Under Windows, a user profile is represented by a set of audio, visual and desktop settings that an individual chooses to use when connected to a certain computer. It is said that a user profile allows computer users to express their personality and interests freely. When the user of a computer decides to use this facility, all the settings it personalizes are saved on the hard disk as part of a file that will be used every time the computer is used and that particular user is the one logging in. However, user profiles can be affected by errors. Such errors can even lead to the disappearance of the profile from storage or to inaccuracies between the user name displayed by the Welcome screen and the one listed in task manager. In the same time user profiles can be deleted by accident along with all the data that belonged to the computer user in question.
So, if you have lost by accident a Windows profile, you may be interested in getting it back or just recuperating the files lost. Both desires are supported by real life solutions, so if you delete by accident or without thinking important information stored on your computer, you should not panic because solutions are many and they are designed to help you recuperate as much data of interest as possible. In most cases, if you want to maximize your chances of recovering a certain file, you should invest your time and effort in a recovery process the moment you realize the loss. That’s because as more time passes, the chances of finding out that the information has been overwritten and can no longer be recuperated increase. So, before panicking you should let me tell you a thing or two about the steps you need to complete in order to recuperate a user profile deleted by accident and the tools you can use in order to recover the files associated with that profile.
Recovering A User Profile Deleted By Accident
If you are currently using Windows XP, if you delete by accident a user profile, the only information that will still be displayed by the Welcome screen is the administrator’s login. That means you will have to use that account combined with the Windows Registry editor in order to recuperate the user profile deleted by accident. What’s important to mention from the start is that the Registry is a vital element of the Windows operating system, so before making any changes to its content you should back it up in order to avoid irreversible damage.
To create a backup of the Registry you need to follow a number of simple steps. The first thing you need to do is go to RUN, type “regedit” and then press Enter. You will then have to open the File menu and choose Export. On the new screen displayed, you will have to locate, towards the bottom, the All under Export range option and select it. You will then have to enter a name for the backup created and click on the “Save” button. If at a later time, you want to use the backup created for restore purposes, you will have to visit the Registry editor again and this time choose the Import option that you will also find under the File menu. You will then have to browse your computer and select the backup file that you have previously created. Once the right file is selected, you can click Open and then patiently wait until the registry is automatically restored.
Now that you’ve created a safe net for yourself, you should revisit RUN, type “regedit” and then click OK. After the Registry Editor is displayed, you will have to browse it until you locate an entry that says “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsNTCurrentVersionWinlogonSpecialAccountsUserList”. You should then focus on the right side of the window and right-click on the empty space. You will then have to select inside New DWORD Value. As a result, a new value item will be created. To that item you need to give the name of the profile that you’re trying to recuperate. You will then have to double click on this item in order to set Value data to 1. Your actions will end up re-creating the user profile that you have deleted by accident. All it’s left to do in order to see the change is restart the computer. When Windows loads you will notice that the Admin account has now some company.
Recover Deleted Files
If you just want to recover some files that you created while using a certain profile no longer available, you should use one of the software tools available on the market that specialize in file recovery. What these tools exploit is the way Windows handles the deletion of files, Even if you delete the files you no longer need from Recycle Bin, their image remains on the hard disk until it’s overwritten by other files you create. Sometimes such deleted files can even survive disk formatting. On the one hand this is good news because it means the files you delete by accident won’t be lost forever if you manage to discover their loss in due time. On the other hand, it’s worrying news because it means malicious people can recuperate sensitive files that you’ve disposed off if you don’t use for their deletion specialized tools. So, if you want to properly delete a file or recuperate one deleted by accident you still need to install specialized software. That’s why I think you should invest in a tool that can offer both facilities under the same interface.
The software tools of this kind that you will discover on the market are sometimes available for free and sometimes as paid versions with free trials. My suggestion is to check out both types of software, because if the free ones don’t do the trick, you can at any time switch to paid ones that are supposed to be better featured. One of the tools that I for one find useful for the purpose of recovering files from a deleted profile is Tuneup Utilities. This software allows you not only to recover deleted files, but also to take care of some of the maintenance needs of your computer.
The process that allows you to recuperate lost files using TuneUp Utilities is not complicated at all. You will first of all have to locate within the simple interface the tab dedicated to file recovery and destruction and choose the Undelete option. You will then be greeted by a window that requires you to choose the hard drive from which you want to recover the files you’ve lost. After you make your choice you will have to click “Next” and focus your attention on the criteria box that will be displayed by the next window. This criteria box allows you to narrow down the search. For example, if you are looking for a photo, you should enter as filter [*.jpeg] in order to speed up the process. So, after you enter the type of file you are looking for you should click “Next” and patiently wait until the list of files that can be recovered is displayed. After you locate in that list the file of your interest, you can restore it by simply clicking the “Restore” button. You will also be required to choose the folder where you want the recovered copy to be stored. Considering that it’s that simple to recover a file that you have lost because of a deleted profile, you should never panic if something of the sort happens to you. In addition, this method works for any deleted file and not only for those tied to a certain user profile.
The other interesting feature that Tuneup Utilities offers is the one that makes sure you are deleting private files for good. After you install this software on your computer, you will notice that an option will be added to your right-click menu. This option is known as the Shredder option and is designed to securely delete files. In order to use it you have to right click on the file of interest and then select from the list of options displayed the “TuneUp Shredder” option. Your click will lead to a window that requests you to choose one of three deletion methods: Fast Delete, Secure Delete or Secure Delete, Gutmann method. You are also offered the chance to choose the number of repetitions so that you can make sure the file is brought to a state that doesn’t allow its recovery.
TuneUp Utilities is just one of the many tools that the market makes available, so you are free to check out as many options as you like. I’ve mentioned this software only because for me it did the trick. If you want to experience the power of more tools of this kind I think you should look for the ones that offer free trials. Such tools allow you to get a sample of the product before the actual purchase.
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