Windows 10: Is it safe to delete the system managed account named 'DefaultAccount'
That is a slightly misleading use of the word 'account'. The folders you refer to are more accurately called the user's Profile, not their Account. Accounts are the list of SIDs held in the registry under HKEY_USERS. The user's profile is found at %USERPROFILE%\NTUSER.DAT which is the Hive that is loaded into the registry as HKEY_CURRENT_USER at logon plus their Desktop, Start and other folders.
A user profile consists of the following elements:
- A registry hive. The registry hive is the file NTuser.dat. The hive is loaded by the system at user logon, and it is mapped to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER registry key. The user's registry hive maintains the user's registry-based preferences and configuration.
- A set of profile folders stored in the file system. User-profile files are stored in the Profiles directory, on a folder per-user basis. The user-profile folder is a container for applications and other system components to populate with sub-folders, and per-user data such as documents and configuration files. Windows Explorer uses the user-profile folders extensively for such items as the user's Desktop, Start menu and Documents folder.
You can create an account, but until the user logs in there's no user profile to go with it. At first logon on a new profile folder is created for the user. The %USERPROFILE% folder (by default, created at C:\Users\<username>) is a copy of the default user profile found at C:\Users\Default, modified to personalise it for the specific user. That's why it takes so long and you see all those 'Hi, we're getting things ready...' messages the first time you log on.
It use to be so easy in XP to customise the Default Profile, just create an account, log in and rearrange it as you wish. Then log out, rename the profile folder as 'Default User' (renaming or deleting the original one first) and delete the account you used to make it. It's got progressively more complicated since then, by now requiring the use of the Sysprep tool, as @Kari explains...
Do not click any buttons nor press Enter. Instead press CTRL + SHIFT + F3
(press and hold down both CTRL and SHIFT keys, press F3, release all keys)
Windows reboots now entering a so called Audit Mode
using the built-in administrator account. When Windows Desktop will be shown you'll notice the System Preparation Tool
dialog in the middle of your screen. Close it for now by pressing the Cancel
It's not clear what (if any) part the DefaultAccount plays in all this, particularly as...
Looking at the user info, it has a privilege level of USER_PRIV_GUEST, so it's like the Guest account, but without any legacy group memberships.
Yes, I misspoke. Default.migrated is an old user profile that can typically be safely deleted.
Yes, and confirmed by @Kari's link. But note the accompanying warning!.
That just leaves us with the question that started this thread: What on earth is the purpose of the (undocumented) DefaultAccount ?
...possible "ghost profile" folders should not be confused with the important default user profile folder Default
(hidden folder) which should not be touched!
That seems to be a copy of the native built-in administrator profile, not copy of default user profile as you might logically think. It is totally useless, not required, yet it is sometimes shown even if you check existing user profiles with net user command or in advanced user control panel netplwiz.
A very interesting detail is that I've seen the name of this profile written in two different ways, as defaultuser() ( with ( and ) at the end), and as defaultuser0 (with digit 0 at the end).
If it is shown with net user, I always remove this user before removing the folder. Even when not shown in net user I do not remove the folder after first boot to desktop; I am too old school, have seen too much so what I do is I first check if it is shown as user and remove if yes, then reboot and only then remove the folder.
That's not quite what I asked, I'm puzzled by purpose of the built in (but disabled) account DefaultAccount which (as far as I can see) doesn't have an associated profile.
It has no purpose. There's obviously a minor bug in system, a useless and irrelevant profile will be created for no valid, factual reason.
It's like asking what is the purpose of Settings app sometimes just suddenly closing when you click it, not working, forcing you to re-open it. No purpose, just a bug.
Kari, mystere and Bree. I thank you all very much for taking the time to explain things in such detail for me. It's really appreciated.
I'm tinkering with quite a few systems at the moment and also looking forward to buying some new components to make a new desktop PC for myself.. hopefully next month.
All your valuable info will certainly go a long way to helping me understand and configure my new system exactly the way I want it to be.
I'll try and remember to report back and update you all on how things are progressing.
Many thanks once again.
I would have given extra reputation but it says I have to spread out some reputation elsewhere before giving you more.
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