using an account that has administrative credentials.
  2. Use the Run command to connect to the NETLOGON shared folder of a domain controller. For example, the path resembles the following:\\ <Server_name>\NETLOGON
  3. Create a new folder in the NETLOGON shared folder, and name it Default User.v2.
  4. Click Start from the Start menu, right-click Computer, click Properties, and then click Advanced system settings.
  5. Under User Profiles, click Settings. The User Profiles dialog box shows a list of profiles that are stored on the computer.
  6. Select Default Profile, and then click Copy To.
  7. In the Copy profile to text box, type the network path of the Windows default user profile folder that you created in step 3. For example, type the following path: \NETLOGON\Default User.v2<Server_name>\\
  8. Under Permitted to use, click Change, type the name Everyone, and then click OK.
  9. Click OK to start to copy the profile.
  10. Log off the computer when the copying process is completed.

How to turn the default user profile into a mandatory user profile in Windows 7, in Windows Vista, in Windows Server 2008, and in Windows Server 2008 R2

You can configure the default local user profile to become a mandatory profile. By doing this, you can have one central profile that is used by all users. To do this, you have to prepare the mandatory profile location, copy the local default user profile to the mandatory profile location, and then configure a user's profile location to point to the mandatory profile.

Step 1: Prepare the mandatory profile location

  1. On a central file server, create a new folder or use an existing folder that you use for roaming user profiles. For example, you can use the following folder name "Profiles":\Profiles
  2. If you are creating a new folder, share the folder by using a name that is suitable for your organization. Note The share permissions for shared folders that contain roaming user profiles must enable Full Control permissions for the Authenticated Users group. The share permissions for folders that are dedicated to storing mandatory user profiles should enable Read permissions for the Authenticated Users group and enable Full Control permissions for the Administrators group.
  3. Create a new folder in the folder that is created or identified in step 1a. The name of this new folder should start with the logon name of the user account if the mandatory user profile is for a specific user. If the mandatory user profile is for more than one user, name it accordingly. For example, the following domain has a mandatory profile, and the folder name begins with the word "mandatory": \Profiles\mandatory
  4. Finish naming the folder by adding .v2 after the name. The example that is used in step 1c has the folder name "mandatory." Therefore, the final name of the following folder for this user is "mandatory.v2": \Profiles\mandatory.v2

Step 2: Copy the default user profile to the mandatory profile location

  1. Log on to the computer that has the customized local default user profile by using an account that has administrative credentials.
  2. Click Start from the Start menu, right-click Computer, click Properties, and then click Advanced System Settings.
  3. Under User Profiles, click Settings. The User Profiles dialog box shows a list of profiles that are stored on the computer.
  4. Select Default Profile, and then click Copy To.
  5. In the Copy profile to text box, type the network path of the Windows default user folder that you created in the "step 1: Prepare the mandatory profile location" section. For example, type the following path: \Profiles\mandatory.v2<Server_name>\\
  6. Under Permitted to use, click Change, type the name Everyone, and then click OK.
  7. Click OK to start to copy the profile.
  8. Log off the computer when the copying process is completed.
  9. On the central file server, locate the folder that you created in the "step 1: Prepare the mandatory profile location" section."
  10. Click Organize, and then click Folder options.
  11. Click the View tab, click to select the Show hidden files and folders check box, click to clear the Hide extensions for known file types check box, click to clear the Hide protected operating system files check box, click Yes to dismiss the warning, and then click OK to apply the changes and close the dialog box.
  12. Locate and right-click the NTUSER.DAT file, click Rename, change the name of the file to NTUSER.MAN, and then press ENTER.

Note Previously it was possible to copy profiles by using the System Control Panel item. This copy to default profile option is now disabled as it could add data that made the profile unusable.

Step3: Prepare a user account

  1. As a domain administrator, open the Active Directory Users and Computers management console from a Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008 computer.
  2. Right-click the user account to which you want to apply the mandatory user profile, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the Profile tab, type the network path that you created in the "step 1: Prepare the mandatory profile location" section in the profile path text box. However, do not add ".v2" at the end. In our example, the path would be as follows: \Profiles\mandatory<Server_name>\\
  4. Click OK, and then close the Active Directory Users and Computers management console.

The user will now use the customized mandatory user profile.
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APPLIES TO
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
  • Windows HPC Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Web Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard

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  • Alias ID: 1261110914140219
  • Document ID: HT070568
  • Last Updated :12/15/2014
  • (c) 2014 Lenovo