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How can I create a duplicate user account in Windows 7?

Reason

My account will not allow Windows Help to come up (apparently corrupted), but the Administrator account's help works fine.
Also, when I created several "dummy" accounts, help worked on those as well.

Or is there a way to correct help on my account?

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What, exactly, happens when you try to get help? How are you invoking it? Are you getting an error message? Perhaps we can address that problem and spare you the chore of transferring all of your settings, favorites, and whatnot. –  BillP3rd Sep 6 '10 at 1:16
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3 Answers

It's not clear what you mean by a "duplicate account". Do you want to make an account with the same username? Do you want to make a new account, then restore your files to it?

It sounds like what you need to do in this situation is create a new user account, then transfer over your documents and settings. Since your user profile itself may be corrupted, you won't want to transfer that, but you can copy over most of your application data.

First, create a new account. Name it whatever you want, it just can't be named the same thing as any existing account. You can rename it later. Then, log off of all accounts except for the administrator account. From the administrator account, copy everything from %systemdrive%\users\old_username to %systemdrive%\users\new_username except for NTUSER.DAT, NTUSER.DAT.log and any other files like that. You may need to change your explorer settings to let you view hidden files and folders.

Once you have copied everything over, which may take a long time if you have a lot of files, log onto the new user account, and check to see if things are working. Some settings will not have been copied over, but your bookmarks, browser addons, files, etc. should still be intact. Once you are satisfied that what you need is there, you should delete the old profile so it doesn't take up space, and then delete the old user account.

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I have tried this several times. Each time, I get a profile that is missing software in the All Programs listing, as well as loading at boot up. Some things are minor annoyance that I can deal with, but I am not sure about the missing software (should I reinstall it?). I thought there might be a simple registry fix to get Help & Support to work on my current user account. –  LSB Sep 7 '10 at 2:56
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Have you tried the Windows Easy Transfer tool in Windows 7?

Windows Easy Transfer screenshot

It looks promising for duplicating user account information (documents, photos, favorites, etc).

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For Windows 7, Microsoft explains how to duplicate a user account in response to the problem of 'fixing' a corrupted user profile here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/fix-corrupted-user-profile#1TC=windows-7 I'm sure there are several conditions that can arise in which Windows 7 is acting 'funny' due to some data or settings becoming corrupt (or out of parameter). I experienced it personally when a friend changed a theme by changing the wallpaper image to a GIF. This caused an error in the power settings profile and caused the Start menu and context menus to abruptly close. I was not surprised when no one at Microsoft would respond to this user's predicament, but they were smart enough to solve it by creating a new account an moving over their profile data. I don't see a problem with using the same procedure to move the user account data (profile) to another computer. Windows Easy Transfer is only for transferring account information from XP or Vista to 7.

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