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How can I set up an account similar to Mac OS X's Guest account which clears all the user's settings and files upon log off?

If I'm not mistaken, I believe that Microsoft has a utility for this purpose, but I forgot its name.

I'm running Windows 7 Professional, and I would prefer that this feature only be enabled for the built in "Guest" account.

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I think the only time I've seen such a feature mentioned, is as a speculated new feature in Windows 8. –  Iszi Feb 12 '11 at 3:53
    
W7 had it but MS removed it from the final release...winsupersite.com/article/win7/… –  Moab Feb 12 '11 at 4:16
    
What about Don't save settings at exit for a particular account? Is that even possible? –  user3463 Feb 12 '11 at 5:17

4 Answers 4

Its a real shame Windows removed the bulletproof accounts they had in the RC. I'm sure you can find payware to do it, but places like schools use bash scripts to delete and re-create profiles, or DeepFreeze payware.

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Theoretically you can do workaround since like other said that feature was removed in final version. The way to go for this would be to:

  1. login with any account you want to and then logout.
  2. Then login with admin account and delete the profile from drive (usually C:\Users\<some_profile_name>)

Next time user tries to login temporary folder will be created and used which will be deleted on logoff.

I don't know anything about possible drawbacks of this action as I found this by trying to clean one profile, and in Windows 7/Vista you have to do it by removing registry key as well. Removing only directory creates this temporary situation which in your case might be what you need without buying anything. But please do test it before implementing this as usable solution.

Also keep in mind you will be notifiied by Windows that this temporary profile is used.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Microsoft's solution was called Windows SteadyState (formerly known as Shared Computer Toolkit), but it has been discontinued as of Windows 7, so the only solution is setting it up yourself or using 3rd party software. See the Wikipedia article's Discontinuation and alternatives section.

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If it is ok that the settings will be wiped at next logon (as opposed to at logoff) you can create a so-called Mandatory User Profile for this:

http://technet.microsoft.com/de-de/library/gg241183(v=ws.10).aspx

This also works for the Guest account, at least on XP (so I assume it should also work on Windows 7).

In fact, it can be useful that the profile is not wiped at logoff in case the user accidentally logs of and has not logged on again, some other administrative user can still log on and retrieve files he accidentally saved inside the user profile.

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