If you need to delete a user profile, as with most things, there is a right way and wrong way.

The wrong way, would be to just delete the %USERPROFILE% (commonly found in C:\Users or in older OS’s C:\Documents and Settings)

Windows doesn’t just create the profile, it also adds a registry key. If you delete the profile and don’t delete the key as well. The next time the user logs in they will get a notification like below:


The correct way to delete a profile is to remove the %USERPROFILE% and the users registry key.

In regedit you will need to traverse to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

and delete the key with the users SID. To find the users SID you would need to do something like this:


If you’ve had your had your account deleted and login to the message about a temporary profile. You will need to go into the registry and delete your key (If the account has been deleted and then a temporary account created, The original key will have .bak at the end)  then login again.

Example of a regedit with a profile that has been deleted and the user is getting a temporary login: