I have a client machine (XP SP3) which used to be connected to a windows 2003 domain, but the server has since gone down due to a hard drive failure, however the profiles still remain in 'documents and settings'. I have a local admin account on the same machine (in the administrator's group), except when i try to remove the profiles manually from System Properties -> Advanced -> User Profiles -> Settings, the delete button is disabled.

Also, Windows prevents me from deleting or renaming the user's profile folder as well, due to a lock with ntuser.dat

Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated,



You may try the delprof.exe utility from Microsoft, with sufficient credentials it may do the job.

  • Hi Maxwell, the result from running delprof was a little strange, I tried it with the 'p' option as well, it reported no errors both times I ran it. I then rebooted to see if anything had changed, but both the profile directory and profile itself (under System properties) are still there, and nothing i can tell has changed. – Steve Rathbone Jun 14 '10 at 12:46
  • However, i tried doing what Aceth had recommended with the file permissions (i had to use this support.microsoft.com/kb/308419#4 and mydigitallife.info/2006/07/19/… to enable the security tab first), but then I tried deleting the folders again manually, and it worked. The profiles are also now not listed in the Profiles list in System properties->advanced etc. Thanks again – Steve Rathbone Jun 14 '10 at 13:09

if you have a local admin account try changing ownership of the files then edit the permissions and try deleting again?


You can delete the profile directory manually. Then you just need to get rid of the corresponding registry entry so Windows knows it's gone. The registry entry is in:
HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\[User SID]

Find the registry key with the matching SID (easiest to look at the ProfileImagePath value under the [User SID] keys, it should be C:\Documents & Settings\[User Name]

If you're not very familiar with the Windows Registry, be sure to backup any registry keys before deleting them.

  • You may need to do this in the reverse order. Delete the entry from the ProfileList registry key, restart the machine, then delete the user folder. This is to avoid errors with windows having the registry files open in the user's folder. – BeowulfNode42 Jan 24 '19 at 1:34

When your looking at the User Profiles page click the link at the bottom for user accounts. Should be able to delete or downgrade then delete the user there.

  • Hi xjerx, thanks, I tried that too, but unfortunately the associated accounts (to the profiles) aren't available to be modified on that page either (they dont show up). – Steve Rathbone Jun 14 '10 at 12:16

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