Deleting Windows Profiles

Written by James Pocock:

There have been a few problems recently with local copies of roaming profiles being incorrectly deleted. The following procedure should be followed when deleting a profile.

Removing the Local copy of the profile

A common mistake is to simply logon to the local machine as an administrator and delete the users Profile from C:\Users or C:\Documents and Settings.

However, deleting only the local folder does not remove some key registry settings. While XP is usually quite forgiving of this Windows Vista is not and a profile which has been deleted in this fashion will never function correctly on the machine until it is rebuilt.

The profile should be fully deleted from the local system by using the User Profile settings option in System Properties.

In Windows XP:

System Properties > Advanced Tab > User Profiles > Settings

In Windows Vista:

System Properties > Advanced System Settings > Advanced Tab > User Profiles > Settings

Profile 1

Highlight and delete the profile you wish to remove (you may need to reboot first).

Profile 1

Finally you can manually remove any residual folders from C:\Users or C:\Documents and Settings.

Remove the Server Copy of the Profile.

Within the CAMPUS network only the user and server administrators have permissions to remove a profile. There are two ways to go about this.

Map a drive to the folder above the users remote profile folder with the user using their user account. You can find out the path by using CAMA.

Alternatively you can request this process is performed by ISS by emailing

Rename the folder as zap.username. This is important because The CAMPUS profile servers have run scheduled tasks which remove folders prefixed with zap. each morning at 06:30. This allows some time to retrieve files from the old profile. More importantly, If the old profiles are not deleted they will count against the users quota.