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How do I create two Windows XP account but after login I am in the same document and settings?


I create two user accounts, userA and userB
the profile needs to access is userA

what i need is userA log in will see userA profile including all the setting such as desktop and the document. when userB log in he will also see the same thing like userA which is userA profile. May I know how to do it?? i know it is something about registry. here is a link but i do now really understand

what do i need to put in the path, i have try several way but it prompt out something said "The roaming profile cannot be found".

i am sick of it and may anyone help out

thanks in advance.

ps. i am not using server and i found this link Two users using the same same user profile while not in a domain. but this is not i want.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

The OS doesn't have built-in functionality to support what you're asking for. You could hack the registry in each profile to refer to a common set of folders (Desktop, Start Menu, Documents, etc) for both users, but there's no built-in method for doing this. I suppose you could also hack the Profile List in the registry to load the an NTUSER.DAT / HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive with proper permissions specified within the hive for both users (which, provided both users don't logon at once via "Fast User Switching" would probably work). In a domain environment you could use Folder Redirection and roaming user profiles with a common directory to accomplish some of what you're trying to do but sharing the NTUSER.DAT is always going to be a dodgy hack.

All-in-all what you're asking for is going to be a messy hack, at best.


I'm sitting in a hospital waiting for my wife's best friend to give birth so I have some time to play around w/ an WinXP VM. I was able to successfully do what you're looking for with one major caveat.

  • I created a user named "bob" and another user named "tom".

  • I logged-on as "bob" first. I opened regedit and modified the "Permissions..." settings on HKEY_CURRENT_USER to include "tom / Full Control" in addition to the current permission. I also modified the permissions on HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes to include "tom / Full Control".

  • I added "tom / Full Control" on the C:\Documents and Settings\bob folder.

  • I logged-off and logged-on as "tom". This caused a C:\Documents and Settings\tom folder to be created. I immediately logged-off.

  • I logged-on as "Administrator" and deleted the "C:\Documents and Settings\tom" folder.

  • I opened regedit and navigated to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList. I moved through the subkeys there until I located the entry that referenced C:\Documents and Settings\tom in the ProfileImagePath value. I modified the value to reflect C:\Documents and Settings\bob.

  • I logged-off and logged-on as "bob". I modified the desktop background and made a couple of shortcuts on the desktop.

  • I logged-off and logged-on as "tom". I was immediately greeted with an error loading the profile and taken back to the logon dialog. The error was "Windows cannot log you on because your profile cannot be loaded. Check that you are connected to the network, or that your network is functioning correctly. If this problem persists, contact your network administrator. DETAIL - The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process."

  • I logged-on as "Administrator" and looked at the event log. I found an event in the Application event log, ID 1608, source Userenv, indicating "Windows was unable to load the registry. This is often caused by insufficient memory or insufficient security rights. DETAIL - The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process. for C:\Documents and Settings\bob\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows\UsrClass.dat".

  • I examined HKEY_USERS with regedit and found that the bob UsrClass.dat file was no longer loaded. I logged-off and logged-on as "tom" successfully.

  • While logged-on as "tom" I found that the desktop background was as I'd set while logged-on as "bob" and the shortcuts I created on the Desktop while logged-on as "bob" were visible. I changed the desktop background again, deleted one of the shortcuts, and created a document in the "My Documents" folder.

  • I logged-off, waited 30 seconds, and logged-on as "bob". I found that the desktop background was as I'd left it when I logged-off from the "tom" account. The shortcut I deleted as "tom" was gone. The document I created in "My Documents" while logged-on as "tom" was visible.

This should do what you want. You need to wait, between logons, for Windows to unload the user's registry hives. This doesn't happen immediately. Worse, if you have a piece of software that holds a handle open to one of the users' registries you may find that you can't logon as the other use without either rebooting between logons or installing something like the User Profile Hive Cleanup Service.

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erm, do u mean it is not possible to do so?? as this link shows that in the registry HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList, this -->"%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\username" <-- can be change so that when login Window refer to the profile path..right?? – NewBirth May 22 '11 at 6:58
@NewBirth: I didn't say that anything wasn't possible. There isn't built-in functionality in the GUI to do what you want to do. Making two different user accounts refer to the same profile isn't enough to do what you're looking for. You're also going to need to modify a permission in the NTUSER.DAT / HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive to permit both user accounts access to the hive (as I said in my answer) and the filesystem permissions on the profile folder to reflect both users' access. You also always going run the risk that third-party software is going to have problems with what you're trying to do. – Evan Anderson May 22 '11 at 7:10
@Evan Anderson sorry for my misunderstanding. So, what can i do with the hivelist?? this request is requested from my supervisor and i just follow what he asked. But now i am facing the error of loading ProfileImagePath in the ProfileList which in the registry. How can i solve this?? it does not load the Document and Setting of the particular user but recreate a new one. – NewBirth May 22 '11 at 7:29
@Evan Anderson : thanks a lot and sorry for bothering you during your waiting time. I will try out all the step u stated, may i ask: do you refer to the link i posted?? And if this situation(discussed title) happen in domain, is it easier to be solve? is it something about folder redirection? And again thanks for your help. Actually i am an internship student in a company and face this problem. Anyway thanks a lot ya. just one thing out of topic, so how was your wife's best friend baby?? and thank for your time – NewBirth May 22 '11 at 14:13
@Evan: I've had to do exactly this once and it worked (and still works) flawlessly (for a domain migration). I did end up rebooting in each case where you've logged off (depending on the machine, etc. the registry hives were exceeding 30 seconds and approaching a minute roughly). Would you suspect this would work with V2 Windows 7 profiles? – gravyface May 22 '11 at 14:49

Regardless of what your supervisor wants, the fact is that two accounts can't really share a profile. Ask anyone here: if Evan says it can't be done, it can't be done! :)

What you need to do is figure out why your supervisor wants this: what problem is it supposed to solve? Then you can suggest alternatives that will work that will meet the same needs. Maybe sharing the same documents folder and having the same default (and locked down) configuration will work, or maybe they can both simply log in with the same account, or maybe there's some other solution.

Trying to make something work that's really not supposed to isn't going to end well.

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my supervisor just asked me to do it with word of "i just want two different username log in and entering the same profile, no matter what method, you do it for me" . He do not mention what is his purpose but in my opinion, maybe..i say MAYBE he want to monitor the particular user by accessing into his/her profile without any notice. And i just follow what he say and find a method. So, is two different account accessing the same document and setting folder, is it possible?? – NewBirth May 22 '11 at 8:34
That's flattering. It is feasible to do what the OP is asking for but, fundamentally, it's a big ol' hack. – Evan Anderson May 22 '11 at 9:17
If he might want to monitor the user, there's a few ways to do that: first, if you're on a domain, you can use folder redirection group policy to put their Desktop, My Documents, and other special folders on a server. Then give him read access to a share pointing to that folder on the server. Second, you could install a view-only VNC server, and he can watch what they're doing in real-time. There are other possibilities, too, but we'd need more information on the specific requirements. "Give me access to their documents" is suitably specific. – Mike Renfro May 22 '11 at 12:42

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