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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    Mysterious User Accounts WINDOWS (XP PRo (SP1))

    Hello,

    I've just notice something I hadn't noticed before. I seem to have multiple accounts that as far as I know I didn't create. Here is a list:

    Cocuments and SettingsAll Users
    Cocuments and SettingsAll Users.WINDOWS
    Cocuments and SettingsDefault User
    Cocuments and SettingsDefault User.WINDOWS

    What are these WINDOWS accounts? Have I been infected by something? I use AVG, BO Clean and have Sygate Personal Firewall. None of them report anything.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Chris (Hunt)

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Mysterious User Accounts WINDOWS (XP PRo (SP1)

    It's been awhile and I can't remember - are you using a laptop? The only time I've experienced that situation is when I would log on to my home LAN (peer-to-peer) and the network at the office (domain) using the same user ID. XP then creates a " dot-something " directory to keep the network settings straight. I've also seen it happen on that work domain when our network guru did some monkeying around with someone's settings and the user would be left with an additional directory for her logon (similar to your example). The problem is that I never noticed whether it was ALSO in the All Users folder, so I don't know whether you can safely delete one or not. Depends on what you're doing with the PC.

  3. #3
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    Re: Mysterious User Accounts WINDOWS (XP PRo (SP1))

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by HansV on 18-Oct-03 14:21. Initial reply was irrelevant - sorry!)</P>It seems that this can happen if you re-install Windows XP on top of an existing installation. The .WINDOWS versions are probably newer, and they will be used now.

    It is possible to repair this without re-installing Windows, but it involves some advanced fiddling. Unless you suspect that you have problems caused by this, I would leave it alone.

  4. #4
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    Re: Mysterious User Accounts WINDOWS (XP PRo (SP1)

    Wow that was fast! Thanks for the replies. I'm using a stand alone PC with network capabilities. I'm hooked up to the internet via broadband.

    I'm not a fan of having all these extra directories. Is it possible to simply move the entries from the .WINDOWS accounts into the original accounts via Windows Explorer and delete the .WINDOWS folders. I wonder why I suddenly got them - or rather how long I've had them. I'm wondering if there is anything I could have done that would have caused them to be created.

    Thanks,

    Chris

  5. #5
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    Re: Mysterious User Accounts WINDOWS (XP PRo (SP1)

    <hr>...stand alone PC with network capabilities... <hr>
    What do you mean by that? What I don't understand is the fact that you mentioned only Default and All Users. Seems to me you should also have a "someusername.windows" directory also with whatever user ID you normally use to logon to XP. I wouldn't try deleting or moving anything until and unless you can verify which folder is PRESENTLY being used. You might have to do some playing around to find out the answer to that. The duplicity had to occur through something you did in the logon process or network settings or..... I'd step very carefully through this one lest you crap up your system. It would be ideal IF you do try something, to have a full backup beforehand. Also, since I don't use System Restore, I don't know if having a restore point would capture everything you need, in case you do have a mishap!

  6. #6
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    Re: Mysterious User Accounts WINDOWS (XP PRo (SP1))

    Chris

    I wasn't sure if you were complaining about having the accounts:

    Default User which acts as a "template" when creating new user accounts
    All Users which acts (among other things) as a place where shortcuts can be placed to appear on the desktop of every user

    or having them with the COMPUTERNAME suffix (somehow I just know that your computer name is WINDOWS...!)

    The accounts with .WINDOWS after them are simply the network/domain account, which you'd usually see if you were connected into a "real" domain at work, say. These get created (in standalone mode), I understand, if you create a new account/user profile but don't log on and off with it before "doing things" to it, like copying Favorites to it, and so on. I had this happen when creating a new account/user profile to replace one which had become corrupt.

    There is nothing wrong with any of these four accounts; they exist (most usually without the .COMPUTERNAME suffix) on all NT-type operating systems, like WIndows NT 4, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and very probably on Windows 2003 Server. I'd just leave them all as they are, but the ones with the WINDOWS suffix (ONLY!) could probably be removed without problems, if you don't see any new files appearing after a month or so in their folders.
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

    Ita, esto, quidcumque...

  7. #7
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    Re: Mysterious User Accounts WINDOWS (XP PRo (SP1))

    Thanks for the replies. I checked to see if my computer name had been changed and it hasn't - it isn't WINDOWS. Also I don't have a .WINDOWS folder with my regular user ID, just with the default users and all users. I think understand that the purpose of default user and All Users but I don't see why I've got the .WINDOWS folders. I'm suspicious of folders that suddenly appear on my computer. I do use System Restore and I also have Drive Image 7.0. So with these two options should it be safe to have a go at getting rid of the .WINDOWS folders?

    Big Al asked me what I meant by "stand alone PC with network capabilities". I meant that my computer has IEEE but isn't actually connected to any other computer at the moment. I hope I've got that right.

    I've just done a search on the .WINDOWS accounts - they are empty apart from three shortcuts each! (MSN explorer, Network Connection and New Connections Wizard. The folders are empty - Sorry I should have checked before my initial post. I wonder how they got created.

    Chris

    Chris

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    Re: Mysterious User Accounts WINDOWS (XP PRo (SP1))

    Some of these may help you manage user accounts Chris.

    Windows XP User Profiles

    Understanding User Profiles

    SMBP

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    Re: Mysterious User Accounts WINDOWS (XP PRo (SP1))

    Did you reinstall windows over the top of a previous installation?

    If you install Windows over the top of an existing installation then it has to create new profiles for Default User and All Users before it knows the computername. So it usses .WINDOWS. Other user accounts on this new installation will have .ComputerName

    It is possible to move everything to the original folders and fix up the references in the registry - but you have to be very brave or very foolish. The keys are all in the HKEY_USERS hive.

    StuartR

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    Re: Mysterious User Accounts WINDOWS (XP PRo (SP1))

    I also have XP Pro. In my case, I creaated an account on my computer at home, not connected to a network. Then I came to work and logged in with the identical username. This resulted in two profiles:

    MyName
    MyName.NetworkDomain

    The second (newer) profile didn't contain any of my settings. This was a big pain. Our network admins were able to clone my profile onto it and now that's all I use.

    I'm not sure how your .WINDOWS profiles got created, but I would suspect something related to networking.

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    Re: Mysterious User Accounts WINDOWS (XP PRo (SP1))

    > my computer has IEEE

    For anyone who doesn't have a FireWire port, Windows refers to that port as IEEE 1394.

    (I don't plan to ever use it for networking, maybe I can remove it from the device list somehow...)

  12. #12
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    Re: Mysterious User Accounts WINDOWS (XP PRo (SP1))

    I appreciate all the replies.I don't think I reinstalled Windows on top of another. I was away over the summer and came back after moving house in September. When I returned I found that Windows wouldn't start. I couldn't determine whether it was due to a virus or hard drive failure (I have multiple drives and a removable drive containing data had failed). I ended up using a Windows Automated Recovery Disc that I had made in January. I thought this would get my system up and running but it seemed to wipe my system drive and prompt me to restore a backup. I ended up with restored system. At that time I didn't notice the .WINDOWS accounts. I'm pretty sure they appeared recently. I'll go check out the links that SMBP mentioned

    Chris

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    Re: Mysterious User Accounts WINDOWS (XP PRo (SP1))

    Hello,

    I followed the link to the page about Windows 2000 User Profiles. It mentions a User Profile tab under System. I have no User Profile Tab. Should I have?

    Thanks,

    Chris

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    Re: Mysterious User Accounts WINDOWS (XP PRo (SP1))

    Not a whole tab, just a button on the Advanced tab - screen shot is from Windows XP Pro, but I'm pretty sure that W2K is similar.

    StuartR

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    Re: Mysterious User Accounts WINDOWS (XP PRo (SP1))

    Thanks Stuart,

    The Microsoft link refers to a tab and doesn't mention the advanced tab at all. I checked the settings and there is no mention here of any .WINDOWS accounts. Should there be?

    Chris

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