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  1. #1
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    ntuser.dat files....thick on the ground!

    This morning I un-hid my protected operating system files, and came across a nest of ntuser.dat files dating back to 2013. The files reside in folder C:\Users\[my username], and there are over two hundred of them, totaling 72.35 MB! Flummox.gif

    The files are arranged by date. On some days, the system generated as few as three ntuser.dat files. On other days, it generated as many as nine files.

    Sometimes new files were created on consecutive days. Sometimes weeks would elapse before the system generated a new cluster.

    So that you know what I'm looking at, here's a partial screenshot:

    http://i.imgur.com/g2vD5YU.png

    Is it safe to delete old files (say, those dated between 2013-2015)?

    Thanks for your help!

    Brooks

    Windows 7 Pro, x64, SP1
    Last edited by BrooksNYC; 2016-03-20 at 01:05.

  2. #2
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    I think those are registry backups of the user settings.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

  3. #3
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Brooks,

    From Wikipedia.org

    NTUSER.DAT
    Within the root of the profile, a file named NTUSER.DAT contains the user's personalized settings for the majority of software installed on the computer; including Windows itself. When the user logs on, NTUSER.DAT becomes merged with the computer's registry, such that it appears as the HKEY_CURRENT_USER branch of the registry tree. NTUSER.DAT is held open for writing (i.e., "locked") whenever the user is logged on.
    HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  5. #4
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    I believe if you created another admin account and logged in with that, you may be able to delete them then, but it isn't advisable.

    As you can only see them when you unhide, I'd just leave them and 72.5MB on today's hard drives is nothing compared to some programs/updates that are installed.

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  7. #5
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    If you leave

    • the most recent set of two NTUSER.DAT{...}.regtrans-ms files
    • and NTUSER.DAT{...}.blf,
    • plus the 'real' NTUSER.DAT,
    • plus the ntuser.dat.LOGn file(s),

    then the older files could probably be deleted.

    If it worries you not to have done this before, move those files you would have deleted somewhere safe, to give you the option of moving them back.
    BATcher

    Time prevents everything happening all at once...

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  9. #6
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    As always, thanks, gents. Your help is much appreciated.

    After more Googling, I do (I think) understand what these files do. What I've yet to see is any discussion of their rabbit tendency to multiply—no mention of the fact that three files might one day be hundreds, with no end in sight.

    If one of you has an idle moment, would you look in the aforementioned location on your own computer, and verify that we are ALL, in fact, crotch-deep in ntuser.dat files?

    I might try your experiment, Batcher, and if I do, I'll report back. Will definitely back up the bunny hutch, just in case.

    Thank you all again, and speaking of bunnies, Happy Easter!

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    Hi I hope this is what you want! This is what Search Everything finds on my W10 Rig!Capture48.JPG

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  12. #8
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    Thanks, holdum! You have fewer files than I do, but your files, like mine, are variously dated. So it may be that churning out new ntuser.dat files is a thing Windows does, and the files simply accumulate over time. (If, a year from now, we discover that our stashes have quadrupled, we'll know for sure!)
    Last edited by BrooksNYC; 2016-03-20 at 01:07.

  13. #9
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Files in C:\Users\John\:
    ntuser.jpg
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
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  15. #10
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    Hi BrooksNYC! Every thing I have read about them on the internet; say don't mess with them.
    That's what I do! I don't mess with them.

  16. #11
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    Thanks, Coochin. Not a lot going on in your rabbit hutch! How old is your computer?

    Quote Originally Posted by holdum333 View Post
    I don't mess with them.
    And the more I think about it, the more I think you and Sudo are right. Best to leave 'em alone. Thanks, both.

  17. #12
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    Hey BrooksNYC. I'm not a expert on what this does, but I run it every now and then. It won't hurt any thing and it's a windows feature!
    PS you are very welcome!
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/w...anup=windows-7

  18. #13
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooksNYC View Post
    ...How old is your computer?...
    I built the computer about three-and-a-half years ago but did a clean install of Win7 Pro x64 in July 2014.

    Have not had any reason to mess w/ the "ntuser" files on any of my systems but have seen multiple instances of "ntuser" files on a few customers' systems but never more than six-or-so.

    You should be able to delete the older "ntuser.dat" files without causing any problems, but as someone else suggested it would be safest to move them to a temporary folder then restart Windows before deleting them (just in case). Windows won't allow you to delete/move the one that is currently in use in any case.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
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  19. #14
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    Hi I know I'm paranoid , but I'm always suspicious of Malware. It does seem like the OP has a lot of ntuser.dat files.
    I would run Malwarebytes free and Adwcleaner. See if they find any thing! As Coochin suggests, the older ones can probably be deleted or moved to a temp folder!
    I always create a back up image of my OS before I try any thing like deleting this type of file!
    Last edited by holdum333; 2016-03-19 at 22:50.

  20. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by holdum333 View Post
    I run it every now and then...it's a windows feature!
    Thanks, holdum! I like Disk Cleanup too, and usually run it before doing an image backup. (And run CCleaner on a daily basis.)

    Quote Originally Posted by holdum333 View Post
    I would run Malwarebytes free and Adwcleaner.
    I use Malwarebytes, but am not familiar with Adwcleaner. Will look into it, and thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by holdum333 View Post
    I always create a back up image of my OS before I try any thing like deleting this type of file!
    Good idea! It's almost time for my monthly image backup, so until that's done, I'll hold off tinkering.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin View Post
    You should be able to delete the older "ntuser.dat" files without causing any problems, but as someone else suggested it would be safest to move them to a temporary folder then restart Windows before deleting them (just in case).
    Appreciate the tips. Am still dithering over whether or not to mess with those files, but if I do, I'll backup everything first.

    Thanks again for your input, guys.

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