Cortana/Windows Search breaks in default profile


  • Testers

    So I am working on a new windows 10 image and I’m making my default profile.
    My method involves making a new profile with a name like “loading” (Because the name of the copied profile pops up briefly while a new user logs in the first time) and then customizing a profile to my heart’s content. Customizing things like desktop background, taskbar pins, adding a start menu toolbar with an organized programs menu. Making a customized start menu pin layout and various other things like bookmarks in browsers and such.

    Once customized I go to regedit and navigate to hklm/software/microsoft/windowsNT/currentVersion/ProfileList
    Then I edit the value of the default profile path to the path of the customized user.
    Then I sign out and sign into an administrator account
    Then I go to win+x then Y to get to the system properties and click the advanced settings button on the left.
    I go to user profiles and select the default profile and hit "copy to"
    I make sure “everyone” is permitted to use and then copy it to the C:\Users\Default.
    Then I put the registry value of default profile path back to its default.
    Then I copy a careful selection of files from the appdata/local folder of the customized profile to C:\Users\Default\AppData\Local
    I haven’t fully documented what does and doesn’t break things in there, but it takes great care. But if I don’t do that I lose things like win+x or right clicking the start menu.

    This method is actually easier than it sounds and I have had more success with it than with sysprep. Plus you can just copy your working default profile folder to a network drive to fix things later. This has worked for windows 7 and 8 and almost for 10.

    Here’s the problem now.
    On the original profile I copy from the cortana/start menu search is all configured and works as it should. But any new profile I make the search button/cortana button just does nothing. If you start typing with the start menu up, nothing. It is still possible to search if you open the search application from the shortcut here “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs” but nothing else brings up the search in the easy way that it should.

    I’m still trying a few things and I’m sorry if that is more information than you needed. But I figured there was a chance to someone else out there is having this problem or maybe has been successful with a different method of making default profiles.

    Please and thank you


  • Testers

    @Wayne-Workman That’s odd. I know that I had to create a different profile for LTSB but it certainly worked in LTSB. The profile I made in Win 10 Enterprise CB won’t work in LTSB and vice versa. Gotta create a new one. It’s lame I know.
    My login times are much longer than 4 seconds though. But I have a lot of customziations. Little common fixes and startup scripts and backgrounds and stuff, so my first login for any user is like 2 or 3 minutes, but only a few seconds after that first time.


  • Moderator

    Well… on Win10 Enterprise, this script decreased login times down to 4 seconds.

    We’re playing with Win10 LTSB now, and the script is increasing login times. Same script, just a different OS. And it appears the tiles I pinned to the task bar and start menu are no longer staying pinned.

    What a bummer. I’m going to have to dig into this another time.


  • Moderator

    @x23piracy Delprof is a nice tool for stubborn profiles, but not really necesarry or useful for creating a default profile unless I’m mistaken?

    I think Delprof and Defprof are being confused here, perhaps.



  • @Quazz i you should also notice delprof2: https://helgeklein.com/free-tools/delprof2-user-profile-deletion-tool/
    It’s more advanced then the old ms one.

    Regards X23


  • Moderator

    Defprof was able to do everything I hoped, everything is working exactly as it should.

    One of the key parts I noticed is they have their own program which you have to install to handle the Windows Apps.

    Also default wallpapers need to be placed in the Users/Public

    There’s a ntuser.dat hiding there as well which might have an impact on default profiles.

    For now though, I have a way to handle Windows 10 perfectly.

    Additionally, from what I gather from Defprof is that it’s a bad idea to remove the Default folder becuase of the junction points contained in it.


  • Moderator

    @Arrowhead-IT Editing the ntuser.dat is far more difficult than copying it over, though.

    I’m not sure if it’s feasible to do so for this. For example, the taskbar icons are stored in a very unfamiliar format. (perhaps possible to query the data from the current user and plant that in ntuser.dat though). Other issues are Microsoft using version numbers for apps in their registry (who on earth thought that would be a good idea?).

    Also, another oddity on Windows 10 is that directly editing the ntuser.dat seems to not actually apply the changes to new profiles! But copying over an existing ntuser.dat does! This is very different from Windows 7 and endlessly more frustrating. Not to mention it makes no sense.

    I will report tomorrow on how things went with defprof (they seem to use a specific program they wrote for the Windows Store Apps, so I’m guessing that will be key) and see if that can help to figure out this mess.


  • Testers

    @Arrowhead-IT Of course since it is in github now, anyone is welcome to help with commits and contributions =)


  • Testers

    @Wayne-Workman said in Cortana/Windows Search breaks in default profile:

    @Quazz That definitely needs integrated into the script.

    I believe it already is integrated in the script. The only .dat files it should copy are the ntuser.dat files. But I could be wrong on that one.
    I’m still planning on some serious work on this to make it only edit the ntuser.dat hive for each setting stored there instead of copying the whole thing. But I have a lot of other projects that have to take priority at the moment. I will make a note to add in an explicit exclude in the copy for the UsrClass.dat just to be safe.


  • Moderator

    @Quazz Well that didn’t solve anything, so I’m going to try out a little program called Defprof which should supposedly be compatible with W10 and do everything I hope it does.


  • Moderator

    @Quazz Scratch that, it still seems to cause issues, but I’m looking into some ntuser.dat stuff to fix it.


  • Moderator

    @Wayne-Workman Due to the difficulty in removing this file under Windows (close to impossible), this should be deleted after the profile is copied to the NAS, so that when you deploy it it gets deployed without the incorrect metro registry settings.


  • Moderator

    @Quazz That definitely needs integrated into the script.


  • Moderator

    Apparentally, to prevent Windows search from breaking after copying the profile over, all you have to do is delete

    AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\UsrClass.dat
    

    Windows will create one on login.


  • Moderator

    Yeah, this script was a life saver for me. It accomplishes SO much stuff that I’d otherwise have to set a TON of bloated Microsoft group policy for. I’m not scared of group policy at all, in fact I’m really good at it. But I’ve learned through experience that overall, less group policy is better group policy. So now I always always always try to find alternatives to it before using it. This script being a great example, fog snapins and printer management being another great example. Hell even startup scripts or login scripts are more safe than a pile of bloated group policy. Group Policy usually works, but it slows things down. I’ve ran extensive tests on this, recording times for different things, recording environment setups, making tables of results, and replicating results from scratch to confirm, for months on end (Scientific Method). Group Policy is always my last choice now.


  • Moderator

    @Arrowhead-IT Just a fyi, you can modify it slightly to allow for spaces in share names/paths by putting quotation marks whenever the share variables are called. I tested this earlier and it works great.

    Your script is pretty awesome :)


  • Testers

    @Wayne-Workman said in Cortana/Windows Search breaks in default profile:

    @Arrowhead-IT can you make a git repo with your two scripts in it, with a read me and a GNU GPLv3 license?

    I made the repo where they will go.

    I was trying to decide whether I wanted to make one repo or a bunch for a few other fog-snapin/image prep type scripts.
    For now it’s just the one repo. I’d prefer it to be in the fog-project group of repos, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ll link to the fog-project repos for sure though.

    https://github.com/darksidemilk/Create-and-Deploy-Windows-Default-Profiles


  • Moderator

    @Twilems I work in a school as well. I’m not concerned about the students customizing what they are allowed to customize. A great deal of things are locked down via group policy, to include wallpaper, screensavers, themes, resolution, control pannel, access to the command prompt, numerous file extension screenings and rules, no access to the c:\ drive. However, if they want to re-arrange the tiles in the start menu I don’t care about that, also re-arranging or customizing the task bar icons, that’s fine with me. Maybe they have a good reason for it, maybe it makes their life easier.


  • Moderator

    @Twilems http://www.linuxgfx.co.uk/karoshi/documentation/wiki/index.php?title=Creating_a_Windows_10_Mandatory_Profile might help.

    Basically you need to alter the registry key permissions and ownerships of the default ntsuer.man



  • The scripts are working fine. But my problem is that i want to use the default profile to use as mandatory profile. When i do that i get an error “the service Group Policy Client prevents logon”. What can i do about it?

    Is there anyone uses Mandatory Profiles for Windows 10?
    It’s for our environment. It’s a school with students. So we don’t want they can make any changes in the profile. That’s the reason we choose for a mandatory profile.



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