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This can be done via Netplwiz. Is there a way to do this programatically, perhaps via Powershell? The purpose of this is to pre-stage their user profile folder so operations can be performed upon it.

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You're manipulating the HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList registry subkeys when you use that tool. I'm not aware of any programmatic method to make modifications to the profile list. If I were in your situation I'd write up all the programmatic folder manipulation as a logon script and use a registry value to act as a "watchdog" to allow the script to run on the user's first logon, make the changes, then mark the registry so that the script doesn't execute on future logons.

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