One windows user account too many

60 pts.
Microsoft Windows XP
Windows authentication
Windows XP User Accounts
Windows XP user permissions
I have observed both in network settings and on standalone computers that windows (xp) sometimes creates an additional user account with the same name as the "proper" one but with a trailing .001, .002 etc. Sometimes it is the machine name instead that is added on to the account name. It is most annoying as the user gets a new location for "My documents" etc. What is this all about?  What could be done to prevent it?

Software/Hardware used:
Windows XP

Answer Wiki

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Windows XP creates a new user profile folder if there is corruption or priviledge problems with the original user profile folder. Corruption happens, but though not too often.

It sounds like you have a script or program that points to the My Documents folder. So these occurances do not affect your script you should use Windows System Environment Variables.

%USERPROFILE% = C:\Documents and Settings\UserProfileFolder
%USERPROFILE%\Desktop = C:\Documents and Settings\UserProfileFolder\Desktop


Hmm… I don’t quite follow you on the pointing to My documents folders. You see the ting that happens is that I may have a user called Steve. His user profile would be in %USERPROFILE% = C:\Documents and Settings\Steve.
What happens sometimes is that a new %USERPROFILE% = C:\Documents and Settings\Steve.000 appears.

For a long time I thought this was caused by some malfunction in the Novell-Windows (lack of) cooperation. But then I saw the same thing happen in stand-alone computers that had never been attached to a network. So then I presumed there must me something Microsoft.

I have also seen (in network environments) that in machines that start off with Steve.000 there will soon be a Steve.001 and Steve.002 and so on.

This puzzles me.

Discuss This Question: 3  Replies

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  • Denny Cherry
    How are you building these machines? Are you deploying them from an image, installing from a retail disk, using an OEM restore disk?
    69,125 pointsBadges:
  • Meron
    Well first I have noticed this in my school environment. I serve some 50 machines in a computer lab. But I have also noticed this in private (not-network) environments. The classroom computers are built from different images in a Novell/Windows XP environment. All these computers run Windows in Swedish by the way.
    60 pointsBadges:
  • mshen
    Meron, You are correct. The Microsoft operating system does create these new user profile folder names. It does this when the user profile folder becomes corrupted or when the user lacks the required security permissions to the folder.
    27,385 pointsBadges:

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