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How to back up and delete a User Account from XP


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#1
acz

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I recently repaired my friend's broken IBM Thinkpad T23 laptop. Since he has already obtained a different laptop, he said I can keep that old T23.

This machine has Windows XP Pro, MS Office, and some other software which I intend to continue using. Of course, none of the original installation CDs are available, but almost everything important was pre-loaded by IBM at the factory. Naturally, most of that software has been updated and patched over the years. Everything seems to work OK at the moment, including the Windows Genuine Advantage tests.

I cannot apply the Office XP SP3 patches without an original CD for Office XP, however, so I just hope those fixes are not worth pursuing just now.

When the machine starts, it shows three accounts, lets call them:
1- OriginalUser
2- NewUser
3- Guest

'OriginalUser' says that he does not need any of his old files, and I have no interest in his files, but I would like to be on the safe side. In other words, I want to back up all the files of 'OriginalUser' on to DVD-R or an external HD, and then free up all that space from the internal hard drive.
Importantly, I don't want to accidentally delete any of the software; and I have to assume that everything was installed by OriginalUser (or possibly Guest).

Can anyone point me to a procedure that will insure that I move off only his data files without changing any software? And once that is done, how to I get 'OriginalUser' off of the opening screen?
I assume that I can follow the identical process to get rid of the 'Guest' account too?

Thank you!

Edited by acz, 03 October 2006 - 01:46 AM.

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#2
pip22

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As regards installed programs, there is only one global folder for storing them (C:\Program Files) so there's no danger of accidentally removing the ones you want to keep, regardless of which account you delete. Deleting an account does not remove programs, it only removes program shortcuts that existed on that user's desktop.

As for removing the accounts, 'Guest' should not be removed. It's created by Windows, not the user. Leave it but just make sure it's 'Turned Off' (default) so it doesn't appear at the log on screen.

To save old documents and data files created by 'Original User', log on to that account. Back up everything in 'My Documents' for that account (to a CD or another partition).
You can now reboot, log on to your 'New User' account and delete the 'original user' account. It will automatically be removed from the log-on screen.

It would be a good idea to check under "C:\Documents and Settings" to see if the previous owner's documents folder has been deleted by Windows now that the account no longer exists. I have known cases where Windows leaves it behind, just wasting space. At this stage, Windows should not object to it being deleted manually if necessary.

Needless to say, your 'new user' account must be tagged as a 'computer administrator' in order to delete, create or modify other user accounts and their associated folders.

Edited by pip22, 03 October 2006 - 11:29 AM.

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#3
acz

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Thanks so much for the help. As soon as I get my hands on that laptop once again I will implement your instructions.
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