The Desktop.ini file does not work correctly when you create a custom default profile

Symptoms

If you start the System tool in Control Panel, click the Advanced tab, click Settings under User Profiles, and then copy a preconfigured user's profile to the Default User profile, the customization feature of the Windows shell for the My Documents folder and subfolders is lost for all new users. The My Documents, My Pictures, and My Music folders for new users are labeled with a different user's logon name when a new user views the folders by using Windows Explorer.


The supported method of building a customized profile for deployment purposes is to use the Sysprep tool. For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

314472 Quick Guide to Preinstalling Windows

Cause

By default, the My Documents, My Music, and My Pictures folders are customized by using the Desktop.ini file and the "Owner=" setting when a new user first logs on. The "Owner=" setting is set to the new user's logon name.


In the example in this article, the Administrator account was copied to the Default User folder. Because the Default User profile was updated with a different user's profile, the customization feature does not run for the My Documents, My Music, and My Pictures folders, and the "Owner=" setting in the Desktop.ini file is not updated. You must manually update the Desktop.ini file before new users log on to the computer.

Resolution

To make sure that each user receive the generic customization of the My Documents, My Music, and My Pictures folder, you must delete the "Owner=Administrator" entry in the [DeleteOnCopy] section. Note that the Desktop.ini file is marked with the System and Hidden attributes. You must maintain these attributes. You can use the notepad desktop.ini command at a command prompt to modify the Desktop.ini file.

More Information

If you view the My Documents folder from a command prompt, customization from the Desktop.ini file is not used. This simplifies the update process.

Folder listings from a command prompt:


E:\Documents and Settings\Default User>dir /a /b

Application Data
Cookies
Desktop
Favorites
Local Settings

My Documents
Nethood
Ntuser.dat
Ntuser.dat.log
Ntuser.ini
PrintHood
Recent
SentTo
Start Menu
Templates
UserData

E:\Documents and Settings\Default User>dir /a /b "my documents"

Desktop.ini
My Music
My Pictures

Desktop.ini
[DeleteOnCopy]
Owner=Administrator
Personalized=5
PersonalizedName=My Documents

E:\Documents and Settings\Default User>dir /a /b "my documents\my music"

Desktop.ini
Sample Music.lnk

Desktop.ini
[DeleteOnCopy]
Owner=Administrator
Personalized=5
PersonalizedName=My Music

E:\Documents and Settings\Default User>dir /a /b "my documents\my pictures"

Desktop.ini
Sample Pictures.lnk

Desktop.ini
[DeleteOnCopy]
Owner=Administrator
Personalized=5
PersonalizedName=My Pictures

References

For additional information, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

305709 HOW TO: Create a Custom Default User Profile
Properties

Article ID: 321281 - Last Review: Mar 11, 2009 - Revision: 1

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