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This article describes the fact that user profiles may be deleted after you restart a computer that is running Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008. This behavior occurs because of the setting of a Group Policy that is available only in Windows Vista.
The "Delete user profiles older than a specified number of days on system restart" Group Policy is a new Group Policy in Windows Vista. When you configure the setting of this Group Policy and then restart the computer, the Group Policy may delete user profiles.
To view the setting of the "Delete user profiles older than a specified number of days on system restart" Group Policy in Windows Vista by using the Local Group Policy Editor, follow these steps:
Click Start, type gpedit.msc in the Start Search box, and then click gpedit in the Programs list.
If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password, or click Continue.
Under Computer Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, expand System, and then click User Profiles.
In the details pane, double-click Delete user profiles older than a specified number of days on system restart.
Note You can also enable this Group Policy on a domain container or in an organizational unit by using Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS).
After you enable this Group Policy, the Group Policy enables the User Profiles service. When you restart the computer and then log on to the computer by using a user account that is a member of the administrators group, the User Profiles service deletes user profiles that have not been used within a specified number of days.
Note One day is interpreted as being 24 hours after a specific user profile was most recently accessed.
If you disable this Group Policy, or if you do not configure the setting of this Group Policy, the User Profiles service does not delete any user profiles when you restart the computer.