Create a custom default user profile in XP

KB959753 – How to customize the default local user profile when you prepare an image of Windows XP

This article describes how to create a custom default user profile in Windows XP. A custom default user profile is helpful if several people use the same computer but each user wants a separate profile and access to shared resources. When multiple users log on locally to the same computer, Windows XP uses the built-in default user profile as a template to assign a profile to each new user. You can replace this built-in profile with a custom default user profile so that each new user receives a custom version of the profile. Because this change is permanent, it is a good idea to make a backup copy of the default user profile, in case you ever want to use it again. The default user profile is in the Default User folder under Documents and Settings.

Create a custom default user profile
1. Log on to the computer as the administrator, and then create a local user account.
2. Log off as the administrator, and then log on to the computer through the local user account that you just created.Caution You will cause permissions issues if you create the custom user profile when you are logged on as the administrator.
3. Customize the profile appropriately. For example, install printers and map the drives that you need.
4. Log off as the local user, and then log back on as the administrator.
5. Because several of the files in the profile are hidden and must be copied to the new custom default user profile, turn on the Show hidden files and folders option. To do so, follow these steps:
a. Double-click My Computer, click Tools, and then click Folder Options.
b. On the View tab, under Advanced settings, click Show hidden files and folders, and then click OK.
6. Replace the current default user profile with the customized default user profile. To do so, follow these steps:
a. In Control Panel, double-click System.
b. In the System Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab.
c. Under User Profiles, click Settings.
d. In the User Profiles dialog box, click the user profile that you just created, and then click Copy To.
e. In the Copy To dialog box, under Copy profile to, click Browse, click the C:\Documents and Settings\Default User folder, and then click OK.
f. Under Permitted to use, click Change, click Everyone, and then click OK. If Everyone is not available, click Advanced, click Find Now, click Everyone, and then click OK.

Windows XP will now assign the custom default user profile to any new user who logs on to the computer.

Note: You can use this custom profile on other Windows XP-based computers by copying the profile you saved in C:\Documents and Settings\Default User to the same folder on a different computer.