Although most of us like to have our computer and our folders always organized, Windows creates certain files of its own that under no circumstances should we delete. There are users who, without knowing, tend to delete the unknown files that are in certain directories. Some may not happen at all because they are either garbage or depend on an advanced function that we will probably never use. But there are others that are of great importance to the system, such as NTUSER.DAT .
NTUSER.DAT is a file that all users have in their personal folder, which we have surely seen in passing at some point, but which does not make its purpose clear to most. This file occupies 4 MB (it depends on configurations and installed programs) and, as it is a data file, it cannot be opened with any program.
This file by default is hidden on our hard drive (it will be for a reason). To get to it, we will simply show the hidden files and, in the file explorer, we will write in the address bar % userprofile% .
So what is this file for?
NTUSER.DAT: responsible for saving user configurations
Most of the Windows settings are made directly in the Windows registry. However, there are certain settings that are not saved as is in the registry to avoid problems, but are saved in a separate file, NTUSER.DAT, on which the registry depends.
In other words, the NTUSER.DAT file is responsible for saving the settings and preferences of each Windows user. Each user will have their own file in their personal folder, and when they log in, this file is loaded into the registry to shape the user profile.
When we make changes to our profile settings, they are made directly in the registry. When we log out to turn off the computer, all this information is dumped back into this file so that, when logging in again, the user profile is reloaded.
Even the “Default” Windows user has his own NTUSER.DAT file with the standard default settings of the operating system. Of course, this file occupies only 256 KB as it has nothing more than the essential data to create a new user.
Can this file be deleted?
Windows does not prevent a user from deleting this file. As long as it is the user (it does not allow to delete the files of other users), anyone can go to their personal user folder, select the file and send it to the trash to free 4 MB of space on the hard disk.
Although Windows will continue to function normally, it is more than likely that, when we go to log in again, we will find that we do not have a profile configuration . All of our customization and preferences will be lost. It is even likely that our entire profile has been corrupted.
Therefore, under no circumstances should we think about eliminating this file from our user profile. Although it does not make sense to free 4 MB of space, doing so will surely cause all kinds of problems to our Windows.
What to do if you delete this file by mistake
As we have explained, this file is a Windows own file designed to save the configuration of the operating system profile. And we should not delete it, nor is it worth doing it because of the little space we save. If this file is deleted, Windows 10 will automatically create another from the default file to automatically save the profile settings. Therefore, we will not have to do anything else. Simply worry about reconfiguring everything that we have changed in our profile.
In case of having problems entering the profile after having deleted the NTUSER.DAT file, then what we will have to do is create a new user on the PC and start using that new profile, recovering the data of our original profile from the explorer .
Can I copy the NTUSER.DAT file from another PC?
If we go the easy way and copy this file from another PC, or from another user, to the new one, the equipment could work just as it could not. Everything will depend on the own configurations that our profile would have saved. But what is practically certain is that everything will not work correctly.
Each user and each PC has their own settings that must be in this configuration file. Borrowing the file from another user or from another PC can give us problems. Therefore, the best we can do to avoid them is to follow the recommendation in the previous step. That is, create a new user, migrate our data to this new user and forget about the rest.