How to create new user accounts on a Windows 10 machine using the same settings and preferences. How to create a custom Windows 10 image to restore on PCs with a different hardware configuration. When creating a new account in Windows 10, the operating system uses the contents of the hidden Default folder as a template.
It is usually contained in the \Users folder, which, in turn, hosts the folders of all the user profiles configured on the machine. Whenever you create a new user, Windows 10 draws on the contents of the hidden \Users\Default folder. The preferences related to the profile configuration are read and copied when you log in for the first time with the new account (and not when you create it).
After installing Windows 10, all the accounts are created using the same settings and preferences; you can follow a helpful procedure. The savviest readers can use it as an alternative to the one presented in the Clean article installation Windows 10: here’s how to proceed.
Also Read: Windows 10: The WiFi Network Is Not Secure
Customize The Settings Of New User Accounts Created In Windows 10
To create new accounts in Windows 10, all use the same settings, and you need to customize the contents of the hidden \Users\Default folder. How to proceed?
- Prepare a machine containing two storage units: an SSD unit as the primary unit and a hard disk unit as the secondary unit.
- Install Windows 10 normally, for example, from a USB stick: Download the Windows 10 ISO: here’s how to proceed.
- When the screen in the figure for choosing the language appears, press the key combination CTRL+SHIFT+F3. The system will automatically restart in the so-called Audit mode using the Administrator user account integrated into Windows 10.
- After restarting the machine, you will see a desktop screen similar to the figures. A small window titled System Preparation Utility will appear in the center of the screen. Click Cancel and choose Yes if you want the system detected within the local network.
- Apply at this point all the changes you want to the system configuration. This way, it is possible to establish which configuration each user account must use. You can apply aesthetic changes or more in-depth interventions to Windows 10 settings.
- After shaping the operating system according to your needs, ensure the secondary hard disk (see point 1) is accessible and correctly formatted. If not, press Windows+R and type diskmgmt. MSc, right-click the unformatted hard drive and choose New Simple Volume (assign a drive letter and format).
- Create a file called customize.xml inside the secondary hard disk and paste what is reported at this address. The <CopyProfile>true</CopyProfile> line allows you to make sure that the changes made to the Windows 10 configuration are applied to the default user profile. Wim: X:/sources/install.wim#Windows 10 Pro must indicate the drive letter corresponding to the operating system installation media (which must not be removed), as well as the correct edition of Windows 10 that you are using, is configuring (example : wim: D:/sources/install.wim#Windows 10 Pro or wim: E:/sources/install.wim#Windows 10 Home ). We assumed that you installed a 64-bit version of Windows. If you install a 32-bit version, you must change amd64 to x86.
- If you plan to move the folders of the various user accounts to another unit different from the one used for loading the operating system, you can use this file, remembering to apply the modifications seen in point 7) above. Furthermore, instead of D:\Users, it will be necessary to indicate the complete path of the folder that will host all the user accounts.
- You must open the command prompt with administrator rights (type cmd in the Windows 10 search box, then press the key combination CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER ). At the prompt, type the following net stop wmpnetworksvc %windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /reboot /unattend: e:\customize.xml Instead of e:\customize.xml, inserting the complete path of the file previously created and saved on the secondary hard disk will be necessary. You will see a window like the one in the figure appear. The Sysprep utility will prepare the operating system and then restart it automatically.
- As a final step, complete the Windows installation generally by creating a new user account. This account and those that will eventually be created on the machine from now on will use the same configurations and preferences of the operating system set in the previous point 5). Even the location of the icons on the desktop will be the same as previously defined.
It should be noted that activating synchronization in Windows 10 could lead to unwanted resetting (referring to the configuration used on other systems) of the settings defined on these latter systems: Synchronization Windows 10: how it works and when to disable it. If Microsoft user accounts are created, you can disable automatic synchronization, as the article explains. To familiarize yourself with the mechanism, we suggest doing some tests with a virtual machine, for example, using Virtualbox and setting the use of two virtual hard disks.
Create A Valid Image To Install Windows 10 With The Same Preferences On Any Machine
Following all the steps illustrated up to the previous point 8), once you get to the next step, you can replace the commands presented with the following: net stop wmpnetworksvc %windir%\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown /unattend: e:\customize.xml As usual, e:\customize.xml will have to be replaced with the full path to the file previously created and saved on the secondary hard disk.
Unlike the case seen in the previous paragraph, with the /shutdown switch, the machine will be shut down instead of restarting. However, it should be remembered that what is stored on the hard disk or SSD unit installed as the main one can be used to install Windows 10 on any machine, regardless of the hardware installed. In other words, the configuration of Windows 10 that has just been prepared is free from any hardware.
You can boot the system from the emergency media created with any disk imaging software (AOMEI Backupper, EaseUS Todo Backup, Clonezilla, Macrium Reflect, Acronis TrueImage,…) and then request the creation of an image of the primary hard drive choosing store it on the secondary drive. By restoring the operating system image thus created on another machine, even if equipped with a completely different hardware configuration, Windows 10 will be bootable with the default settings previously configured.
Finally, more expert readers can customize the customize.xml file with most settings in the autounattend.xml file presented in our article Clean installation Windows 10: here’s how to proceed. This way, no questions will be asked during the installation of Windows 10.