Server 2008 profile deletion

I know we’ve all done this before.. Playing around with GPO’s, scripts or what have you and want to start out fresh so we delete the user profile directory under C:\Documents and Settings\<user name> to force the creation of a new profile directory. My colleague went to do that exact same thing on a Windows Server 2008 and that’s when I found out it’s not that easy on Server 2008.

After doing some searching I found this blog entry by Helge Klein.

It looks like Microsoft has now added a registry key that keeps track of the user profiles and their paths, among other things, and by deleting the directory alone you only solve half the issue and will get profile errors every time that user tries to log in. You will get the unable to load profile error and a new directory, usually C:\USERS\TEMP, will be created for that user.

If you have done this, the easiest way to do this is go to this reg key, 
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
highlight each sub key until you find the "ProfileImagePath" that matches the one your deleted and then delete that key. I also found that you would have to reboot the server in order to complete this fix.

In future the best way to delete the profile is to go My Computer –> Properties –> Advanced System Settings –> User Profiles Settings and then delete the profile from there.

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