Hidden in every user profile is a file named NTUSER.DAT. This file contains the settings and preferences for each user, so you shouldn’t delete it and probably shouldn’t edit it. Windows automatically loads, changes, and saves the file for you.
NTUSER.DAT Contains Your User Profile Settings
Every time you make a change to the look and behavior of Windows and installed programs, whether that’s your desktop background, monitor resolution, or even which printer is the default, Windows needs to remember your preferences the next time it loads.
Windows accomplishes this by first storing that information to the Registry in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive. Then when you sign out or shut down, Windows saves that information to the NTUSER.DAT file. The next time you sign in, Windows will load NTUSER.DAT to memory, and all your preferences load to the Registry again. This process lets you personal settings unique to your user profile, like your chosen desktop background.
The name NTUSER.DAT is a holdover from Windows NT, first introduced with Windows 3.1. Microsoft uses the DAT extension with any file that contains data.
Every User has an NTUSER.DAT File
Windows didn’t always have full support for user profiles. In early versions when you started Windows, every user of the computer saw the same desktop, files, and programs. Now Windows better supports multiple users on the same machine, and it does this by placing an NTUSER.DAT file in every user’s profile. You can get there by opening File Explorer and either browsing to:
or by typing: