Customize Windows 10 default user profile registry

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 userprofiles will be equally affected. You can find the registy 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