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Somehow a user account got corrupted so following advice, I created a new user account. I now want to delete the old user account but I am a little nervous. A few main points:

  1. Both the new and old account point my documents to the same folder on another drive so I want to make sure that when I delete the old user account, it doesn't delete the my documents folder (as the new account is using it as well.

  2. I see a number of directories under C: \Documents and Settings[Old User Id], that take up almost 3GB of space, such as:

    • C: \Documents and Settings\[Old User Id]\Local Settings
    • C: \Documents and Settings\[Old User Id]\Application Data

For example: I have: C: \Documents and Settings\[Old User Id]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Office

When I delete that, is that going to mess up my Office install?

Another one that is concerning me is: C: \Documents and Settings\[Old User Id]\Local Settings\Temp\Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1_10.0.40219

Any advice would be appreciated on what I need to worry about?

NOTE: the old account IS an Administrator

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

1.Both the new and old account point my documents to the same folder on another drive so i want to make sure that when i delete the old user account, it doesn't delete the my documents folder (as the new account is using it as well.

If it were a network drive, it would not touch the documents in "My documents", but I would make a backup of those just in case no matter where they are.

2.I see a number of directories under C:\Documents and Settings[Old User Id], that take up almost 3GB of space, such as: •C:\Documents and Settings[Old User Id]\Local Settings •C:\Documents and Settings[Old User Id]\Application Data

No harm deleting this. Application settings are things like a user's preferences, which can be reset, and will be recreated when the application is opened again for the first time. This has no effect on the actual install. I would still use windirstat to look at what I was deleting since it is so large. I suspect a lot is temp files and Internet cache.

for example: i have: C:\Documents and Settings[Old User Id]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Office

when i delete that, is that going to mess up my Office install ?

Again, this is just a user's personal settings, and such...it will be recreated.

another one that is concerning me is: C:\Documents and Settings[Old User Id]\Local Settings\Temp\Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1_10.0.40219

This temp directory can be emptied at any time. That was just a service pack that was installed to another location. That file is no longer used.

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Just one more note: If you delete just a user account, the files are not touched, but you are also given the option to delete the files. The ONLY files I would ever worry about are the personal ones stored in "My Documents" (or the equivalent on your OS). –  KCotreau Jul 4 '11 at 13:21
    
when i click "Delete Account" i get a prompt saying "Windows can automatically save contents of desktop and my documents to a new folder on the desktop". My choices are "Keep Files", "Delete Files", "Cancel". I am confused what to choose here as i don't want to create a new copy of these file (its multiple GB) but i don't want it to try to delete the my documents (as the new acccount is using the same directory) –  leora Jul 4 '11 at 13:30
    
@ooo What I would do is this: Copy C:\Documents and Settings\Old_User_ID\My Documents somewhere safe, then manually delete the user and answer "Delete Files" when it asks you, then check and if there is anything left of C:\Documents and Settings\Old_User_ID, you can safely delete the directory. This will safely guarantee that you saved any real files (My Documents), and that the rest of the stuff is gone. –  KCotreau Jul 4 '11 at 22:23

In my experience as long as the account is not an Administrator, ASPNET, All Users or Default, it's generally fine to delete, but this is on the assumption that all installed applications are following the file storage conventions correctly.

If you want to play it safe, you can always move the folder out of the Users folder to another location temporarily before deciding to delete it completely.

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Fullam - the old account is an administrator in terms of permission. Is that an issue? –  leora Jul 4 '11 at 13:20
    
It shouldn't be. I tend to just keep the first created Administrator account intact just in case. –  Ruairi Fullam Jul 4 '11 at 13:26
    
when i click "Delete Account" i get a prompt saying "Windows can automatically save contents of desktop and my documents to a new folder on the desktop". My choices are "Keep Files", "Delete Files", "Cancel". I am confused what to choose here as i don't want to create a new copy of these file (its multiple GB) but i don't want it to try to delete the my documents (as the new acccount is using the same directory) – ooo 1 min ago edit –  leora Jul 4 '11 at 13:31
    
My guess is that it (Keep Files) will copy the files to your current profile before deleting the user account and the original copy just in case any errors occur during operation. –  Ruairi Fullam Jul 4 '11 at 13:50

The directories you mention are personal directories for the user. The Office directory could contain and outlook profile, custome word templates, etc. Nothing that would screws up the global Office install.

I've never had an issue removing a normal user account.

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