Customize Windows 10 default user profile

The default user profile in Windows 10 is the user profile that all new user profiles are based on. If you make changes to the default user profiles registry, all new user profiles will be equally affected. You can find the registry file for the default user profile at C:\Users\Default\NTUSER.DAT.

Load and unloading hives

You can edit the default user registry using regedit.exe or you can do as I do and use the command prompt.

reg load HKLM\DEFAULT c:\users\default\ntuser.dat

...your custom registry tweaks goes here...

reg unload HKLM\DEFAULT

Basically, you would add all registry commands as you would normally do in a command prompt except you have to start by “loading a hive” and finish by “unloading the hive”. For example you could add reg add "HKLM\DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer" /v EnableAutoTray /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f. Notice the HKLM\DEFAULT\? That one is important because it specifies that the registry should be added to the default user profile.

HKCU and HKLM values

You might want to add some registry keys that start with HKCU which means they are user specific. If you want to do that you are going to have to edit the key so that it applies to the “local machine” (HKLM) instead. For example:

reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer" /v EnableAutoTray /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f


reg add "HKLM\DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer" /v EnableAutoTray /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

Note that HKCU\ is changed to HKLM\DEFAULT\.

HKCR values

HKCR contains data related to applications, shortcuts, and file extension associations. All keys that are under HKCR are applied to existing new and old profiles, so these are safe. For example, the following commands will make a new file format in the right-click menu for all users:

reg add "HKCR\.ahk" /ve /t REG_SZ /d "ahk" /f
reg add "HKCR\.ahk\ShellNew" /v "FileName" /t REG_SZ /d "Template.ahk" /f
reg add "HKCR\ahk" /ve /t REG_SZ /d "AutoHotkey script" /f


This will load the default user profile, add some registry keys and then unload the registry hive, making it ready for new users 😊👍

reg load HKLM\DEFAULT c:\users\default\ntuser.dat
# Disable most used apps from appearing in the start menu
reg add "HKLM\DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" /v Start_TrackProgs /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
# Remove search bar and only show icon
reg add "HKLM\DEFAULT\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search" /v SearchboxTaskbarMode /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
reg unload HKLM\DEFAULT

EDIT May 2019

Seems that if you try to load registry keys with a batch file using reg import you cannot use abbreviations such as HKLM in the .reg file. You must use the full name such as HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. This allows you to do something like:

reg load HKLM\DEFAULT c:\users\default\ntuser.dat
Reg import "example.reg"
reg unload HKLM\DEFAULT

The reg file must then include HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\DEFAULT for every key since this is what you have loaded in the hive. For example:




    • Thanks for adding the original post 😜 You should write more often I really enjoy your posts.

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