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MS Windows NT4 Workstation

On MS Windows NT4, the default user profile is obtained from the location %SystemRoot%\Profiles, which in a default installation will translate to C:\Windows NT\Profiles. Under this directory on a clean install, there will be three directories: Administrator, All Users, and Default User.

The All Users directory contains menu settings that are common across all system users. The Default User directory contains menu entries that are customizable per user depending on the profile settings chosen/created.

When a new user first logs onto an MS Windows NT4 machine, a new profile is created from:

  • All Users settings.

  • Default User settings (contains the default NTUser.DAT file).

When a user logs on to an MS Windows NT4 machine that is a member of a Microsoft security domain, the following steps are followed for profile handling:

  1. The user's account information that is obtained during the logon process contains the location of the user's desktop profile. The profile path may be local to the machine or it may be located on a network share. If there exists a profile at the location of the path from the user account, then this profile is copied to the location %SystemRoot%\Profiles\%USERNAME%. This profile then inherits the settings in the All Users profile in the %SystemRoot%\Profiles location.

  2. If the user account has a profile path, but at its location a profile does not exist, then a new profile is created in the %SystemRoot%\Profiles\%USERNAME% directory from reading the Default User profile.

  3. If the NETLOGON share on the authenticating server (logon server) contains a policy file (NTConfig.POL), then its contents are applied to the NTUser.DAT, which is applied to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER part of the registry.

  4. When the user logs out, if the profile is set to be a roaming profile, it will be written out to the location of the profile. The NTuser.DAT file is then re-created from the contents of the HKEY_CURRENT_USER contents. Thus, should there not exist in the NETLOGON share an NTConfig.POL at the next logon, the effect of the previous NTConfig.POL will still be held in the profile. The effect of this is known as tattooing.

MS Windows NT4 profiles may be local or roaming . A local profile is stored in the %SystemRoot%\Profiles\%USERNAME% location. A roaming profile will also remain stored in the same way, unless the following registry key is created:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\
winlogon\"DeleteRoamingCache"=dword:0000000

In this case, the local copy (in %SystemRoot%\Profiles\%USERNAME%) will be deleted on logout.

Under MS Windows NT4, default locations for common resources like My Documents may be redirected to a network share by modifying the following registry keys. These changes may be made via use of the System Policy Editor. To do so may require that you create your own template extension for the Policy Editor to allow this to be done through the GUI. Another way to do this is by first creating a default user profile, then while logged in as that user, running regedt32 to edit the key settings.

The Registry Hive key that affects the behavior of folders that are part of the default user profile are controlled by entries on Windows NT4 is:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER
	\Software
		\Microsoft
			\Windows
				\CurrentVersion
					\Explorer
						\User Shell Folders

The above hive key contains a list of automatically managed folders. The default entries are shown in the next table.

Table26.1.User Shell Folder Registry Keys Default Values

Name Default Value
AppData %USERPROFILE%\Application Data
Desktop %USERPROFILE%\Desktop
Favorites %USERPROFILE%\Favorites
NetHood %USERPROFILE%\NetHood
PrintHood %USERPROFILE%\PrintHood
Programs %USERPROFILE%\Start Menu\Programs
Recent %USERPROFILE%\Recent
SendTo %USERPROFILE%\SendTo
Start Menu %USERPROFILE%\Start Menu
Startup %USERPROFILE%\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

The registry key that contains the location of the default profile settings is:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\
User Shell Folders

The default entries are shown in Defaults of Profile Settings Registry Keys.

Table26.2.Defaults of Profile Settings Registry Keys

Common Desktop %SystemRoot%\Profiles\All Users\Desktop
Common Programs %SystemRoot%\Profiles\All Users\Programs
Common Start Menu %SystemRoot%\Profiles\All Users\Start Menu
Common Startup %SystemRoot%\Profiles\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
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