Operating Systems: Restoring User Profiles

There are two cases if a user profile is wiped.

C:\Users will either contain just a folder for their netID


C:\Users will contain a folder for their netID and another folder named netID.AD



Case 1: C:\Users DOES NOT contain netID.AD

  1. Navigate to C:\Users\
  2. Right-click the user profile and go to properties
  3. Under the Previous Versions tab, temporary backups of the user profile created by Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy Service will be listed here. If there is nothing listed, skip to the bottom of the article.
  4. Click through and select the appropriate version to restore, then highlight it and select Restore at the bottom right hand corner
  5. The profile will be restored.



Case 2: C:\Users DOES contain netID.AD

  1. Perform all steps in Case 1.
  2. Log onto local administrator account.
  3. Open regedit.exe. This can be done by typing in regedit in the search bar in the start menu.
  4. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList and expand ProfileList.
  5. Several SIDs will be listed here, all starting with "S-1-5". Click through each until the SID with ProfileImagePath on the right side pane has the path "C:\Users\netID.AD" is found.
  6. Double-click the ProfileImagePath key and delete ".AD" from the netID.
  7. Close the regedit window and log out.
  8. When the user next logs in, the path should be corrected.


If there are no Previous Versions available, that means that VSS did not have the chance to create a snapshot or that another user on the computer took up the allocated hard drive space for snapshots for their own account. There is no way to restore these files other than to send it to professional data recovery services.

Have more questions? Submit a request


Powered by Zendesk