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Sharing user profiles

How can I share a Windows 2000 user profile with another user?

Windows 2000/XP


If you want to log in and have access to all the desktop settings and files in a particular profile other than your current one, than this tip is for you. It requires a registry edit which can potentially screw up Windows 2000 if you don't know what you are doing, so you have been warned...

Note: You may run into some security problems accessing a profile from another account on a NTFS formatted partition since you are technically not the owner of those files. To get around this, log in as an administrator and modify the permissions on the shared profile folder so the other user can access those files. If you modified the administrator account to use a regular user profile, you shouldn't have to worry about the permissions.

  1. Find which profile you want the other profile to share. Windows 2000 typically stores its profiles in the Documents and Settings folder on the same drive where the operating system in installed.
  2. Click on the Start menu button--Run...
  3. Type regedt32 and press the <Enter> key.
  4. Highlight the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE window.
  5. In the hierarchical tree in the left hand column, double click on the following keys in the specified order...
                   Windows NT
                        Current Version
  6. Under ProfileList, you'll find some keys named with a long string of numbers and letters. Each of these folders correspond to the profiles that have been created on the computer. Open up each key and look at the ProfileImagePath value until you find the profile that you want to change to use another profile.
  7. Modify the ProfileImagePath to point it to the profile you want to use. Example: %SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\user1
  8. Log out and log back in to see the results.

Last updated September 16, 2003