a question I was asked at a job interview today. Don't think I was on-target with my answer.

How do you rebuild a Windows 7 user profile on a PC joined to an Active Directory domain and why would you want to do this?

  • 2
    1. Log on to the machine as an administrator and delete the user profile in question. 2. Log on as the user in order to create a new profile. 3. Because the profile is damaged/corrupted, etc.
    – joeqwerty
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 18:35
  • Thanks for the feedback. Seems like a pretty easy answer in retrospect.
    – Jman
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 19:02
  • Well... I would transfer profile as needed using ForensIT tools. It is possible to restore access to all documents in your profile as part of the rebuilding. It works both when joining and leaving a domain. Commented yesterday

2 Answers 2



  • Rename or delete the profile folder. In Windows 7 its in C:\Users\Username. If its a roaming profile, then its where its being pointed to in the users properties

  • Rename or delete the registry key so that Windows isnt looking for a profile that doesn't exist (and end up giving the user a temp profile). Browse to the reg key showing below, and find the SID for that user (by selecting the SID key and looking at the ProfileImagePath value.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList


Corruption of the HKCU hive (ntuser.dat). virus, inability to logon etc.

  • 1
    You made my day. My answer wasn't that far off from this, so maybe there's still hope. Thanks!
    – Jman
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 18:50

I worked over a hundred hours a week as a lawyer on multi-billion dollar mergers and acquisitions. One day, I broke down in the kitchen and started sobbing. My problem: I was making six-figures but I felt empty inside.

Fast forward a few years, and I get a call that confirms everything.

“Please,” the woman on the line pleaded. “It’s my only time with my son and I really need your help.”

After I’d left the legal firm, I ended up founding a startup. Our mission was simple—empower freelancers with the financial tools they need to thrive.

It was an easy choice. When I was freelancing myself and almost defaulted on my mortgage because of a months’ long pay cycle, I realized the system was broken.

And that I couldn’t rest until I did something about it.

It was a leap of faith, going from a high salary to no salary.

I worked my butt off.

Pitching a hundred times until we got funding, hiring the best talent I could, and constantly revisiting and perfecting our services and goals.

But this time around, the harder I worked, the better I felt.

During meetings with investors, I’d demo our solution by showing them you could instantly load up a debit card with money earned ahead of pay cycles.

The woman that had called for help had one of our cards.

But that day, no matter what we did and how hard we tried, it wouldn’t work.

She was getting increasingly desperate.

And I was feeling awful.

“Where are you located?” I asked.

“Downtown San Francisco.”

We work with people all over the world and this woman was a stone’s throw away from our offices.


Who knows.

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